Chiang Mai expat culture: Dudeism or Silicon Sois
Chiang Mai has been voted on Nomad List as the best value location on Earth for running an internet business. The exact result depends on where you are but it won when I tried from the UK.
I found Chiang Mai on the 5th day of an around the world journey, hence this website, to find the best place for a job-free lifestyle, 9 years before nomadlist.com was even registered. I sought and took good advice from Australians when in London and a Thai guy when in Bangkok, and to this day I think that's the best way to get ahead as we are still at the frontier of this location independent revolution, 15 years for me, and 20 for the internet. I U-turned in Australia when I realised I'd need a job to stay there, and came back to where I'd never need a job again, and so I can now always say I retired at 29.
Those 5 days were six months of experiences for me and the first couple of months in Thailand were enough to realise the film at that time The Beach is based on reality. Some of the reviews doubt it but I think they probably haven't lived in the real deep Thailand, with all the ways it affects people, who still get caught out with the Wild East aspects of Asian life. That and The Big Lebowsky are recommended watching to see what's in store if you intend to stay here ultra long term and not have the culture disappoint. Both films are how we lived here in the early 2000s, and I haven't moved on much from this myself, it's just too much of a life to leave.
Neither of these films will engage with the Silicon Sois (lanes) as I call it 'fresh off the job' work ethic with westerners in the Nimmanhaemin area of town. Of course I have a huge amount to learn from them and I'm doing so. It's brilliant to have lived so cheaply and excellently for so long and now San Francisco comes to me, without the rent. I'll be showing the best of what I have gathered later on this blog, filtering out the winning strategies, so follow along either on twitter or the email list above to see what I find.
But there is a wider story. Oliver Benjamin a friend of a friend and journalist here in Chiang Mai was watching The Big Lebowsky and had a spiritual revelation. I'm not kidding, he founded Dudeism and see Wikipedia a global religion. There are more Dudeist than Catholic priests in Ireland. It is a prime example of how lateral thinking and a profound lack of hard work are keys to creativity. If you wonder why I seem unaffected by what's happening right next to me this is the reason. I focus on the refinements of life and the opportunities, and details and stress are somewhere I don't remember. I had an atheist friend passing away with cancer a few years ago, and he was amazed I converted him to religion.
If you want to stay here for the cheap and pleasant lifestyle, long enough to get your start-up running, then to go back to the West for mortgages and marriage, as most people do then that's great, but it seems to me leaving behind the very reasons for coming here in the first place, a low stress high quality of life for the money with a very communicative population that generally wants to help you as much as you help them. Many people going back in my experience have less than positive reasons, like absolutely everyone in the 2001 days going back to their work when I was the only one able to stay, making friends for a decade with Thai people and retired westerners until the recent years when this digital nomad wave out here got going.
How I did it, on the money, I describe in the next post.
I also should go into things in a lot more detail, email me with any questions and I'll go into the aspects people are interested in. I'm thinking of doing a YouTube, which will also have a comments section.