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travelling north thailand

Whether you’re seeking peace and quiet, breathtaking views or the North Thailand cuisine, Pai is the place for you. It is well known for its nearby canyons, hot springs and waterfalls. The downtown is small and easily walkable. There are plenty of local artisans with small shops overflowing with merchandise. Also there are many vendors that offer a wide variety of ethnic foods, including western cuisine. In my opinion, the best thing about the town of Pai is the people who reside here and the vibe I get while here.

It’s not uncommon for people to extend their stay once arriving in Pai. I was only planning to stay a week and now it’s been 12 days. I extended my visa to stay in this north Thailand oasis for another month. When I arrived here I wanted to try and find a place to do some art and possibly use my skill for free accommodations. This has panned out in my favour and I will commence my first mural at The Backpackers Paradise resort/bar this week. I am excited to leave my mark on this beautiful place for travellers to admire.

I have done a ton of sightseeing and have visited many  of the attractions surround Pai. there are two popular waterfalls worth checking out. Mo Paeng waterfall is only 10 minutes by scooter on the north side of Pai. Also the more popular, Pam Bok waterfall on the southern side of Pai. Both falls are cool but the Pam Bok waterfall is near the bamboo bridge. This is an 800m bridge stretched over rice fields in the jungles of North Thailand. It’s definitely worth checking out. And almost anywhere you go there is something that is likely to make your jaw drop or have you scrambling for your camera. There are no shortages of amazing views and scenic trails to discover in Pai, Thailand

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more attractions…

The Pai Canyon is another great sight that looks like the grande canyon just pushed its way into the rainforest. Certainly very unique and worth visiting. Many tourists try to make it up to the canyon for sunrise and get some shots of the fiery skies cresting over the mountains. Another interesting stop is just further up the road from the canyon. The ww2 memorial bridge  that stretches over the Pai river.

If you prefer to have a little more excitement in your travels rather than just sightseeing. Pai has lots to offer in that regard as well. There are elephant sanctuaries and white water rafting. Also slow tubing down the Pai river which I heard is a 3 hour float and lots of fun. Scooter rentals are much cheaper in north Thailand too. It’s much easier and cheaper to see all the sights with your own transportation.

There is also a giant white buddha on the side of a mountain about 5 minutes from downtown Pai. The structure is impressive and the views are lovely from the top. Several other temples are scattered throughout Pai and surrounding it. Honestly my favourite thing to do is just jump on my scooter and start taking random turns until I end up somewhere new. It’s a challenge sometimes but usually very rewarding in the end.

Wrapping this blog post up I would like to share that since being in Thailand, this pace is the most comfortable and affordable for me. The vibes here are amazing and I have made more friends and connections since being in Pai as I have this entire trip. North Thailand rules thus far and I am happy to be a part of the good life it has to offer. I will keep my readers updated with pictures of my mural as I go.

Thanks for checking in with Da PeaceTrain!

Stay tuned,

Jonny D

 

 

 

 

 

Exploring a school in the jungle

I decided to head into the mountains for a little exploring. It was Thursday in Doi Saket. There were some cool places up in the hills that I wanted to check out. I drove out of town and found a promising turnoff that led to a gravel road heading up the mountain. Knowing I would eventually find something worthwhile I continued up the windy road.Finding myself coming to a dead end I rerouted and went around a cool lake. Nothing worth writing home about however it was great to see something new. I persevered up the dirt road for a few kilometres to end up on a paved road. This was kind of nice considering the terrain was getting pretty sketchy for my poor little scooter in the jungle. I made a decision to head right on the paved road.

It wasn’t long before I came up to an intersection. I had a choice to either go straight towards the Royal Agriculture Research Centre of Chiangmai. Or I could go left around a lake towards The School For Life. Going with my gut I headed left. Two kilometres passed the lake I approached the entrance for the school. I was happy with my decision.

 I grabbed my camera..

..and started walking into the “school yard”. It was surreal to see this isolated learning centre in the middle of the jungle. However I did not know if I was allowed to be there, let alone documenting it. I quickly found a teacher who would be able to help me answer this question. I introduced myself and explained what I was doing exploring this foreign land. “Mr. B” was very welcoming and said it was ok for me to look around and take some shots.

I encountered a group of students with a teacher seemingly playing a game like rock, paper, scissors. I made my way over slowly, trying not to interrupt. They noticed me approaching and everyone looked up to see who the outsider was. There are not many visitors up here especially Canadian tourists with tattoos. I met some of the kids and their teacher, who was a younger German fellow who was on a mission to give these children an education. There were many expat teachers here and the kids loved them and the games they played together. I sat and watched some of the fun with many eyes upon me. It was one of the coolest experiences in my life.

Discovering this school..

 ..was a humbling observation. One of the teachers explained that all of these students were either abandoned or taken away from their parents for humane reasons. This made my heart hurt but filled me with love at the same time. I had such a great appreciation for this academy and what they are doing. There are many children in this country that get no education at all. I was thrilled to witness this outreach program first hand. The difference this makes in these kids’ lives is incredible and it shows.

The kids loved having me as their guest. I am grateful for seeing this education system and exploring this region of the jungle. It gave me a profound understanding of how lucky we are in Canada and other parts of the world. These children are inspiring to me and have a second chance at the School For Life. I wanted to share this experience with you, thank you for reading. I will continue to explore the far stretches of the world. At the same time bring to you a great story that is sure to enrich the soul.

Cheers,

Jonny D

First 10 days in thailand…

I have not been in Thailand long however I have already learned some tricks to save money. Stretching your wallet here is not easy and and it takes some diligence. Be cautious of pitfalls like I explained in my last post about Popular Scams in Bangkok. Also be aware of how you spend your money day to day. Transportation, food and accommodations are the biggest costs while travelling. Research pays off when it comes to these categories. Here’s what I learned about commuting around the craziest city in the world.

subways,skytrains and grab app

At first I was taking the subways(MRT) and skytrains(BTS) to do most of my commuting. It ended up costing nearly as much, if not more to take the train system around Bangkok as it did to take a taxi. I quickly learned the cheapest and fastest way to get around was an app called Grab. It’s similar to Uber but they also have the Grab bike option. This is a scooter taxi that can pick you up in minutes. They can weave through traffic much quicker than any vehicle. As many know Bangkok’s traffic can be horrendous and you can waste a lot of time sitting in a car. At a fraction of the price I could get all the way across the city on a scooter. Mind you, there is a level of danger here that is not present while riding inside a car. It just depends how much trust you have for the drivers. I thought the grab bikes were a lot fun and an experience all in itself. Check it out for yourself, it’s worth the experience!

On the back of a Grab Bike

buses and tuktuks

The next option for local transportation is the bus system. Again, like the subway, it’s not easy to navigate these bus stops or routes. Many signs are written in Thai or too small to read while on the bus. Most of the time, the bus driver or collection person will help you find your stop but it’s not a guarantee. The buses are cheaper than most other transportation but easily get stuck in traffic jams or gridlocked streets. The TukTuks are another option but can range in price considerably. Without any bartering experience, you will more than likely pay too much. These drivers are good at reeling in unexperienced travellers and taking their money. Be cautious and try to make a deal before getting into any TukTuks. They are pretty fast and can fit into tighter spots than most cars though, this is an advantage for backed up traffic.

TukTuk

Boat taxis

There is another option if you do not want to end up on the gridlocked streets of Bangkok in rush hour. The boat taxis and water transportation are a great way to make up ground for little money. The river boats move quickly through the canals and can be a great experience for travellers. It is a popular method of transport for many locals and the crowds aren’t too bad. As long as you don’t mind walking a bit, this is an effective way to make it from point A to point B. Again, learning the routes is essential to a seamless trip and paying attention to where you are is crucial. I missed my pier by two stops and had to walk several blocks to make it where I wanted to go. This wasn’t the worst thing ever but a lesson learned on being alert and knowing where you are.

all in all…

Bangkok offers many ways to get around and knowing which one suits you the best will only come with experience. Larger groups would not be able to take the scooters and it’s no fun being the only foreigner looking clueless in the train station. Finding your favourite mode of transport can be challenging but I hope this helps if you are just starting out!

Cheers and thanks for reading!

JonnyD

I made it to bangkok alive!

Click here for more of my photography from Bangkok!

I am experiencing a new culture in the craziest city in the world. There is so much going on here it’s hard to compute. I have seen some temples and took a river boat tour. Got on some scooter taxis and had some of the best street food to date. Oh yeah, and I got a tattoo on my forearm on Khao San road.

There is much to do in this massive metropolis and I barely scratched the surface in four days. Tourism is booming here and the locals know how to take advantage of that. You have to be careful not to fall for any scams. Whether it be fake boat tours or the overpriced VIP taxis, it’s easy to be caught off guard in this foreign land. Be mindful that there several scams in this city and keep an eye out for the suspicious characters. Here are some of the more popular scams in the nations capitol…

  • The grand palace is closed. (TukTuk drivers will take you to other temples because the grand palace is closed, he will get his cut from the temple guards and you will end up paying much more than needed).
  • The Patpong scam. (Suspicious locals will try and persuade you into their club to watch a show. It will end up costing you a lot of money for nothing).
  • The TukTuk scams. (TukTuk drivers will offer to take you to a special government discount on gemstones or tailored suits, you might get some nice stuff but at a cost much higher than what it’s worth. And the driver takes his cut or gets a “coupon” for bringing you there).

There is no wealth like knowledge…

If you know what to watch out for, you have far better odds than the average tourist. Avoid the TukTuk driver’s who try to call you over, or politely refuse their service. Try not to look lost all the time, staring at your phone and looking around in circles makes you a prime target. Be aware of your surroundings and try to avoid sticky situations. I got taken to a custom tailor shop and I did buy a suit. I’m happy with the price I paid but it was definitely a pressure sale. I’ve heard horror stories from fellow travellers since being here. So watch out!

I don’t want to scare you but it’s a good thing to have a bit of knowledge before taking on Bangkok. Most importantly, stick to your original plans. Don’t allow locals to tell you what you want to see unless you know and trust them. Even asking for directions might cost you 20/30 baht. I don’t want to make it sound dangerous or misleading here. This city is amazing and will leave an impact on you no matter what. It’s just nice knowing what you’re up against. Check out my photography from this wonderful city here.

Thanks for reading,

Jonny D

Happy Travelling!

day one…

Here I am on day one of my Southeast Asia trip. Who knew I’d be hitchhiking from Vernon to Kamloops today. It took three hours to get picked up which left me  surprised. I figured I looked clean cut enough to get picked up within thirty minutes or less. Apparently I was wrong. Also it seemed there was an abundance of elderly drivers this afternoon, it made me feel like my chances were slim with this demographic. Either way, I made it 87 kilometres in a vehicle instead of walking.

 

My pack is heavier than I expected. I did have to walk almost 10 km throughout the day and my shoulders and legs are feeling it for sure. I weighed my bag before I left and it was 47 pounds with the carry on. This did not seem heavy to me then, however it does now. I’m sure it’ll get easier as I go, it’s probly just muscles I haven’t used for a while.

Today was eventful to say the least

I first had to tie up all my loose ends in Vernon before getting dropped off on the highway to hitch a ride. I had to cancel my insurance and park my van at my sisters. Then she gave me a ride to a good spot on the highway for me to set up thumb. After what seemed like an eternity, a firefighter from Vernon offered me a ride to Kamloops. This renewed my faith in good humans.

Upon arrival in Kamloops he said he would bring me to the Greyhound station after he ran a couple errands. I complied and we set out to accomplish his tasks. He then took me to bus station to see when the next bus to Vancouver was leaving. There was one bus leaving at that exact same moment so I rushed outside to stop the bus. I asked if he would wait five minutes for me to buy a ticket. He denied my offer and said to take the next bus.

The next scheduled bus for is for 4:00 am and I figured I could get picked up hitchhiking before the bus would get here. I tried for over an hour until the sun went away and the rain clouds started forming. Back into town I came to get the last hour of wifi at Starbucks before they closed. I will make my way back to the Greyhound station to patiently wait for the next bus in the morning.

To wrap this up, I would say hitchhiking is an exciting way to start a trip. I wouldn’t use this method as your first choice, but it works when needed. All in all it was a learning experience for me. I now have the true backpackers hitchhiking notch on my belt. Thanks for reading , I’ll post again once I’m in Thailand! One Love

Jonny D

Hey everyone!

Sorry for the much overdue blog post. I have been insanely busy building a stockpile of paintings for the Electric Love festival near Chilliwack. I will be vending an art booth and would like to have a decent selection of pieces to better my chances and be a successful booth owner.  This means many hours of playing with paint and different techniques/styles.

I have a month to prepare for Electric Love and am bringing more than just paintings to the event. I have started making buttons and vinyl decals to cater to more people. The festival scene is a great place to network and build my brand. This could prove to be lucrative as well. There is room for growth here and this market might be the perfect place for me to expand and flourish as an artist.

What’s funny about this is I actually manifested a job working at festivals last summer in the States. The only problem was, I was working for someone else. I felt like I was suppressing  my own dreams and taking the easy route. The knowledge gained from working with Liquid Dreams helped me understand the requirements for being a vendor. Now I can take these new skills and improve my own presence as an artist at these amazing events. It’s really exciting to broaden my talents and embark on this adventure in becoming a successful artist.

from canvas to wall…

I am eager to turn my art into a grand scale and start practicing my style in murals. I believe once I get more comfortable with murals the possibilities are endless in the art game. The idea of travelling and doing art to sustain that lifestyle is extremely appealing. I know now what I have to do to achieve greatness in this field. Time to start practicing on some big walls!

I’m not going to start tagging public property, but I do want to get some sheets of plywood and experiment. Some of the art I’ve seen throughout my travels has been beyond amazing. It’s time for me to step up and bring my best self to produce some quality mind blowing art.

Check out the latest works of art I have completed over the last month.  Please comment below to inquire or just give some feedback to this new style I’ve been practicing.

Thanks for reading!

ONE LOVE,
JonnyD

 

 

summer van life..the best

Summer is fast approaching in the Okanagan, time to spread my wings and see some sights. Since music festivals are my new favourite thing in the world. I’m going to travel around Canada and see how many I can hit.

The only difference is that I want to attend these festivals as an artist, not just a patron. There are several events I’ve never been to in BC including Base Coast, Electric Love and Curiosity. Base in the Bush is another festival in Saskatoon coming up in a couple weeks.

I have already secured a spot at Base in the Bush and I will be doing live painting and have some of my art on display for sale. This is HUGE for me and my first opportunity to really put myself out there. I will contact the other upcoming event coordinators and see if I can get similar fate at their shows too.

Until then I am erupting creative energy and trying to get as many paintings done in the next couple weeks as possible. It’s a bit exhausting however I know that hard work pays off. I am ready to push my brand and accelerate my art career into overdrive.

Thanks for reading and sorry for the long delays in between posts. Been a really busy spring! Stay tuned and if you haven’t signed up for the newsletter, WHATCHU WAITING FOR?

 

 

 

 

greetings from calgary

This weekend I am taking part in transforming peoples lives and setting goals. I am Staffing a PSI Basic Seminar and assisting in creating wealth and abundance for the students. This type of work is an exceptional tool to basically create ANYTHING you want in your life. It also gives people a new outlook on their programs and what drives their decision making.

I just signed up to staff two days ago and am already playing catch up to prepare myself for the seminar. I need to dress in formal attire and look professional.  Lucky I had two suits packed away in the van! Other than that I have to set a 30 day goal. I have to have clarity for what exactly I want to accomplish within that time frame. I have decided that I will have sold 4 inspirational paintings to PSI Seminars and have them displayed in the bunkhouses at the High Valley Ranch in Napa, CA.

(SOME OF MY RECENT ARTWORKS)

i love setting goals!

This goal is a stretch for me as I do not have an abundance of free time in the next 30 days. Good thing I enjoy challenges! I will be diligent with my time management and be focused on completing my goal. Today I am going to buy some art supplies and start one of the paintings. This goal is  a stepping stone for me. I want my brand to be a staple for PSI Seminars, I want to create something that resinates with every student who goes to the ranch. This would be extremely rewarding to me on a spiritual level. Having my art displayed for so many to see gives me goosebumps.

With that said, it’s time for me to make a move. I need to ground myself and let the creativity flow. Thanks for reading and stay tuned! Pictures to follow!

One Love, Jonny D

a music festival in paradise

Greetings from the great white North again! I’m coming to you from Dawson Creek, BC. I am back to grindstone after a week in Costa Rica where I attended one of the most transformational festivals on the planet.

I would be lying if I said it wasn’t one of the best festivals so far in my life. Everyone (including kids) should experience Envision at least once. It was an adventure I’ll never forget.

The event is home to the small town of Uvita, Costa Rica. Nestled in the jungle with very little change to the natural beauty of the land. Low environmental impact and sustainability were common practices for everyone at the festival. Many people from all over the globe came together to become one as the music filled the jungle air. The setting was perfect with golden coastlines and white sandy beaches only minutes from the event.

It was truly an exceptional venue with exquisite greenery and unique wildlife. One of the girls from our booth actually saw a real sloth dangling from a tree on her way to the beach one day! All in all I don’t have one bad thing to say about the location, the people or the experience.

the variety of envision

Amongst all the camping, stages and vendor booths there were also workshops and yoga tents. Some of the most educational discussions were part of envisions goal to help build awareness on certain subjects. They had speakers from all over the world come to share their stories or knowledge with anyone who wanted to listen.

The sacred movement tent was for yoga and mediation. Many people took part in these ceremonies as the minds and bodies get tired from overstimulation. There were many other art installations and performances that could keep your attention if ever at a loss.

I was impressed how well set up the venue was for navigating. There were signs everywhere pointing you in the right direction if ever lost. The event staff and the volunteers all did an exceptional job making the experience seamless and enjoyable.

Stages, music and production

Again I find myself completely satisfied with everything on the production side of this festival. From the incredible sound systems to the light shows and pyrotechnics, Envision has it all.

The stages alone are enough to blow your mind with the detail and amount of effort put into each one. Thats before the production team lights up the stage with projectors and completely change what you’re looking at. This is clearly the way of the future using light shows on 3d stages to create a digital feast for the eyes. Here’s the Luna stage with its green dragon coming alive for the crowd.

I want to thank the Liquid Dreams crew for inviting me to be a part of this amazing event and I can’t wait to do it again next year!

I need some sun!

Hey all, I’m coming to you from Edmonton, Alberta on this chilly morning. It’s been a hard winter working in northern Canada and living in my van. I think it’s time for a break, time to unwind and get my tan back!

Today I am flying to Costa Rica for the Envision festival. My friends at Liquid Dreams invited me to join them at the event to help set up a vending booth. Luckily my boss gave me a couple days off to attend the show.  This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I am proud to be a part of it, especially in the dead of winter.

The Envision Festival is a world leader in sustainability and low environmental impact. I am excited to see how this event compares to others in Canada and the US.

With close to 5,000 “envisionaries” attending the festival, I am eager to learn how they can sustain such a clean track record. This cultural movement is a reflection of spiritual connections and interpersonal growth. They have a mantra of “partying with a purpose” in their core values. And they want to continue their quest to enhance the natural beauty of the surrounding ecosystem. Giving back to the community in a way that creates strong bonds with the locals.

I leave Edmonton this evening and will not arrive in Costa Rica until tomorrow at 1130am. I am really excited to reunite with my friends and have some fun in the jungle! STAY TUNED, because I’ll be doing a follow up blog post after the festival to share some pictures and videos of the party.

*HINT* A really great way to keep up to Da PeaceTrain is to sign up for Da News Letter!!

You must check out this Aftermovie!!

OneLove

JD

OneLove

JD