Wrap-Up: March 2017

March Wrap-Up 2017 - The Atlas Heart

Hello friends and welcome to my new monthly wrap-up series! In an effort to stay relevant and keep you informed on my current travels (since this blog is usually a month or two behind on where I actually am), I’ve decided to start writing personal wrap-up posts.

Where oh where do I even begin with wrapping up March?

As per usual, this last month flew by mainly because of the amount of curveballs life threw my way. Maybe I was trying to get through it all as soon as possible.

This month I was still grieving the passing of my grandmother, I got dumped, and I completely changed my plans for the year and based myself on a new island. It’s safe to say, that a lot can happen in 31 days!

On the bright side, I finished up with one of my long-term freelance clients, which has opened me up to more time to work on this blog. This makes me very happy and I can’t wait to spend more days writing and creating content that I love sharing with you guys.

March Wrap-Up 2017 - The Atlas Heart - Chanthaburi, Thailand

So, without further ado, let’s review what I got up to in March!

I mentioned last month that I was starting to get that itch to go travel more, and travel more I did in March. I spent two weeks in Vietnam, met up with one of my best friends from home for a few days in Ho Chi Minh City, and remembered just how much I love Vietnamese culture.

I came back to Thailand and, after breaking up with my boyfriend, forged my own path in the country, making a lot of new friends along the way. I’m currently in Koh Lanta for the foreseeable future, and keeping busy on another tropical island.

Places & Memories

Ho Chi Minh City | I visited Ho Chi Minh City two separate times during my two week trip in Vietnam, and I have to say I really fell in love with the city this time around. I wasn’t a big fan of Saigon last time I was there a few years ago, but something about the city clicked for me with this visit.

The Foodie by XO Tours - Vietnam - Asia Travel
Goproing around Ho Chi Minh City. Photo via XO Tours.

I rode a lot of motorbikes, took a cooking class, tasted so much new food, took a day trip to the Mekong Delta, partied on Pham Ngu Lao, and made a lot of fun new memories with one of my best friends.

Phu Quoc | I wanted to experience an island in Vietnam since they’re so rare – Vietnam is definitely not known for its tropical islands. I was pleasantly surprised with Phu Quoc.

March Wrap-Up 2017 - The Atlas Heart- Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam
Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam

Phu Quoc is a large island that has a lot going on but perfect for relaxation as well. I met up with a group of travelers who I had met in Ho Chi Minh City, and we had a fun few days together hanging out on the beach, watching the sunset, and going snorkeling… oh, and drinking lots of homemade coconut rum!

Can Tho | Leaving island life behind, I decided to stay in Can Tho for a couple of days to catch up on work and experience more of the Mekong Delta. I enjoyed the unique atmosphere of Can Tho and how I was one of the only foreigners around. It felt very local and there were a lot of friendly residents to meet.

March Wrap-Up 2017 - The Atlas Heart - Can Tho, Vietnam
Can Tho, Vietnam

Chanthaburi | I stopped in Chanthaburi, Thailand just for a few nights on my way back down to Koh Mak. This was another city that was mainly locals with very little tourism. Chanthaburi is known for its famous gem markets and they have a very cool old town area of the city. I went to go see Beauty & the Beast at the local movie theater, and I watched the whole movie (songs and all) in Thai. It was pretty sweet.

March Wrap-Up 2017 - The Atlas Heart - Chanthaburi, Thailand

Koh Mak | I came back to Koh Mak just long enough to go through a breakup and then I was on my way. I still miss the kittens every day, but I’m sure they’ll have a good life on the island.

Bangkok | I spent a short amount of time in Bangkok to break up my journey down to the Andaman Coast, basically the opposite side of the country from Koh Mak. I bought a new guitar, ate delicious food, and really thought about what I wanted to do for the rest of the year.

Koh Lanta | And finally, I made it to Koh Lanta about a week ago now. I had a feeling that I would love it here, and I’m happy to say that I do in fact love it here. I knew I wasn’t ready to give up island life, and Koh Lanta is much more social than Koh Mak so it works well for my personality.

March Wrap-Up 2017 - The Atlas Heart - Koh Lanta, Thailand
Half Moon Party at Mushroom Bar in Koh Lanta, Thailand

I spent the first week enjoying my own little bungalow on the beach and playing music every day. I moved to a dorm in Long Beach five nights ago and I’ve already met so many cool people. It helps that Koh Lanta is a big hub for digital entrepreneurs – they even have a coworking space here.

I’ve met quite a few fellow digital nomads who work a lot on their computers like me. It’s nice to have a mix of hanging out with other people who live and work here full time, and others who are more here just to have fun and party. I’ve enjoyed hanging out with both depending on how much work I have to get done.

March Wrap-Up 2017 - The Atlas Heart - Koh Lanta, Thailand
The sunsets in Koh Lanta, are unreal. I try to make time to see them every night.

READS

This month I was back on track with my reading goals for the year and finished two and a half books. I finished re-reading The Subtle Knife, the last book in His Dark Materials series.

I also read Hillbilly Eulogy, which I’ve been wanting to read since the 2016 US elections. It was an interesting look at the hillbilly culture in America and why they’re such a jaded bunch. J. D. Vance did a decent job of explaining the culture where he comes from, and why he’s one of the few who escaped it.

It was a good read for anyone who wants to understand the conservative psyche from middle America and the Bible Belt.

March Wrap-Up 2017 - Reads - The Atlas Heart

Lastly, I just finished reading All the Single Ladies, which I actually started reading before I was single, but it ended up being a perfect book for me at the end of the month.

Rebecca Traister crafts an interesting look at women in present day, and the idea that the cliche happy ending of a family and husband is not the ending that every woman wants these days. There is more to life (and to women) than romantic relationships and kids.

The book provides an interesting perspective on modern day culture, and why so many women are choosing not to marry and/or procreate.

PLANS

I’m going to be on Koh Lanta for most of the next month, with a quick stop up to Koh Phangan for Songkran and the Full Moon Party next week. I still love being on an island and I’ve been wanting to settle down in one place for awhile – Koh Lanta seems like the perfect place for me right now.

March Wrap-Up 2017- Koh Lanta, Thailand
New friends in Koh Lanta – Swedish, Canadian, American, and Spanish.

I still want to do more in terms of volunteering this year. Koh Lanta has an Animal Welfare Center that I want to visit regularly. You can go cuddle and spend time with the animals and even take them on a walk to the beach.

March Wrap-Up 2017 - The Atlas Heart - Koh Chang, Thailand
Volunteering at an animal shelter & clinic on Koh Chang

I’ve also thought about taking a full-on Muy Thai course. I’m tired of feeling anxious when I walk home alone at night or through a deserted parking lot because I’m a woman. I want to be able to kick anyone’s ass if I need to, and I think Muy Thai could be a good start in knowing how to do that.

Other than that, I don’t have much planned. I have vague ideas about going up to northern Thailand sometime in May and then on to Laos, but for now I’m just letting the present take me where it will.

Tell me – what did you get up to in March? Was it a good month for you? 

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Mimi McFadden
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Mimi McFadden

Travel Writer/Blogger at The Atlas Heart
Mimi founded The Atlas Heart to create a community of travelers inspired to see the world. The Atlas Heart is a space where you'll find anecdotes on slow travel, craft beer, outdoor adventures, and all the eccentric bits in between that this world has to offer.
Mimi McFadden
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