The Weekly 010 – The First of 2023!

It’s a little late, but here we are. The first weekly of the year, and hopefully the catalyst to what will be a successful year (my definition of success) for Explore Stronger, adventure, photography, and travel.

I daren’t wish you a happy new year, especially given that we’re 17 days in. But I hope the start of the year has been good to you, and even if it hasn’t we’ve got a lot of time to course correct!

A snowy Moel Siabod just before Christmas 2022.

What’s new?

Well, I’m currently in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind start to the year if I am honest. And I cannot believe that January is nearly over.

I saw the New Year whilst getting crushed at a street party in Kathmandu. Despite how hectic and busy Kathmandu is, there’s a weird allure and charm that it has. It’s definitely a place, and a country, I’ll be revisiting in the future.

It was nice to have some downtime in Kathmandu after spending 18 days up in the mountains in the Khumbu region. There’s been a lot of interest in the trek I did whilst in Nepal, and I promise that there will be multiple articles coming to help you digest it all and hopefully inspire you to get a flight to Nepal. Patience.

…or procrastination. A bit of both.

I spent the first week of January on client calls, setting up new training programs, and getting my clients ready for January. It was a fun week being surrounded by those wanting to achieve big things this year and it was inspiring to hear people’s goals for the year ahead.

Alongside this, I just had some downtime wandering the bustling streets of Thamel, getting back into training after losing 6-7kg whilst trekking, and setting my own goals and plans for the year ahead.

Gokyo Lakes, Nepal.

Personal Goals for 2023

I think writing these down here will be good for me to look back on and see how close we can get to them providing the daily and weekly actions are done to achieve them.

They might also serve as some personal inspiration for your own goals and ambitions for the year.

Health & Fitness

– 200 workouts
– 300 days hitting step goal
– 52 climbing sessions
– Complete Project Three Six (A mental, slightly stupid, definitely stupid personal challenge)
– Climb more than 1 6000m peak (Part of the above)

Business (Kinda? Not sure what else to label it as)

– Publish at least 100 articles
– Increase page views to 5000 monthly
– Work with at least 5 brands for my photography
– Help 100+ people get into the shape of their life

Kathmandu at Sunset.

Next stop: Thailand ??

The second stop on the ‘Fuck it, let’s sell everything for one last stint around the world 2.0’ is Thailand.

I had many mixed emotions and feelings about Thailand and honestly, didn’t know what to expect when coming here. I’d heard a lot of mixed things and honestly, I was slightly apprehensive that it wouldn’t be for me.

However, a flight from Kathmandu to Bangkok was the logical next step in the travel and Thailand is most definitely the entry point to traveling South East Asia.

Bangkok, in short, is absolutely mental. It’s a sprawling mega-city that has everything and anything you could need or ever want. It quite literally has everything here.

Culture, temples, markets, nightlife, adult playgrounds, malls bigger than Rhyl, restaurants, and cafes. EVERYTHING. You could easily spend 6 months here and not get bored; if city life was for you.

However, it’s not for me so it was only a whistle-stop for 6 days before heading north to Chiang Mai.

However, whilst in Bangkok, I managed to explore Chinatown, see real-life dinosaurs in Lumphini park, watch a live venom extraction, explore the night market and offload all of my now not needed trekking gear from Nepal to my Dad before his flight home.

Asian water monitor with his dinner.

Heading North to Chiang Mai

I actually wasn’t sure if I was going to stay in Thailand, or head south and into Indonesia for a little bit. That was due to my apprehensive about me not enjoying Thailand, but after a few days in Bangkok I actually really enjoyed it and the Thai people are wonderful.

Going North was the next logical step rather than leaving SE Asia and going completely off route. North means that my travel through Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam will be much easier, and cheaper.

There are two ways to get to Chiang Mai. Overland or by air.

Both have their perks, and both have their downsides.

That said, I chose to go by air. Mainly because the train/bus was 12-14hrs and cost ~¬£30 and the plane? The same price, but only an hour’s flight. For me, sitting on a bus for that long is a BIG no, unless the cost disparity is enormous.

Chiang Mai is the second largest city in Thailand and the largest in the north. A digital nomad hub and a gateway to the Thai Highlands. A perfect spot for adventure and at a slice of the cost of Bangkok.

On first impressions, and having only been here a couple of days, Chiang Mai is beautiful. It doesn’t have a big city vibe but has everything a city can offer. Amazing coffee shops, bars, restaurants, and everything you’d need. But kinda on a small scale so doesn’t feel overwhelming big, or busy.

But the main reason for being here is being so close to the mountains, waterfalls, and endless adventures.

Wat Pha Lat, Chiang Mai.

The Monk’s Trail – Doi Suthep

Accidently I had booked a nice hotel that was on the right side of town to be able to get to the first hike of the week in fairly easily.

A 5-mile out-and-back trail following the footsteps of the monks, past, and present. The trail winds through the jungle and up the side of the mountain to two temples:

– Wat Phra That
– Wat Pha Lat

The trail was easy to follow, especially given it’s one of the more popular hikes in Chiang Mai. Especially the first temple, Wat Pha Lat.

Supposedly the resting place for the monks of the bygone ages, before hiking through to the summit of Doi Suthep and to the bigger, more impressive temple of Wat Phra That.

First hike of the new year, and a drastic change to the temperatures in the Himalayas. I think it was -25 degrees in Gokyo, but the hike to Doi Suthep, a measly 27 degrees.

Bamboo lined stairway, Chiang Mai.
Wat Thra That, Chiang Mai.

On to the next…

I think that’s pretty much everything covered to catch up to where we are today.

The plan for the next week or so is to get back into writing, publish some articles, hike to some waterfalls, continue to work behind the scenes on the Shred and continue helping people get into the best shape of their lives without the industry bullshit and continue ticking off goals for the week.

Thanks to those that nudged me and asked if I was going to be writing on this trip, and the answer is yes. I’m just trying to find the best place to write, and ensure it’s something I can do consistently.

This year I really want to push this as far as it can go. As a platform for my adventures, for my photography and to answer the endless:

“Where’s this mate?”

Questions I get whenever I post something remotely interesting on IG. I love it, so I want to go one step further and help you bookmark and plan your adventures for 2023 and beyond.

Explore Strong.

A snowy Moel Siabod, 2022.
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8 Replies to “The Weekly 010 – The First of 2023!”

  1. Great piece Lou! Happy new year to you

    1. Thanks Ally, really appreciate you saying so!

  2. Great read and this has really inspired me to look at the monks trail. Those temples look amazing.

    1. Thanks, Curtis. If you’re into temples then SE Asia has them in abundance mate. Some really impressive structures here.

  3. Kristopher James Bennet says: Reply

    Photos look amazing mate… well done and living the dream! actually living the dream right there.

    1. Haha thank you, mate. I might be living someone else’s dream. But my dream is, and always has been, living off the grid inside the Norweigan arctic circle with nothing but a log burner and a pack of huskies!

      Hope you’re well my man.

  4. Awesome Lou! Love the goal setting, ever need your own coach if you get stuck, you know where I am! Travels and adventures look breath taking its a great read, keep up the hard work!

    1. Thanks, Emma! And thanks for coming over and reading the journey. Appreciate you!

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