One of the best ways to travel on a budget is to steer clear of destinations in high tourist demand and instead go off the beaten path. Few places in my travel history have been as off the beaten path as Laos. The Southeast Asian country sandwiched between Thailand and Vietnam has just enough of a tourism industry to ensure I’d be able to find places to stay, things to do, and restaurants to eat, while keeping the price of all those things under $30 per day. See the full breakdown of what I spent below.
Luang Prabang, despite its position on the Banana Pancake Trail, likely isn’t the first place you think of staying as a creative professional. But the city’s relative remoteness within Southeast Asia gives it a relaxed pace of life and has preserved much of its traditional art and culture. The colonial center is easily the most beautiful town in Laos, and despite the limited availability of WiFi, the city makes a comfortable place to spend at least a couple weeks as a digital nomad.
WorldSmith of the Month is a new feature, showcasing traveling artists and creative professionals around the world. I believe travel in itself can be a creative pursuit, but there are so many ways travel and art can (and do) intersect and fuel one another. Travel can bring you closer to creative endeavors, and living creatively can help you travel more. Read on to meet the newest addition to the WorldSmith community and learn how she balances art and travel.
From creative writer to professional artist’s model to costume-designing Wasteland Warrior, Faith Roswell is the picture of what unique, winding roads creative travelers take to fulfill their passions. “It’s strange to think that it was never an ambition of mine to travel,” she says. “I just wanted to make art, but over the past ten years, it is travel that has had the greatest influence on my art.”
In preparing for the Southeast Asian leg of my RTW trip, I read a lot of horror stories about the slow boat to Laos. The three-day journey from Chiang Mai in Thailand to Luang Prabang in Laos seemed to have been a trying experience for many. At the same time, it seemed the most reasonable way to get into a landlocked, less developed country. A bus between the two cities would have been unbearably long, and a direct flight wasn’t quite in my budget. Plus, deep down, I felt the need to see just how bad it really was.
Either things have changed or the blogs I read about the slow boat were way overblown accounts of people who didn’t manage their expectations well. The couple of days I spent cruising down the Mekong River were an absolute highlight of my time in Southeast Asia! But if you don’t know what you’re getting into, I can see how it would be a shock to the system. Read up on the details of taking the slow boat to Laos and decide whether it’s for you.