Going Back to The Places We Love.

Since my trip to Thailand in March last year, I’ve nursed a longing for the serenity of the Thai countryside and a taste of home-cooked Thai curries. I impulsively decided to give in after a series of not-so-awesome events. When the rest of the world was toasting to 2014, I was standing in the visa-on-arrival queue at Bangkok airport!

Ban lom jen homestay, Chiang Rai Thailand, Northern Thailand
My home in Chiang Rai, at Ban Lom Jen homestay.

I now pen this from my home and office on the countryside of northern Thailand. Instead of a television, I have the sweet chatter of birds for entertainment; they swoop down on the flooded rice paddies every now and then, watching curiously as the paddies become ready for the year’s first harvest. In the distance, gentle hills are painted green in contrast. This is my part of Chiang Rai; the home I’ve been longing for. And it’s here that I’m slowing down to work and earn, catch up on blogging, smell the fresh air, taste the goodness of fresh veggies, take a dip in the lake, go for a long walk, soak in the little joys.

Ban lom jen homestay, Chiang Rai Thailand, Northern Thailand
An inspiring place to work from.

I spend my afternoons cycling along quaint little tribal villages, watching people lounge lazily in their wooden homes. Glimpses of the  Kok river keep me company, ornate temples lay surrounded by fields of maize, and women wearing big straw hats work hard on their farms. Passersby always slow down and smile at me, the famous Thai smile that is not yet extinct in these parts.

Thailand countryside, Kok river, Chiang Rai Thailand, Northern Thailand
Lost in the woods of Chiang Rai.

I don’t know how long I’ll stay. The last time I was here, I intended to stay a day and ended up staying five. This time, I have a fifteen day visa and a friend for company. I’m already getting used to waking up to the aroma of freshly baked breads and indulging in Thai curries over lunch; our Dutch-Thai hosts are the best cooks (and hosts) in the world.

So this is a blissful Sawadee Ka from Thailand! And a wish that 2014 takes us closer to the things we’ve always loved.

Thailand offbeat, Chiang Rai Thailand, Northern Thailand
The countryside of northern Thailand.
Chiang Rai, Kok River, Chiang Rai Thailand, Northern Thailand
Little joys; watching the sun set upon the Kok river.

Where in the world do you long to go back to?

Join me on  FacebookTwitter and Instagram for more travel stories from around the world.

Get Paid To Travel

Similar Posts


  1. I’d love to return to Japan or Senegal Both were amazing trips that I shared with special people and I’d love to go back and see how/what has changed since I was last there.

    1. I’d love to hear how that turns out! I haven’t been to either, but have mental images of what they might be like. When are you going back?

      1. Nothing planned yet as I am setting my sights on South America for 2015. So I must go home for a visit this year so I don’t feel bad about not going in 2015. I think likely in 2016 I’ll try to head out towards Asia.

        1. Wow, that’s some planning. Good luck, I can’t wait to hear of your adventures in South America.

  2. Happy New Year Shivya, and here’s wishing you a beautiful year filled with many adventures that we can all tag virtually along on 🙂 I myself cannot wait to return to Thailand, and to London, perhaps Istanbul – three of my most memorable holidays 🙂

    1. I’m glad for your virtual company! That would be a mini round the world trip to return to all three at one 🙂

  3. Roberto Amaral says:

    Happy New Year Shivya… you brought in the New Year doing what you love best…travelling!

    1. True story! Though I hate, hate, hate applying for visas. The VOA for Thailand was a breeze, but that’s not the point 😉

  4. Laddakh for me. And andaman maybe

    1. Great choices both, Yash. I haven’t been to either yet.

  5. Happy new year Shivya..You got the best office. I would love to work in such an environment…

  6. Happy New Year… Hope you travel more n more- one thing you like to do! I would love to go back to Kanatal- The Terraces where i went for my first anniversary. It snowed freshly..though i didn’t enjoy much that time… because of high expectation in life..(now i have travelled to many parts of the world). but i would love to go again n enjoy to the fullest…. It was serene!

    1. It sounds serene, Nisha. Hope you make it there this year and thoroughly enjoy the experience of being there, not just the memory of it 🙂

  7. Well, I just went back to Arambol in Goa. One place I’ve always loved. And I’ve realized its only gotten better.

    1. That’s great to hear, Ramana. My biggest fear of going back to places I’ve loved is that they won’t live up to my expectations the next time!

    1. Glad you enjoyed the serenity as much as I love it 🙂

  8. nupurpradhan says:

    I can’t wait to get back to Ladakh!

    1. I can imagine. I can’t wait to *finally* go there myself. Maybe this year.

      1. nupurpradhan says:

        Oh you SHOULD go. Its HEAVEN!

  9. Happy new year! South Africa – the garden route. 4 days were far too less. Some day god willing.

    1. Thanks Karma! I hope you (and I) both make it there this year 🙂

  10. Happy New Year Shivya…would love to switch places with you dear…the way you described…ah the serenity of the place made me long to be there…

    1. Thanks Aditi! Glad you could feel the serenity too. It’s such an inspiring place to write and dream and do nothing. I’m not switching places, but you could pack them bags and come here too 😉

  11. Happy New Year! Stunning pictures. There are so many places I want to re-visit, I haven’t been to New York for many years and would love to feel the very special pulse again.

  12. Who knew Chiang Rai had such offbeat and serene places. Nothing like getting off the tourist trails and exploring the countryside .

    1. Absolutely. I’m not a big fan of Chiang Rai city, but the countryside is absolutely gorgeous.

  13. mandayamr says:

    HNY Shivya. Karwar or Udupi would be the places to return to in 2014.

    1. Thanks Kaushal, glad you liked it!

      PS: I don’t mind the link but you don’t need to leave it. Your name links to your blog, so anyone who wants to click and do it easily 🙂

  14. Himalayan ranges for me..!

  15. Hi Shivya! I’m a travel addict who follows your blog religiously. Because I have always traveled the world with a sense of purpose (for studies mostly), I find myself wondering if I would be comfortable living the life of a nomad, not knowing where I will be next – it is this uncertain space that scares me the most and you, in complete contrast, seem to embrace the uncertainty with such confidence and enthusiasm. I have nothing but admiration for your writing and your blog. I do have a suggestion: it would be nice to see a post that describes your emotional environment to us. I find that sense of loneliness and commentary on traveling as an exercise in emotional development, completely lacking in your blog entries. Of course, I know that such a blog post would not meet your travel style but I’d like to see you talk to your readers like how you would have a quiet monologue with a new traveler/ voyeur if you met them the first time!

    To answer your question, I long to be in California this spring, in the arms of my husband – after having been separated by a tedious visa process for over 10 months! There is absolutely no warmer place in this world for me 🙂

    1. Hey Janvi, thanks for such an honest comment. I totally hear you; I do try to share my emotional environment from time to time (think rant), and this was the latest of those – https://the-shooting-star.com/2013/12/21/120-days-on-the-road/ , but what I would say to a new traveller would be something very different, a post I’ll really need to find words to pen right, but I’m sure going to give it a shot.

      I hope you make it California soon enough; visa processes suck but there’s no joy like the joy of wiggling your way through them.

      1. Thank you for your reply! One of favorite travel bloggers is Wandering Earl and his writing style strikes a great balance between decisively (and openly, only like an American can) analyzing travel information that contributes to this emotional journey and steering clear of giving out personal information. My two cents on it 🙂 Good luck and a very happy 2014 to you.

    1. It’ll be so cold and so beautiful! Have a fab trip 🙂

  16. Nice blog !! I liked this blog so much. This is very helpful information for travellers. I love travelling and want to explore the whole world. This travel blogs is very helpful for travel junkies. This blogs makes my trip more easier and memorable. Thailand is the best place to explore the world.

  17. What is the best time to go to thailand & which places in thailand are a must visit?

    Details- we are five friends travelling for an unforgettable experience . Can you please guide us?

  18. Hi, I like it to write the blog on my travel and just started my blog after travelling to some of the places. I always read your blog and its very informative for the other travelers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *