Last Moments in Chiang Mai

Even as I type this, I’m 6 hours away from our flight to China, not packed, and in complete denial. We are leaving Chiang Mai! At moments I’m heartbroken, imagining all the fun I’ll be missing with the friends I’ve made here. Then I’m excited for China, doing a little dance around the kitchen. After exhausting myself with wildly fluctuating emotions, I collapse on my bed and pretend like I don’t have a single thing to pack. I spent an hour this morning booking a hotel room in Kunming for tonight and Beijing the next day, and it still doesn’t feel real.

I can’t even deal with saying good bye to everyone. It’s really sad to leave, maybe even more so because I know that if I return in six months or a year, it won’t be the same. Most of my friends will be gone. The place will be the same, but feel different. I’ll be chasing a ghost.

This morning Drew took a last walk around the city and snapped some pics with his iPhone. There’s a line in the sand. I feel like our life is starting over again. A friend was writing on Facebook a few months ago about their conflicting emotions around change, taking the leap, starting over. I wrote something to the effect of, “Enjoy it! This is the best part. In a year from now you’ll look back on this moment fondly. You’re alive!”

It’s funny that I’m now in the position to take my own advice. “Enjoy it!” I said. Okay, I’m on it. Next up, Beijing…

Drew’s photos from this morning:


  1. Gorgeous photos! Good luck with the move, we are loving China and deciding to stick around Dali for a while it’s so nice. Hope all will be well for you guys.

  2. Bon Voyage! Chiang Mai won’t really be the same without you. I’m sure Cole is going to be a HUGE hit in China and you’ll be too busy to miss your Chiang Mai life. 🙂

  3. Craig Martin

    Wow, seems like the end of an era! But I’m looking forward to seeing what China has in store for you and the family. Safe travels, and I hope the transition goes well.

  4. I think I might just know who that friend was that you were giving advice to… and yes, there is a certain irony in the fact that I’m now here in Chiang Mai and you’re hours away from departure. 😉

    We’re all going to miss you guys a lot, but this isn’t goodbye – merely adieu. See you somewhere in the world in 2012!

  5. Safe travels, Drew & Christine! Really looking forward to following your journey!

  6. Tracy A. Williams

    It does feel like the end of an era! You three added so much to the Chiang Mai community. Can’t wait to read about your next adventures.
    P.S. I know you’ll be back. 🙂

  7. Christine, your life is so exciting! welcome to Beijing, welcome to China!

  8. I always say meeting people is the best part of travel; saying goodbye is the worst. In the end, you’ll be fine and you’ll look back on these moments with fond memories. For now, cry. It’s OK.

  9. So excited for you! We’re in a similar situation… headed to Singapore in a few days! Cannot wait for the new year to start! 新年快乐!!!

  10. Safe trip to you all! Planning our move to Crete from Italy, can totally relate to how you are feeling right now!

    Happy new year! 🙂

  11. We can’t WAIT to go to Chiang Mai one day! We seem to be stuck in Phuket. I love China and deeply miss it; it has such incredible depth and contrasts. Have a safe and lovely trip!!!

  12. It’s going to be fantastic! And always good to leave a place wanting more.


  13. Love the photos! Safe travels and enjoy the adventure as soon as it begins – leaving is always the hard part. I was highly impressed with your packing picture on facebook earlier – I think we may need a few lessons from you before we head off again in 22 days time.

  14. Good luck Christine, I wish you guys all the best for your next adventure and can’t wait to read all about this next phase of your lives. I’m certain 2012 will be amazing for you all. I start my own travels next year and have found your blog to be an endless source of inspiration. Thank you x

  15. Such beautiful photos! It makes me want to go back there so badly. One day soon, hopefully…
    Good luck with the next leg of your adventure!

  16. Ah, that’s unfortunate. We’re heading to Thailand in a month and looking forward to meeting up with some Chiang Mai Team members 🙂 On the other hand, China sounds exciting! Have fun!

  17. Very nice traveler blog and good photography .

    also visit a good resource for hotel booking in all over world hotel booking in all over world

  18. Thanks for sharing your conflicting emotions, which reinforces to me that change is never easy, even if it is (and probably will be) the best thing you ever do. Safe journey. Thanks for all the inspiration you’ve shared in 2011, I have no doubt 2012 will be your best, most rewarding yet.

  19. Enjoy. When we decided to leave Costa Rica after living there for 1 1/2 years we enjoyed leaving. We lived it, loved it and were ready for more.

    Since we know we’ll be moving on at some point, traveling helps us really cherish the moments, since the moment is all we may have.

    Also, meeting so many people with similar travel mindsets wasn’t saying ‘goodbye’ it was more like saying “see you later, somewhere”.

  20. Have a great trip!

    “It’s really sad to leave, maybe even more so because I know that if I return in six months or a year, it won’t be the same. ”

    Nothing is ever the same unfortunately, but that is what keeps us growing and seeking new adventures and social situations. 🙂

  21. Great info on Chiang Mai. Looking forward to a planned visit in the New Year. Have a friend,Clive Brewster who lives there 6 months of the year.

  22. I’m just glad I got to meet you in Chiang Mai. Cuz there ain’t no way I’m going back to Beijing. But that’s another story. Have fun!!

  23. It’s been fun following your adventures in Chiang Mai. Can’t wait to see what China holds for you!

  24. These are genuinely beautiful images and they fuel my desire to visit Thailand even more. Though I am sorry that if I find my way there, you will be gone. Best of luck in your further travels!! I really admire the way you are raising your child and experiencing the world.