Digital Nomad Life: Month Thirty Two and Thirty ThreeWow, what a wild ride the past two months have been!

So wild in fact that I didn’t have time to do my round up for Month Thirty Two so this one is going to be a MASSIVE recap of Month Thirty Two and Thirty Three. Sorry about that but you just have to read it – imagine writing this beast.

Anyway, month thirty began at my Mum’s place in Papamoa where we hung out for a couple more days, doing day trips to Mayor Island on my Step Dad’s boat, up the Mount and even down to Hobbiton.

Exploring Hobbiton during month thirty two and thirty three of Digital Nomad Life

From Papamoa we headed south to Rotorua where I introduced Toby to a few of my old friends, as well as some of the awesome attractions that Rotovegas has to offer.

I could have happily stayed in Rotorua for a week but we had a lot more exploring to do and little time so we pushed onwards – back to the coast to the sleepy beach town of Matata.

From Matata we drove all the way around the East Cape past rugged coastline, wild beaches, windswept lighthouses, and hardly any other tourists. Apparently only 1% of visitors to New Zealand make it around the East Cape and man, the other 99% are missing out!

Exploring the East Cape of New Zealand during month thirty two and thirty three of Digital Nomad Life

We arrived in Gisborne and were happy to spend a couple of days hanging out by the beach, in fact we even got a surf lesson from some friendly locals! We also visited the famous Rere rockslide – an exhilarating natural slide.

Our last stop on the East Coast was pretty Napier, which is famous for its Art Deco buildings and its haunted prison – of which we did an awesome tour of. We actually ended up staying in an Art Deco Hostel which was a nice break from camping, especially because a storm rolled in on our second night there.

Enjoying the Art Deco architecture in Napier during month thirty two and thirty three of Digital Nomad Life

After a night in Taupo and a soak at the natural hot springs and hot waterfall of Spa Thermal Park, we arrived in Waitomo for our biggest New Zealand adventure yet: Spelunking at the famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves!

We chose to do one of the most adventurous tours – Haggis Honking Holes. The name may be weird but the tour was absolutely fantastic, and exhausting, and a bit scary at times, but totally worth it. Our Waitomo adventure finished with glow worm watching at a secret spot (see more in highlights below, I’m going to spill all!)

The last day of our road trip we visited the small coastal towns of Kawhia and Raglan before heading back to Auckland.

Checking out Ocean Beach in Kawhia during month thirty two and thirty three of Digital Nomad Life

And just like that, Toby’s New Zealand adventure was over. He flew to Indonesia to go diving in Raja Ampat, and I flew out the morning after for nine days in Bali.

I split my time in Bali between Canggu and Ubud and I really enjoyed both places. Beachside Canggu is a popular digital nomad hub and has more of a hipster vibe, while Ubud is the spiritual centre of Bali so has a more hippy vibe.

I preferred Ubud as I am more hippy than hipster and I loved hiking the countryside around the city, trying out different vegetarian cafes and chilling by the pool of my hostel.

Scootering around Canggu during month thirty two and thirty three of Digital Nomad Life

After nine days in Bali it was time to meet up with Toby in Malaysia.

We were reunited in hot and sticky Kuala Lumpur where we spent a couple of nights before bussing down to Melaka which was pure craziness due to Chinese New Year.

Melaka is a pretty cool place and I loved the night market, strolling by the river, checking out all the beautiful shopfronts and learning more about Peranakan – or Straits Chinese – history.

From Melaka we headed to the cooler climes of the Cameron Highlands where we ate incredible Indian food, hiked with monkeys through the jungle and in the mossy forest, and visited a tea plantation and strawberry farm.

Checking out the tea plantation in the Cameron Highlands during month thirty two and thirty three of Digital Nomad Life

Our next stop was to the oldest tropical rainforest in the world, Taman Negara, which we reached by taking a bus, then a boat through the rainforest.

Taman Negara was all about relaxing for us, with a bit of jungle trekking thrown in. We met a great bunch of people and it was a nice place to just hang out.

From Taman Negara we traveled to the Perhentian Islands – Perhentian Kecil to be exact. We weren’t even sure we would be able to go to the islands because the tourist season hadn’t officially started yet. I’m glad we decided to risk it because the island was incredible, and because a lot of accommodation wasn’t yet open – the island was a lot quieter than it is meant to be usually.

We spent five nights on the island but I could have spent much longer, if only the wifi wasn’t so shoddy. I just loved it.

Exploring the Perhentian Islands during month thirty two and thirty three of Digital Nomad Life

The last stop of our Malaysian Odyssey was Georgetown on the island of Penang, where we booked ourselves into a very affordable, but very nice hotel. I had lots of work to catch up on so for the four nights we spent there, we would go wandering for a couple of hours in the morning, head back to the hotel to work/sleep/watch movies for a few hours, then would head out again in the evening to grab dinner from a hawker stall, check out the street art, and take lots of photos of all the pretty lanterns and the kitties (maybe that last one was just me).

I really loved Georgetown and it is definitely somewhere I would love to return to in the future.

Checking out Chew Jetty in Georgetown, Penang during month thirty two and thirty three of Digital Nomad Life

Toby flew out from Penang and I didn’t know when I would see him again – it’s a month later and I still don’t (damn visa). I caught the bus down to KL for a night then flew to Cambodia the next day – my 60th country!

I spent six nights in Siem Reap and it was the perfect combination of chilling by the pool and working, balanced with adventures around the temples of Angkor Wat and beyond. I met some really cool people during my time there that I hope to see again in the future – this became a theme of my time in Cambodia.

Exploring Siem Reap at night during month thirty two and thirty three of Digital Nomad Life

Riverside Battambang was next and I went away with wonderful memories from there too, and a new travel family was born – we called ourselves Fambodia.

We ended up traveling together for nearly two weeks.

Phnom Penh was next where we meditated with monks, drunk beers at rooftop bars and visited the horrors of S21 and the Killing Fields – both necessary evils to understand what the Cambodian people have been through, and in living history.

I didn’t end up hating Phnom Penh, like I had expected to. I actually quite liked it, despite only spending a short time there.

The last stop of month thirty three was Kampot, my favorite stop in Cambodia yet. There is so much to do around Kampot and we were busy every day, out on scooter adventures to beaches, national parks, pepper farms and more.

Visiting a Pepper Plantation in Kampot, Cambodia during month thirty two and thirty three of Digital Nomad Life

And that pretty much sums up the past two months in a (large) nutshell.

Now onto the Stats!

Countries visited: New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia

Places visited:

  • New Zealand: Papamoa, Matamata, Rotorua, Matata, Whakatane, Opotiki, East Cape, Gisborne, Wairoa, Napier, Taupo, Waitomo Caves, Kawhia, Raglan, Auckland
  • Indonesia: Bali – Canggu, Ubud
  • Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur, Melaka, Cameron Highlands, Taman Negara, Perhentian Kecil Island, Penang (Georgetown)
  • Cambodia: Siem Reap, Battambang, Phnom Penh, Kampot, Kep

Islands visited: Mayor Island, Perhentian Kecil Island, Penang

National Parks and Monuments visited: Taman Negara National Park, Bokor National Park

Best meal: So much good food in the past two months – particularly in Bali where I loved all the fresh, vegetarian options. My absolute highlights were the perfect apple pie at Kafe in Ubud, the vegetarian Nasi Gili at Betelnut Cafe in Canggu, the Chocolate chip egg waffle I had at the Melaka night markets, all the paneer curries and strawberry juice in the Cameron Highlands, every single roti canai I ate in Malaysia, the delicious street food coconut rice cakes and leek cakes in Siem Reap, the incredible mushroom gyoza at Marum Training Restaurant in Siem Reap, the Kampot Green Pepper Crab I ate in Kep, and the Kampot pepper chicken with blue cheese sauce I ate at Pepe and the Viking in Kampot.

Worst meal: I can’t think of anything really horrible I ate in the last couple of months except for the Takoyaki octopus balls I had in Melaka at the Night Markets – too squishy and fishy for me and the mayonnaise was warm, and I’m not a big mayonnaise fan to begin with.

Best craft beer: I think I will go with the Mac’s Fruit Bat Passionfruit IPA as my favorite for the past two months that I had at Astrolabe in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand. I also enjoyed the beer at Sunshine Brewery in Gisborne and Napier Brewing Company – although I couldn’t tell you exactly what I tried there now.

Hikes:

  • Base and Summit tracks of Mount Maunganui in Tauranga, New Zealand 4.5 miles/7.2km
  • East Cape Lighthouse near Te Araroa, New Zealand  0.8 miles/1.5km return
  • Huka Falls hike from Spa Park in Taupo, New Zealand 3.8 miles/6km return
  • Campuhan Ridge Walk in Ubud, Bali 3.8 miles/6 km return
  • Jungle loop hike in Cameron Highlands, Malaysia 5 miles/8km return
  • Taman Negara Jungle hike and Canopy Walk, Malaysia 3.8 miles/6km return
  • Southern loop of Perhentian Kecil Island, Malaysia 5 miles/8km
  • Windmill and D’Lagoon hike on Perhentian Kecil Island, Malaysia 5 miles/8km

Hiking Campuhan Ridge in Bali during month thirty two and thirty three of Digital Nomad Life

Reading: I read so many books this month, I actually can’t even remember what I was reading a month ago but of the books that I can remember, I really enjoyed these two:

Darkest Evening of the Year – Dean Koontz

Dean Koontz is one of my favorite authors and I enjoyed this book about a woman whose secret past catches up with her. There is also a magical dog.

South of Broad – Pat Conroy

A very well-written book about a rag tag group of friends from different worlds, growing up together in Charleston. Very dark at times but a fantastic read.

Watching: I also watched a lot of Netflix the past couple of months – when I was traveling alone at least. I really enjoyed Everything Sucks – about geeky teenagers making a film in High School in the 90s, Dear White People – which follows a group of students of color who fight for equal rights at their mostly white Ivy League College, and Queer Eye for the Straight Guy – always a feel good, light hearted watch, this reboot even more so than the first iteration, which I used to watch years ago.

Highlights

Finally Visiting Mayor Island

I have wanted to visit Mayor Island, off the coast of Mount Maunganui, for a long time and would occasionally drop hints to my Step Dad who has a boat. So I was pleasantly surprised when he suggested we go out there for the day when Toby, my brother and I were visiting.

It was weather dependant but luckily we awoke to glorious sunshine. It takes nearly three hours each way to get to the island and back but just being on the boat is part of the fun.

Once we arrived, Toby, Rob and I swam over to the island to explore the beach. I checked out the ruins of the old fishing club and even saw some kaka flying between trees – a native bird that is very rarely seen on the mainland of the North Island. We only got to see a small part of it but Mayor Island is a cool place, and very off the beaten path.

Boating to Mayor Island in New Zealand during month thirty two and thirty three of Digital Nomad Life

Introducing Toby to One of my Favorite NZ Cities

Rotorua may be a town that is firmly on the tourist map but it is one of my favorite cities in New Zealand, regardless. I was excited to show Toby why I love it so much and we had some pretty awesome Rotorua adventures including swimming in Lake Okareka, visiting a large bubbling mud pool, lugeing – always a must on any visit to Rotorua, visiting the Whakarewarewa Thermal village for some Maori culture, swimming in a hot river and under a hot waterfall, and meeting up with some of my Rotorua based friends that I hadn’t seen in four years. We crammed a lot in during our short time there!

Checking out the volcanic activity in Rotorua, New Zealand during month thirty two and thirty three of Digital Nomad Life

Surfing with Locals in Gizzy

Toby is a friendly guy and constantly makes new friends by striking up conversations with strangers when we are traveling. Because of this propensity for friendliness, we ended up meeting a really nice Kiwi/Dutch couple in a brewery in Gisborne and they ended up inviting us to come surfing with them the next morning.

I was apprehensive as the one time I had tried surfing before, I didn’t catch any waves and I got seasick (I know what you’re thinking – it is possible to get seasick surfing, and kayaking).

This time around was much better with our new friend Kelly giving us some pointers and then helping us by pushing us out on waves. Toby stood up a couple of times and managed to actually catch a couple of waves in. Although I did manage to stand up, it only lasted a split second – but I had so much fun!

It was a beautiful beach on a beautiful morning with beautiful people, and I feel like surfing is more attainable now – I will definitely give it another shot in the future.

Caving and Glow Worm Adventures in Waitomo

Despite working and living in Waitomo for a few months back in my late teens, I never did one of the adventure caving tours that Waitomo is famous for. I was way more of a scaredy cat back then and I thought they looked too scary. This time around I couldn’t wait to get caving!

Toby and I booked an adventure tour called Haggis Honking Holes that involved crawling through tight spaces underground, wading through an underground river, abseiling down waterfalls and being dropped through narrow crevices – it sounded like my kind of adventure. It ended up being even better than we imagined – we both loved it! We came out of the caves exhausted but we had one more important stop that evening.

Down a dirt road heading west from Waitomo is Natural Bridge. This is a beautiful sight anyway but if you go there once it gets dark, there are millions of glow worms covering the rock arch and along the rock walls.

This is a pretty secret spot and we only found out about the glow worms there from my brother, who is a New Zealand tour guide, and from our Caving guide. It was 100% worth the trip out there, and the hour we spent after, driving on dirt roads in the dark, trying to find somewhere to stay.

Caving in Waitomo, New Zealand during month thirty two and thirty three of Digital Nomad Life

Discovering a Lesser Known Hot Water Beach

Hot Water Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula of the North Island is a pretty popular spot with tourists these days, so much so that it can be very hard to find a spot in the sand to dig your own pool. Luckily there is another hot water beach that even a lot of Kiwis don’t know about – Ocean Beach in Kawhia.

It is a stunning black sand beach which actually makes for better photos too. The water coming up through the sand wasn’t quite as hot as what we had found at Hot Water Beach but it was still lovely and warm, the perfect temperature for a hot summer’s day. And we were the only ones there.

Soaking in a natural hot spring in Kawhia, New Zealand during month thirty two and thirty three of Digital Nomad Life

Chilling Out in Ubud

Ubud may be touristy but I loved the laid back, spiritual/hippy vibe of the place – it fitted me more than the super hip Canggu (although I did really enjoy my time there too).

Ubud was the perfect place to kick back and relax with so many chilled out cafes to lounge around in, lots of beautiful shops to peruse, stunning rice terraces and countryside walks, beautiful temples and fantastic massages.

My hostel was also a den of relaxation, with my dorm opening up onto a lovely courtyard garden with a pool. My time in Ubud was blissful.

Exploring the rice terraces around Bali during month thirty two and thirty three of Digital Nomad Life

Eating my Way Around Bali

If you are a vegetarian, Bali is the place to go! I am about 80% vegetarian these days and I found Canggu and Ubud a treasure trove of whole food, vegetarian restaurants, serving both Indonesian and Western food.

ate very well and very clean during my nine day stay there and for the food options alone, I was convinced that I could live somewhere in Bali for an extended period of time, it is a Digital Nomad haven after all.

Discovering Peranakan Culture in Melaka

I never knew much about Peranakan culture before visiting Melaka in Malaysia. Peranakan Chinese, otherwise known as Straits-born Chinese or Baba-Nyonya, are the descendants of Chinese immigrants who came to Malaysia and Singapore between the 15th and 17th century.

They have their own culture that is different to both Chinese and Malaysian culture, with their own clothing, cuisine, customs and art. I loved trying Baba Nyonya dishes like cendol – an unusual sweet noodle dish, and popiah – delicious fresh spring rolls, and we enjoyed our tour of the Baba Nyonya Museum. Just wandering the streets of Melaka was great too – admiring the unique architecture.

Exploring Melaka during month thirty two and thirty three of Digital Nomad Life

Beach Bumming and Snorkeling on Perhentian Kecil Island

After a scary boat trip over there, I was thinking that Perhentian Kecil better be worth it. It was, times 100. The fact that the season hadn’t officially started yet and that at least 50% of the accommodation and restaurants on the island weren’t yet open, added to the appeal as I have heard that everything books up in season and that it is very expensive.

We had perfect weather nearly the whole five days that we were there and I loved exploring more of the island by hiking overgrown trails, chilling out on gorgeous beaches, snorkeling with colorful fish, black tip reef sharks and a giant turtle, watching movies under the stars with beers at Ombok Divers Resort, and chilling out at our resort –  a splurge that was very much worth it.

The amount of rubbish we saw over by Long Beach was pretty shocking, but other than that – I just loved this chilled out and friendly island.

Swimming at Long Beach on Perhentian Kecil during month thirty two and thirty three of Digital Nomad Life

Aimless Wandering and Street Food in Georgetown

Georgetown in Penang is the perfect city to just wander aimlessly, as we found out during our four days there. After fast paced travel through Malaysia, we were ready to have some chill time. Toby booked us a lovely hotel which was right on the edge of Chinatown and we walked around everywhere, checking out the architecture, street art and street food that the city is famous for.

We also spent a lot of time in our air conditioned hotel room watching movies and working (that last one was just me). It was a great balance of exploration, relaxation and work time.

Checking out the street art in Georgetown, Penang during month thirty two and thirty three of Digital Nomad Life

So Many New Friends in Cambodia

It’s always easier to make travel friends when you are travelling solo, and this was definitely true for my time in Cambodia. I met so many amazing women in my dorm room in Siem Reap, many of whom I am hopeful I will see again, and then from Battambang onwards a little travel group formed, which I ended up travelling as part of onto Phnom Penh, Kampot and beyond.

We called ourselves Fambodia and it was one of those special groups that, despite being different ages and from different countries, we just all gelled so seamlessly it was like we had known each other forever. I always feel so incredibly lucky when I meet people like this, and I will remember Fambodia forever, whether I see everyone again or not (fingers crossed I will!)

Seeing Angkor Wat in the Flesh

I have been wanting to visit Angkor Wat and the other temples of Angkor for a long time, even more so since I visited Bagan a couple of years ago – one of my top travel highlights of all time. Finally getting there last month was definitely a special experience, although it didn’t top Bagan. Now that I have seen the big temples, I would love to return to see some of the lesser known Angkor temples in the area next time.

Finally getting to Angkor Wat during month thirty two and thirty three of Digital Nomad Life

First Stage of my US Fiancé Visa Approved!

After waiting to hear for seven months (!) we finally found out that the first stage of my US Fiancé  Visa was approved, and that I would be able to actually get everything together and set up my interview with the Consulate. This was a relief because, as an over thinker and worrier, I wasn’t convinced that they would approve it. I still have a stressful and expensive ride ahead of me but at least the wheels have started turning.

Big Night Out in Siem Reap

The last thing I felt like doing when I got into Siem Reap was to have a big night out – it’s very rarely I want a big night at all these days. I had a head ache and was looking forward to an early night, but when the girls in my dorm invited me to come to dinner and drinks with them I thought, why not. I popped some painkillers and off we went.

After dinner we ended up at a small expat run bar playing drinking games with everyone in the bar, followed by dancing in a club and on the street, then before I knew it, it was 3am. I may have paid for this blow out with a two day hangover (hello 35 years old) but it was such a fun and spontaneous night that I didn’t much care.

A Day Exploring Battambang

I thought Battambang sounded like a nice enough place when I was reading through my Lonely Planet, and a good place to break up my journey between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. It ended up being more than worth the trip. I stayed at a fantastic hostel – We are Dragons – which was the perfect mix of social and chilled, and I met a lot of travel friends there.

A group of us attended the Battambang Circus, which is actually an acrobatics/clown show put on by a charity that trains teenagers to be entertainers – it was so impressive! The next day five of us hired a tuk tuk and driver to take us to all the hot spots surrounding Battambang including the bamboo railway, a freshwater lake for swimming, a temple complex, the Killing Cave, Bat Cave, then to our tuk tuk driver’s family home for dinner cooked by his wife. It was such a fun day!

A fun day out around Battambang, Cambodia during month thirty two and thirty three of Digital Nomad Life

Exploring Kampot by Scooter

Although I loved everywhere I went in Cambodia, Kampot and its surrounds were my absolute highlight. The sleepy riverside town itself doesn’t have a load of attractions, but there are so many adventures to be had in the countryside surrounding town, and the best way to experience the area is definitely by scooter.

Our little group hired scooters for four days, visiting Kep for beach time and crab, Bokor Hill for the most random day ever (see below), the La Plantation Pepper Farm way out in the Cambodian countryside to see how pepper is grown and to do a (very hot) taste test, and a half day rock climbing/caving/abseiling adventure.

We also did a firefly river cruise one evening, explored the awesome local restaurants and cafes, and strolled by the river. My time in Kampot will stay with me forever, it was just one of those special places, made even better by sharing it with special people.

Beach time in Kep, Cambodia during month thirty two and thirty three of Digital Nomad Life

The Most Random Day Ever at Bokor Hill

Bokor Hill was my favorite day out from Kampot, and definitely the most random – in a good way. Bokor Hill National Park is famous for its ruined buildings at the top, which are fun to explore. It took us an hour drive by scooter from Kampot and it was such a beautiful road to drive on, a perfect stretch of new road winding up the mountain, surrounded by greenery, with clouds swirling around us.

It was pleasantly cool at the top, and we explored the overgrown ruins of old houses, an old Catholic church, and a beautiful viewpoint over the countryside and down to the ocean.

There was a newer Casino Hotel that we thought was abandoned as there were no cars outside and it looked a bit worn on the outside, but on entry we found that it was actually quite nice inside and there were so many staff working, despite there being hardly any guests.

It was pretty weird. We found an arcade so played some games there, checked out the deserted casino, then headed on our way.

We were looking for the famous Bokor Palace Hotel, the most well-known ruins on Bokor Hill, but couldn’t see them anywhere. There was just a new looking hotel in the place where Google Maps said it was meant to be.

Turns out the famous ruins were completely refurbished, with the Hotel only partially reopening a month before we visited. It was empty, apart from the staff. There was a baby grand piano in the restaurant so Julia, one of our group, played a few songs for the us and the staff. And then we drove back to Kampot.

The perfect ending to a random day on a hill in Cambodia.

Exploring the highlights of Bokor Hill, Cambodia during month thirty two and thirty three of Digital Nomad Life

Lowlights

Waterlogged Tent

We found an amazing spot on the lake in Rotorua to camp for a couple of nights, set up our tent then went out exploring. While we were soaking in the Kerosene Creek natural hot river and waterfall, a massive storm rolled in.

When we got back to our tent, all of our bedding was wet and there was a massive puddle inside. Guess my brother’s old tent wasn’t so waterproof after all. We ended up driving the hour back to my Mum’s place to spend the night and to dry everything before heading back to Rotorua the next day. We bought a new tent.

Trash on the Beach in Bali

I was shocked by the amount of plastic on the beaches and in the water around Canggu, it was everywhere. Someone told me it is because it’s the rainy season so the storms are pushing it all up onto the beach. Whether that is true or not, it was very sad to see.

Completely Blocked Ears

Both of my ears blocked at the same time while I was in Canggu, I just woke up one morning and could barely hear anything. It was a disconcerting experience, losing one of my senses for a day, and I also had pain in one of my ears. After buying ear drops and it not helping, I went to a local clinic where they flushed my ears. It was completely worth the $60 I paid.

Stolen or Lost Debit Card

I either lost or was robbed of my travel debit card when I was in Bali – I got to Kuala Lumpur and realised it was missing. Luckily there were no fraudulent charges so I cancelled it, having my replacement card sent to my friend in Sydney who would then send it on to my Dad’s in Auckland.

Unfortunately that meant that I had to use my NZ Debit card, which comes with very high fees. I hate wasting money on things like bank fees so it was frustrating, although I am lucky I had another card at all.

Extreme Heat in Kuala Lumpur

Pretty much everywhere in South East Asia is really, really hot – to me at least – but Kuala Lumpur was another level. It hit 40 degrees (that’s 100 for you Americans) during the day we were exploring and with the humidity, I just couldn’t handle it and had to constantly hide out in cafes and malls to escape the oppressive heat. It definitely made me realise that I wouldn’t enjoy traveling in the hot season.

Wandering around in super hot Kuala Lumpur during month thirty two and thirty three of Digital Nomad Life

Bad WiFi in Malaysia

Malaysia just about killed me with stress due to the constantly bad wifi (except for Kuala Lumpur and Georgetown). I managed to slowly get work done, and had to spend numerous hours at Starbucks in the Cameron Highlands because the wifi at the hostel was basically unusable, and then I got to Perhentian Kecil and it wasn’t usable at all. I ended up buying a Malaysian SIM and at least I had wifi some of the time. Malaysia is perhaps not the best choice for a trip if you work online.

Mini Break Down in Cameron Highlands

I think the stress of moving so fast and the bad wifi got to me in the Cameron Highlands. I woke up feeling depressed one morning, with all the horrible news in the world that came up on my Facebook feed making me feel worse. I ended up taking it out on Toby, having a massive fight, a crying fit, and then it passed in the evening. It scared me how haywire my emotions were and I’m happy that it hasn’t happened again since.

Scary Boat Trip to Perhentian Islands

I didn’t expect our boat transfer to Perhentian Kecil to be on a small, overloaded boat, or for the captain to take on the giant waves like he had a death wish, for all of us. I was terrified as we went air born, flying over the crest of waves, jerked up, down and sideways. Luckily we arrived in one piece and the swell was much smaller on the way back, five days later.

Scary Scooter Rides Around Kampot

I loved scootering around Kampot but we had a bit of a scary experience on our first day. We headed out to Kep in the afternoon and ended up staying to eat crab and watch the sunset, which meant we had to drive back the 30 minutes to Kampot in the dark. That would have been fine if the roads were in good condition (they weren’t), if there were street lights (most of the way there wasn’t), and if the drivers in Cambodia weren’t crazy (they are).

I was in the lead and saw a gravel stretch of road at the last minute, braking hard before I hit it. Unfortunately everyone else right behind me also had to brake hard and two of them came off their bikes, one girl scratched herself up quite badly. The whole way back after that I was terrified I would crash too but luckily there were no more incidents.

Lost and Broken Jewellery

The last couple of months were not good ones in regards to jewellery. I lost a toe ring that my Mum gave me and that I had worn every day since I was a teenager when I was surfing in Gisborne, and my favorite ring that I had bought myself in Turkey ten years ago and also wore every day, broke the day I arrived in Bali. I feel naked without them.

Spending

Total: USD$3087.50

Yep, the last couple of months were pretty expensive but man, did I have fun spending it – traveling through Asia and New Zealand was worth every penny.

There were a couple of unexpected costs like my clinic visit in Bali and my bank fees from using my NZ card after losing my fee free Australian Debit card, along with expensive activities in New Zealand and Travel Insurance for two months in Asia. In all, I only went about $200 per month over what I budgeted which isn’t so bad.

Accommodation $595

I’m actually surprised how low this total is for two months accommodation considering I paid for accommodation for about 90% of the month – a lot more than usual. My accommodation the last two months broke down into 6 nights with family in Papamoa and Auckland, 4 nights in camping grounds, 2 nights free camping, 7 nights in hostel private rooms, 28 nights in a hostel dorm, 11 nights in hotels, and 1 night in a beach bungalow.

Food and Drink $925

Yikes! Wow I spent a lot on food considering I have been in Asia for most of the past two months. I can’t say that I was really trying to budget my spending with food – I did enjoy a lot of delicious and cheap local food, but I also splurged on good quality dishes on a regular basis.

Clothing $37.50

  • Jandalls (flip flops) $14.50
  • Long sun dress $15.50
  • Balinese beach bag $7.50

Transport $359

  • Petrol for NZ Road Trip $101.50
  • Airport Shuttle to Auckland Airport $26.50
  • Taxi from Airport to Canggu on Bali $22
  • Taxis in Canggu, Bali $3.50
  • One day Scooter Rental and gas Canggu $5
  • Taxi from Canggu to Ubud $4
  • One day Scooter Rental and gas Ubud $4.50
  • Airport Shuttle from Ubud $4.50
  • Airport Bus to KL Sentral $3
  • Trains around Kuala Lumpur $3
  • Bus Kuala Lumpur to Melaka $3.50
  • Taxi to Bus Station in Melaka $2.50
  • Buses Melaka to Cameron Highlands $12.50
  • Bus and Boat from Cameron Highlands to Taman Negara $17
  • Boats in Taman Negara $1
  • Bus and Boat from Taman Negara to Perhentian Kecil Island $43
  • Bus from Kuala Besut to Georgetown $10.50
  • Bus from Georgetown to Kuala Lumpur $10
  • Bus from KL Sentral to Airport $2.50
  • Tuk Tuks around Siem Reap and Angkor Wat $22.50
  • Bus from Siem Reap to Battambang $7
  • Tuk Tuks Battambang $2
  • Mini Van from Battambang to Phnom Penh $11
  • Tuk Tuks Phnom Penh $8.50
  • Bus from Phnom Penh to Kampot $9
  • Four Day Scooter Hire and gas in Kampot $21

Activities $503.50

  • Hobbiton Entrance and Tour $57
  • Gondola and four luge rides $26
  • Whakarewarewa Village $25.50
  • Napier Prison Entry $14.50
  • Haggis Honking Holes $120
  • Guided Meditation Session $8.50
  • Tanah Lot Temple Entrance $5.50
  • Balinese Fire Dance $5.50
  • 2 x Massages in Ubud $11.50
  • Tirta Empul Temple Entrance $1
  • Entrance to Ubud Monkey Forest $3.50
  • Melaka River Cruise $6
  • Entry and Tour to Baba and Nyonya Museum $4
  • Half Day Cameron Highlands Tour $13
  • Entry to Canopy Walk in Taman Negara $1.50
  • Entrance fee to Perhentian Islands $8
  • Half Day Snorkeling Trip in Perhentian Islands $8
  • Entrance into Fort Cornwallis in Georgetown $5
  • Entrance into Penang 3D Art Museum $5
  • Floating Village Tour $15
  • Three Day Temple Pass for Angkor Wat $62
  • Battambang Circus $14
  • Battambang Day Tour and Dinner at Guide’s House $17
  • S21 Museum Entrance and Audio Guide $8
  • Killing Fields Entrance and Audio Guide $6
  • River and Firefly Cruise in Kampot $5
  • Seeing Hands Massage in Kampot $5
  • Half Day Rock Climbing in Kampot $42.50

I spent a lot on activities the past two months but I had such a fun time, and I know that the next couple of months this section will be nearly empty.

Website Costs $137

  • Website SiteLock Security $32
  • One Year Tailwind Membership $105

A couple of my annual website costs came up in the last couple of months.

Other $530.50

  • Toiletries $27.50
  • SIM cards and data $18.50
  • Malaysia E Guide Book $3.50
  • Camping Gear $60
  • Kindle books $16
  • Travel Insurance $161.50
  • Universal Power Adaptor $1
  • Clinic Visit to flush out ears $51
  • Charity $3
  • Coconut Coffee and Ginger Tea from Plantation $16
  • Gem stone and silver ring $13
  • Bank fees for NZ Debit card $77.50
  • Laundry $13
  • Gift $6.50
  • Hand bag fixed $2.50
  • Permit to Taman Negara National Park $1.50
  • Books $4
  • Laos and Cambodia E Guide Books $8
  • Bracelet $5
  • Passport Photos $5
  • Cambodian Visa $30
  • Lock for Dorm locker $2.50
  • Kampot Smoked Pepper $4

Going home to Tauranga during month thirty two and thirty three of Digital Nomad LifeWhat’s in Store for Next Month

The first ten nights of month thirty four will be spent in Cambodia – where I am planning to head to Koh Rong Samloem and perhaps also the larger island of Koh Rong.

Back on the mainland I want to spend a couple of nights in Otres Beach before flying to Bangkok for a night, then back home to New Zealand.

The last half of month thirty four I will be catching up on stuff I have been neglecting, like this blog, my wedding planning, and the next stage of my US visa. I’m going to be busy!

I’m also looking forward to catching up with my friends and family in Auckland and Papamoa – and the cooler weather.

To read additional Monthly Round Ups, you can find them here

4 Comments on Digital Nomad Life: Month Thirty Two and Thirty Three

  1. Oh my gosh, you’ve gone so many of my favorite places these past two months! I’m having flashbacks! You guys did like everything we did in Malaysia. (We stayed 10 days in the Perhentians and man, ZERO wifi, but it was amazing! Great Indian food and cooler temps in the Cameron Highlands, feeling sweaty as hell in KL.) I’m wondering if I could even travel this quickly while working on the road, so I’m totally inspired by your ability to do it! I miss SEA sooo much! And those crabs in Kep…

    Good luck with the visa! I can’t imagine how that all goes down. Ah, these more difficult routes we choose for our lives – totally worth it though, right?!

    • Wow 10 nights in the Perhentians must have been bliss (yep – except for the wifi)! I don’t recommend traveling so fast when you are working – it’s a surefire way to burn out although I can usually manage it OK for a few weeks. Also, I only work around 15 hours a week with client work and was largely neglecting my own blog – couldn’t have done it if I had to work more hours than this I don’t think! Yep, we definitely don’t make it easy on ourselves! Maybe you will be getting a UK visa at some point… 😉 We really have to meet up one of these days

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