Cam’s $291 apartment in Chiang Mai, Thailand (Smith Residence)

Perhaps the most famous of all accomodation in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I recently stayed at Smith Residence for a month. My room ended up being $291 for the month plus another $25 or so for bills. I’d imagine there’s some better deals on accomodation than Smith Residence (considering it’s pretty heavily advertised).

Yet, only being in Chiang Mai for a month on my first trip, I was content to pay a small premium on accomodation for the ease of finding Smith Residence and the peace of mind staying somewhere well known. No use sweating over paying an extra $20-30 when you know you’re going to get your deposit back, and it saves you from having to look at a bunch of other places.

The Room

Smith Residence View

Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of the room. This was the view though — pretty nice. If you watch the video at the top of this post, however, you’ll get a nice view of the room. It was a fairly spacious studio with a comfortable bed, small balcony, air conditioner, and modern Western-style bathroom.

The prices for the superior and deluxe rooms ranged from about 7,700THB to 10,500THB per month, depending on the room you chose and the length of your stay.

I stayed in one of the deluxe rooms, which at the currency exchange rate during my May/June 2017 stay worked out for my rent to be $291. My bill for a month of elextricity and water ended up being about $25. That was for typical water usage for two people, and using the air conditioner around 5 hours/day.

As of August 2017, the Thai Baht has gotten a bit stronger which makes the prices in Chiang Mai a few percent more expensive.

Also note, you could get a discount of about $10/month if you committed to staying at least three months. For me not a good deal, but it may be for you if you love the place and want to stay in Chiang Mai long-term.

Smith Residence had suites too, but those were about 20,000THB/month ($600) — not worth it for a nomad on a fairly modest budget.

While all accomodation in Chiang Mai is cheap, I still felt Smith Residence was a good deal relatively speaking. You’ll probably spend a fair bit more for a similar place near Nimman though.

Smith Residence Prices Smith Residence Prices

(The pricing options they gave me during my stay in May/June 2017. Check their website for more recent prices.)

Amenities

Smith Residence Restaurant

The Smith Residence Restaurant was solid. It had both Western and Thai food. Most of the offerings were around 70-80THB ($2-$2.50). The food at this restaurant was marginally more than typical Thai restaurants in the area. We’re talking $.10-$.75 more, however, depending on the dish.

The convenience factor and quality definitely made up for that though. You had the option of either eating in the restaurant downstairs by the lobby, or having the food delivered to your room. We took advantage of having the food delivered many times on lazy mornings or during downpours. The restaurant was open from 7:00a.m. to 8:00p.m.

Other amenities included mostly solid wi-fi, a rooftop pool, ok gym, and weekly room cleaning. More on the pool and gym later.

Location

Smith Residence Location

(Google Maps view of Smith Residence to Nimman commute. Being far from Nimman was the only downside to Smith Residence’s location in my opinion.)

Smith Residence is located just outside the Old City, which from my understanding is basically that area just above Smith Residence that looks like a square. This area is great for different Western food options and it’s also near Loi Kroh Road if you’re into nightlife, massages, or bar girls.

More than anything else, however, I enjoyed having an apartment near so many markets. The famous Chiang Mai Night Bazaar (supposedly the biggest nightmarket in Southeast Asia) was just 10-15 minutes away on foot. There was also a large Saturday market everyday a 3 minute walk from the apartment.

My favorite was this market that was open every night. I discovered it with the girl I was seeing at the time. It was crazy cheap, and as a food lover she came to give it the nickname “Heaven”.

Coconut dessert

(Some coconut dessert)Night Market

(Night market “Heaven” 2-3 minutes from Smith Residence — open every night.)

(Pad Thai — 35 Baht or $1-$1.1USD)

Overall

Smith Residence is a great apartment for someone that’s new to Southeast Asia. The apartment is clean, and on a fairly quiet side street just outside the Old City. Smith Residence offers room service, friendly staff, a huge expat community (mostly older folks though), modern amenities, a solid location, and an awesome view.

The only negatives I marked down for Smith Residence was that the rooms had no fans (air conditoning only), a pretty weak gym, and that supposedly no guests are allowed to visit the pool or gym.

Guests to your room seem to be allowed, but it’d be a pretty big letdown not to be able to bring girls or your family to swim in the pool. However, I’m not sure how strongly the no guests thing is enforced.

Beyond that, a lot of digital nomads would dock Smith Residence points for not being near the trendy Nimmanhaemin Road — digital nomad central of Chiang Mai.

I didn’t mind much not living in the “cool neighborhood”. Maybe there’s more networking opportunities there. That’s the only potential downside I see to not living near Nimman. Nimman is more expensive than the rest of Chiang Mai as well — both rent and food.

The area around Smith Residence had lots of great markets and food options. As someone that was lying low and focusing on improving my programming skills for a month, that was enough to make me happy.

Would I stay at Smith Residence again? Maybe, but I’d like to explore other parts of Chiang Mai too first before making that decision. Should you stay at Smith Residence? Sure.

It’s neither the cheapest nor the most luxurious accomodation in Chiang Mai, but it’s solid value. It’s also a “safe” choice.

My overall recommendation to you is this: Stay at Smith Residence for a month (easily doable without penalties or losing your deposit), explore the rest of the city (especially Nimman), and then settle down in your favorite place.

It’s easy enough — once you’ve got a decent income stream or savings to live off of. Just don’t be one of the fools that comes to Chiang Mai with a plan to sell an ebook about how to make money selling ebooks to other nomads coming to Chiang Mai 😉

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Switching the blog’s focus from self-development to travel/nomad content. The same applies for my Youtube channel! Stay tuned, and enjoy!

The One Thing Responsible For All Your Problems

Think about all your problems. Think about all the things in your life that are bothering you. Is it your career? Your boss is an asshole… so you say. Is it your relationships?

Your Dad is always nagging at you to be more successful and you find yourself arguing with your girlfriend on a daily basis. Maybe you’re just disappointed in yourself for not keeping in shape, or not having pursued your dream of traveling the world.

Who is to blame for all these things? Is your Dad wrong for having unrealistic expectations for you? Is it your girlfriend’s fault for nagging at you too much? Is it the food’s fault you ate it? The answer to all these questions is of course not.

While your environment DOES impact you, it DOESN’T control you… unless you let it. Having unhealthy food in your house will tax your willpower and greatly increase the chance you end up overweight. Yet, until you take responsibility for your problems, your environment will always control you.

Yes, your nagging girlfriend can take a toll on your mood. Unfortunately, blaming her doesn’t fix anything. Ultimately, it’s your responsibility to manage your life and emotions.

Either ignore her nagging, adjust your frame in the relationship to decrease the amount of arguments, or leave the relationship.

By staying in that relationship you place the responsibility of your life and your emotions in her hands — stupid. The common denominator between all your problems is you.

Again, your environment does effect you. Hanging around negative people will make you a more negative person. Yet, you’re still responsible for becoming a negative person in this scenario because you allowed yourself to be surrounded by negative people.

Take responsibility for your problems, and you’ll gain complete control over your life.

You’re Wasting the Greatest Tool You Have

Imagine you were alive 100-300 years ago. You were one of America’s founding fathers, or one of the influential people of the past. You were Benjamin Franklin, or Thomas Edison, or Winston Churchill.

Now, imagine you had some kind of magical device. Some device that the potential to access the world’s knowledge. That magical device would allow you to see what’s happening on the other side of the world. You wouldn’t have to wait for the radio channel to describe what was happening on different continents.

You could simply see pictures of what was going on. You could gain a more accurate perspective of the world because you’d be seeing current events through your own eyes, rather than hearing filtered accounts of the events through TV or radio personalities.

You could use that device to learn the world’s languages. You could use that device to do research on how to cook nutritious food and the optimal exercise program for your specific body type. Imagine you had this magical device, and it had all the information you’d ever need to live a successful, happy, and fulfilling life.

Now imagine you had this device and you never used it. Or, you used this device to do frivolous activities like browse galleries of cute cat photos, or argue with people who have rigid belief systems that are not open to change. Actually, a mistake has been made. You don’t actually need to imagine any of these scenarios because they’re already in motion.

This is the state of the internet in 2017. People have the most powerful tool in the history of the world available in their pocket. Yet, most people aren’t taking advantage of it. Don’t be like most people. Take advantage of the internet in the same way our founding fathers or history’s greatest influencers would have.

The 3 Traps That Kill Improvement & Ruin Your Life

If you’ve ever had a goal, perhaps you wanted to lose weight, you wanted to become more social, you wanted to make more money — first you made the goal, and then you started taking action on the goal. You saw improvements for a while, and then things stopped getting better. You hit a plateau. Why? There’s several possibilities.

Learning Technique

One possibility is that your learning technique only works to a certain point. If you have crippling social anxiety, planning what you’re going to talk about ahead of time can give you the confidence to chat with others. This is significantly better than sitting quietly — too afraid to talk to anyone.

Yet, planning your conversations is unnatural. Others will often feel awkward when talking with you because you’re effectively trying to control the other person’s responses and getting them to stick to your script. Once you’ve gotten comfortable with scripted conversations, you’ll only continue to see improvements in your social abilities by trying to have spontaneous unscripted conversations with others.

Another example is fitness. Walking is a great option to help overweight people lose excess fat and improve their cardiovascular health. Walking everyday might produce improvements in your physique for a month, you may even see improvements for a year. Yet, eventually, you will plateau.

30 minutes of walking isn’t going to help Lebron James or Cristiano Ronaldo get in better shape. At some point, you’ll have to adjust your exercise regime to continue seeing improvements. You’ll have to start walking further, running, doing yoga, or incorporating resistance exercises to reach a higher level of fitness.

Mental Barriers

Another thing that could stop you from improving is mental barriers. Consider a high school teacher’s income. A high school teacher can only increase their $50,000/year income in a few ways. They could work more hours, they could earn additional qualifications such as a master’s degree, or they could improve school test scores, perhaps earning a small bonus in the process.

Unfortunately, even doing all of these things won’t be enough for most teachers to earn a six-figure income. Yet, earning a six-figure income is possible as a teacher, it simply requires greater creativity.

An English teacher could create a membership website with regularly uploaded video content designed to help foreign students improve their English abilities so that they’d be able to pass the IELTS or TOEIC tests and be able to study abroad. They could then charge $19/month for access to that content. A few hundred active subscriptions per month would be enough for that teacher to double their income, thus reaching six figures.

Another idea, is that art teachers could host webinars teaching others how to paint. During the webinar, the art teacher could occasionally promote the ebook they’ve written about how to become a great artist. The art teacher could also upsell their services as an artist at the end of the webinar, and offer to help others create custom art for their home or workplace.

As you can see, the possibilities are endless with a little creativity and hustle.

Genetic Potential

Reaching their genetic potential is an excuse people often use for why they can’t get better at something. I’m not fat, I’m just big-boned. I don’t have the logical mind to be a lawyer or computer programmer. Being realistic, people do have genetic limits. Clearly, someone that’s a five foot four (1.625m) ectomorph isn’t going to be an NFL lineman.

The problem, however, is that most people underestimate their genetical potential. Yet, by refusing to work hard and chase your genetic potential, you’ll never know what your genetic potential actually was.

Instead of being overly focused on your genetic potential, evaluate your learning techniques, mental frameworks, reaffirm you’re capable of reaching the next level, and be willing to put in the work to do so. After that — hustle.

How to Solve ANY Problem

Solving your problems is any incredibly simple, albeit difficult process. While there’s some people who have the gift of instantly identifying brilliant solutions to problems, the reality is that most of us lack this ability.

Furthermore, even if we’re able to quickly solve problems in certain fields, say travel problems or programming errors, nobody is capable of instantaneously solving issues in every field of knowledge.

Fortunately, even if it’s not always possible to instantly solve our problems, there is a process we can follow to eventually figure out the solution. That process is very simple — trial and error. Try something, get feedback from your attempted solution, and adjust your approach.

This isn’t a groundbreaking concept, but most people give up too early and simply think they’re bad at solving problems. Becoming a great problem solver is a lot about acquiring a huge base of knowledge, but having incredible persistence is just as, if not more important.

Acquiring feedback is also what will allow you to expand your knowledge base. Trial and error, trial and error, trial and error, is how you’ll find the most fitting solution to your problems.

Coincidentally… or not so coincidentally, expanding your knowledge base through trial and error is also how you’ll develop the coveted ability to instantly identify brilliant solutions to your problems.

Why You Should Never Seek Someone’s Approval

Whether it’s giving a speech, performing on stage, or even just socializing with friends, people are always seeking approval.  They want to feel accepted and feel as if they’re a part of the group. If you’ve ever studied evolutionary psychology, you’d know that this likely dates back to our time hunting and gathering in tribes.

Of course, while it’s great to belong to groups, you shouldn’t need to be inauthentic or falsify yourself to become part of a community. When someone eats lunch with you and they try to show off or be “cool,” you’re actually less likely to accept them. Why? Because you unconsciously believe that if they had genuine value to bring to the relationship that they wouldn’t need to present themselves as something they aren’t.

The same applies for dating. Women like guys that are comfortable with themselves. When you try to hard to make a girl like you, when you bend your behavior to try to seek a positive response out of her, she’s actually less likely to want to be with you. After all, If you were in abundance and didn’t need her, there would be no reason for you to have to impress her.

In short, when you seek someone’s approval, you’ll almost never get it. Thus, trying to get someone’s approval is a waste of time. Having to manage someone else’s image of you is also energetically draining — am I living up to their standards? Do they like me? How can I manipulate them into having a more positive opinion of me?

In the end, all that energy is wasted because they would’ve liked you better if you’d simply said, “This is who I am. This is the genuine me. Take it or leave it.”

Momentary Pleasure Won’t Lead to Long-Term Fulfillment

Why do most people’s lives not pan out the way they had hoped? It’s very simple. Most people are ruled by momentary pleasures — things that stimulate them or are satisfying in the short-term. Unfortunately, by definition, the things that lead to success, the things that lead to being an outlier, can’t be what the majority do.

Most people indulge in things that gratify them in the short term — unhealthy food, drugs, alcohol, porn, procrastination, etc. For that reason, avoiding a mediocre life means you’ll need to craft your environment, mindset, and approach to life in a way that’ll enable you to avoid these things.

Doing so isn’t easy, but it’s also not complicated. Have a vision for yourself and understand that while what you’re doing isn’t easy in the short-term, it’ll lead to great things and fulfillment in the long-term.

Why Hating Your 9-5 Is An Advantage

In May 2017 I lived in Chiang Mai, Thailand with my girlfriend for a month. I have to say, that this past May was one of the best months of my life. Everyday I woke up with a beautiful 21 year old girl in my bed, had warm weather, enjoyed delicious meals, worked on my schedule, and had the opportunity to explore a peaceful mountain city. That was a nice month.

At the same time, I can also remember how different my life used to be. When I was 14 years old I worked as a soccer referee. When I was 17, I worked at Dairy Queen. Finally, when I was 18, I worked on the famous Apple Holler farm as an entertainer, SEO consultant, and video editor.

As you mature and grow your skills, you’ll inevitably have more interesting career opportunities. There is one thing I miss about working my old job at Dairy Queen, however. When I worked at Dairy Queen I had motivation to hustle so that I could eventually find a more desirable position. While working at Dairy Queen, the depressive 9-5 (or 4-11 rather) monotony motivated me to avoid complacency and develop my skills.

That’s the good thing about working a 9-5 job that you hate. When you need to do something you hate to earn a living, there’s a lot of motivation for you to tap into. “I’m going to learn how to program 2 hours everyday after work so that I can get the F out of this job.”

Ideally, you’d have intrinsic motivation from within. For most people this isn’t the case though — especially young people. Most need external motivation to hustle. Fortunately, a shitty 9-5 can give you that motivation. Living in Chiang Mai where the weather is nice, women are beautiful, and cost of living is low probably wouldn’t.

For that reason, I always recommend you make a habit of hustling while at the job you hate. Doing so will serve you well in escaping your 9-5 and getting to paradise. It will also ensure you have the discipline to sustain yourself and become increasingly prosperous once you’re here.

Self-Discipline Equals Self-Respect

An interesting connection I’ve seen the past few years traveling the world, is that those with the most self-discipline tend to have the most self-respect. This isn’t accurate 100% of the time, but generally the people that have control over themselves and the ability to skip momentary pleasures tend to feel a lot more positively about themselves.

The people that are able to delay gratification and strive to live up to the vision they have of themselves tend to be the happiest. This applies across cultures. As such, here’s my recommendation to maximize happiness over the course of your life.

Don’t try to become happy by stimulating yourself. Eating junk food, taking drugs, or watching porn aren’t going to make you happy in the long-term. Instead, cultivate discipline.

Do the difficult things you fear, or that require willpower. Attack the obstacles that stand between you and your goals. Over time you’ll become much happier as you come into alignment with the vision you once set for your life.

Climbing the Right Ladder

Imagine four ladders propped up against four respective skyscrapers. Each skyscraper has a surprise waiting for you on the roof. For the purpose of this metaphor, let’s ignore the absurdity of climbing a ladder to the top of an 80 floor skyscraper.

Ok, now you’ve got to make a decision. Which ladder are you going to climb? To make that decision, there’s some different things you’ll need to consider. First, you’ll have to ask yourself which ladders you’re capable of climbing. Perhaps some ladders are too tall for you to have energy to climb. Or, perhaps you’re too heavy and the ladders aren’t strong enough to hold you.

Beyond your climbing abilities, you’ll also have to ponder what may be at the top of each ladder. While you can never know for sure, it’s possible consulting with other intelligent people could give you a general idea of what may be at the top. Climbing some ladder may be more profitable than others.

Finally, you’ll have to ask yourself whether you care about the reward at the top of each ladder. Perhaps one ladder has a loving wife at the top, but only a modest amount of money. Another may have incredible riches, but poor health.  One may have an endless amount of great sex with beautiful young women, but a disappointed family. The last ladder may be extremely short with lots of goodies as you climb, but at the top you’ll be ambushed and pushed off the edge to your death.

Life is exactly the same as this metaphor. There will be different ladders for you to climb. Some ladders be easy for you to climb, but ultimately unfulfilling (such as drugs or possibly the corporate ladder for some individuals). Other ladders may be difficult for you to climb, but provide a great reward when you finally reach the top.

The important thing, is you find the ladder that’s going to be the best fit for you. Ideally, you’ll choose the right ladder at a young age and be able to reach the rooftop. You’ll choose to become a programmer, become extremely successful in your profession, and be forever passionate about it.

This doesn’t happen for most us, however. More likely, you’ll “waste” some time climbing the wrong ladders in your life before stumbling on the right one. When this happens, it’s important to ignore sunk costs.

Just because you’ve been climbing the ladder in corporate sales from a young age doesn’t mean you need to continue doing so forever. Doing so could be advantageous, because others would have difficulty catching up. However, it’s important to also be introspective and balance the benefits you’ve accumulated from your past decisions along with the future you’d like to create for yourself.

There is no one right ladder. There’s only the right ladder for you. Climb it. Reach the top. Enjoy the rewards.