Ways to Save On Accommodation While Traveling

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How in the world do you afford to travel the world full time?

This is a question that I get daily while on the road. While traveling can get expensive, especially the more high maintenance you are, there are many ways in which you can save while you are on the go.

If you break down the spending of a typical traveller, you will find that accommodation can easily be one of the highest costs. Even if you find a cheap hostel for $15 dollars a night, that is still $450 a month, which would be $5,400 for a year of travel.

There is an obvious amount of planning that you must do before going on your first long term trip, especially in regards working and saving.

Sorry to say it, but travel does not come for free (well, I guess some people find the way—where is my rich boyfriend?!—haha (joke)!

But seriously, many people look at my life on the road and see the amazing adventure that it is, but miss the story behind this exciting journey—the hard work, weekend shifts and gruelling overtime hours that I put in to make this dream become a reality.

If you make sacrifices while working and save, save, save, you can actually make it pretty far around the world on your savings if you just use your money wisely and try to save as much as you can on transportation, accommodation and entertainment.

And no, that does not mean sacrificing so much that you limit the amount of fun that you have…

Actually, it is the COMPLETE opposite… 

In this article I am going to share different ways of saving on accommodation, based on my own experience traveling extensively across more than half of the world (and still going).

Just a disclaimer: I have not tried out everything on this list (most, yes). However, I do have useful information from other travellers, which can be helpful for you if you decide to try them out.

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COUCHSURFING

 

Traveling the world and staying in the house of a complete stranger?

COUNT ME OUT!

Those were my own words when I heard about Couch Surfing back in 2013 when I first moved to Europe for the first time.

The concept seemed absolutely absurd and unsafe, but the more I looked into it, the more I realized that it was much more reliable and secure than what I had imagined.

Couch Surfing, Saudi Arabia

Couch Surfing, Saudi Arabia

If you are looking for a way to have a complete cultural immersion while traveling across the globe, and are willing to (at times) sacrifice a comfortable bed and your own personal space, then look no further than Couch Surfing.

I have been hosted by more than 250+ hosts over my years of traveling and I can tell you from first hand experience, it can be life changing!

Couch Surfing is a website with millions of users from all over the world that connects local people with travellers. As a traveler, you are able to send out a request to meet up or stay in the home of a local person or family, with no cost.

I can already hear you saying—but that sounds WAY too risky!

Everything in life comes with a risk, but the good thing is that Couch Surfing gives the options of users to go through a verification process, and you can choose a host based on if they have gone through this process or not. It is very similar to the concept of staying in a shared space on Airbnb, but the difference is that there is no cost.

Having the option to choose hosts based on their references has been so helpful and it is the main way in which I go about choosing who I stay with. I can honestly say that with all of the safety measures that I have taken with Couch Surfing over the years, I have never had any dangerous situation happen to me while using it (and I am always alone).

Couch Surfing has truly changed the way in which I see the world and has introduced me to some of the most incredible and hospitable people.

AIRBNB

 

As an earlier traveler, I mostly used Couch Surfing, but that has gradually changed over the years and now my #1 pick is AIRNB.

While Couch Surfing is AMAZING, there is still an underlying obligation to hang out with your host and to organize yourself around his or her schedule.

My travels around the world have completely changed over the years. When I started I was living off my savings, doing some random odd jobs in between trips, but nothing while I was actually traveling. However, travel is now my lifestyle and I am doing everything that I would normally do at home, (like work full time) on the road from my computer.

View from my Airbnb in Colombia

View from my Airbnb in Colombia

Airbnb gives me that option of a cultural immersion and contact with local people, but obviously with a price. While it is nice to hang out with my host, I do not have those guilty feelings that I tend to have with my Couch Surfing host when I am not able to hang out.

There are many options with Airbnb, from renting a private room in a house (which is what I do most of the time in order to meet locals) or renting a full apartment or house.

There are some INCREDIBLE options available, from very affordable to extremely expensive.

Get up to $37 off your first AIRNNB experience if you are a new user by clicking here.

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HOSTELS

 

Hostels are most young backpackers first option. Many popular hostels are generally centrally located, in areas in which hotels would be triple the price and it is an easy environment to meet other like minded travellers.

I must admit, I have not stayed in many hostels, although some of them that I have stayed in were quite neat.

The reason that I do not stay in hostels is because I work full time on the road and I absolutely need my space and privacy. I do not like sharing a space with a large amount of people and will stay wide awake at night to even the slightest sound of snoring.

Hostels are a great option for solo travellers, but if you need privacy like I do, then there are still options out there to meet people.

After comparing the prices, I have found in many places that a centrally located private room in a house with Airbnb is often the same price as a bed in a shared 8 person room in a hostel.

Yeah, that is nice, but I travel alone and I want to meet other people, I hear you saying….

If you decide to stay in a private room near a popular hostel, you still have the option of visiting there. Many established hostels have a small restaurant or area where you can have a coffee, which is a great option if you want to want to pay a visit and socialize, without actually staying there.

In many hostels they have the option to buy a private room for a higher price, which can be very useful, especially if you are traveling with your romantic partner. The price for one person will be much higher than some hotels or Airbnb options, but if you are traveling with another person, it will come out much more affordable.

BED & BREAKFAST

 

I really enjoy a nice bed & breakfast, especially when I travel to more rural places. From time to time, I like to look for a place that is a bit more cozy and traditional, further away from the city, with a nice chimney and views of the nature.

I love the idea of supporting the local community and the great part about this option is that they are private family homes. Some of them can be very nice and at a fraction of the price of a hotel.

This is a shared environment, so it is a good and friendly place to meet other people. You typically have a shared home made breakfasts with other travellers. It can be a very unique experience!

Highly recommended!

HOTELS

 

My favorite website to search for hotels is booking.com

I love the way in which I can filter exactly what I am looking for and organize it according to my budget and needs.

There are countless options available out there for reasonably priced hotels, ranging from very basic to higher end.

Staying in hotels gives you the complete flexibility to come and go as you want and the convenience of 24/7 front desk assistance to help you in case of an emergency.

 

HOUSE OR PET SITTING

 

How could a stranger ever trust a random stranger to watch over their home or pet while gone?

Many seasoned travellers like to leave their homes and go to another part of the world, especially during colder months, but often have no one to take care of their house, water their plants, feed the fish or take care of the yard. Others would love to travel with their animal, but the place they are visiting does not allow them.

In these situations, people are desperate to find someone to stay in their house and watch over things while they are gone.  It would give you that once in a life time opportunity to live and travel to a cool place, rent free!

Some websites that allow you to search for this kind of opportunity: 

https://www.trustedhousesitters.com ($60 annual fee)
https://www.housecarers.com ($55 annual fee)
https://www.mindmyhouse.com ($20 annual fee)

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FRIENDS OR FRIENDS OF FRIENDS

 

Have you ever became good friends with a foreigner that came to visit or live for a period of time in your city? Or do you know a friend from school or college that has family or friends in another country?

Maybe you have no direct connection to people abroad, but if you look around, I am sure you can find someone that does.

Do not be afraid to ask others for their connections.

I am so grateful for all of the amazing people, especially through social media, that have connected me over the years with their friends and family around the world, which were obviously complete strangers to me at first.

You just never know what kind of connections people have.

There are so many eager people all around the world that would love to have you as a guest during a summer stay, or might even know of a job that you could do for a few months, giving you the opportunity to see a new culture and get some international work experience.

Facebook has SO many active groups and even by reaching out on there, you can find people that would love to help you out. When I travel to a country, I like to join different Facebook groups beforehand and connect with people living in that country in order to make new friends, get travel information and see the latest that everyone is saying in reference to news and updates there.

WORK AWAY / HELPX

 

This is an excellent option if you are looking to live abroad and stay and work in one set place. This option typically provides you with accommodation and food in exchange to working a certain amount of hours a day. However, I have met many people that have found paid jobs or a free job eventually turned into something paid. There are many opportunities available out there, so it is just a matter of doing some research.

Understand that not everything you find advertised is as good as it seems and like everything else, there are some obvious dangers.

Read the reviews people who have worked there, communicate by video before hand with the owners and share your plan, work address and any detail possible with your family members and friends.

Remember, you are going to do work in exchange for a place to stay and some food.

That DOES NOT mean that you are their slave and that you should be working all day, without free time. Before going, make an agreement (written if you can) on your working conditions, hours and what is included, so that there is no confusion when you arrive!

Some helpful websites: 

https://www.helpx.net
https://www.workaway.info

WOOFING

 

Woofing is an organization that helps to connect anyone who is interested in learning about organic farming and are not afraid to get their hands dirty.

They offer free accommodation and food in order to stay and work on a farm and learn all there is to learn about organic farming from first hand experience. Although I have never done (or plan to) do this, I have heard from other travellers in my path that it is a neat experience that allows you to learn a new skill, sometime a language and gives you the opportunity to live in a new country.

Just like I mentioned on Workaway, you must be careful and selective with who you work for, have an agreement, check the references and understand that you have the right to your own free time after your set working hours are done.

WOOFING is available in all of the continents around the world, (well, except Antartica).

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AU PAIR

 

This was my first gig when I moved abroad in 2013 to live in Spain. I had no idea what being an Au pair was when I first discovered it, but I quickly realized it was a job that suited me and was a perfect way to get my foot in the door to getting a visa and finally living my dream of moving to Europe.

If you are wondering what an Au pair is, it is basically like a really cool foreign babysitter (female or male) that typically teaches a foreign language.

When I moved to Spain, I moved in the home with a family with a 5 year old daughter named Laura in Zaragoza, Spain. I took her to and from school, played games with her, went on their family vacation and was basically like a big sister to her. The family wanted her to get get a culturally enriching experience as a young girl and also to have the opportunity to learn and practice English on a daily basis.

Every situation is different, but typically you will get an allowance ($300-600) a month, along with free food and accommodation.

Obviously, not every family will be a match for you, which is why it is important to talk and video call them as many times as possible before making a big move across the world.

However, if the situation ends up being a total disaster, you are not stuck (which is a fear that holds many people back from doing it).

If you find out after a period of time that the family is NOT a match, you can easily find something new once you are there, through word of mouth, local Facebook groups etc.

I mention this due to my own personal experience. I left my original family after 3 months to do something different. Sometimes things do not go the way you had originally planned and that is OK!

I highly recommend checking out reputable websites and reviewing all the different profiles available.

There are so many options to choose from.

Click here to visit the website that I used to find my first family in Spain: Au Pair World 

CAMPING

 

I will admit, I am not a traveler that tends to camp, especially if I am alone (well, unless it is in the desert or in an absolutely beautiful place).

The more I travel, the more I meet travellers that only camp on a daily basis. If you are traveling during warm months of the year and you love the outdoors, then camping is a great and affordable option.

Camping in the Desert in Oman

Camping in the Desert in Oman

Not only will you save money, but you will get the opportunity to have a unique experience outside of the busy, populated cities.

It is important to check the restrictions in each place because it is actually prohibited in many places around the world.

If you get caught, there are very hefty fines!

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OVERNIGHT TRANSPORTATION

 

Over night transportation is quite amazing, especially in places like South East Asia. If you are trying to see as much as possible in a short amount of time, without waisting a minute, this is your option.

In Asia, for example, many busses have beds with curtains, plug ins and blankets/pillows.

I was first introduced to this while traveling to Sapa in the north of Vietnam. It was unbelievably comfortable and I slept just as good there as I would in regular bed.

Over night trains are also an excellent option (and super comfortable). I did my first over night train in Thailand and it only cost me around $10!

Again, you have a full bed with a complementary blanket and a pillow.

Any chance I get to travel by night I do so. I love the feeling of arriving in a place and not losing a single hour time of day time.

RENTING A CAR OR VAN

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If you will be traveling in one country for a long period of time, then renting a van or RV could be a good option. This will give you the flexibility to freely visit places and not have to deal with spending time looking for accommodation.

Keep in mind, if you cross the border into another country in a rental vehicle, there is often times an additional charge. If you forget to mention it to the company, they might charge you an additional $1.000 penalty- no exaggeration! 

If you are traveling for a short time and have a small budget, you could rent a bigger car and convert it into a place to sleep. I have met many travellers, especially in Europe, that are camping in their cars in order to save money.

This gives them the flexibility to sleep for a few hours and then keep driving, so they do not lose any of their precious time.

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SILENT RETREATS

 

Can you believe that I spent 20 days of my life in complete silence, without any electronics or social media?!

Well, neither can I!

If you are looking for an option that will give you a break from the chaotic and loud world,  then a silent retreat is an option worth looking into.

I did my first 10 day Vipassana silent retreat back in 2016 in India.

You must register in advance because the spaces fill up FAST in most places. The retreat is free of charge (with food and accommodation included).

You are served the whole 10 days by volunteers that give up their lives in order to help you have a life changing experience. With that said, you SHOULD tip at the end. The amount you leave is up to you, but considering that you do not pay to be there, the least you can do is give a good tip.

I also did another 10 day silent retreat in Thailand, called Suan Mokkh.

It was very similar to Vipassana, but involves daily yoga, chanting and group meditation.

I highly recommend both of them, especially Suan Mokkh.

You must keep in mind that this is NOT for the weak of heart. It is very difficult and it will push you way past your limits.

Did I mention that there was no eating after 12 in the afternoon?

Yeah….

You might want to consider the living conditions before you commit.

  • No talking
  • No eye contact with others
  • No caffeine
  • Separation from males (obviously no sex)
  • No smoking or drugs
  • No electronics
  • No reading
  • No exercise (Vipassana)

It is a difficult experience, but if I can sit in silence for 20 days of my life with the active mind that I have, then anyone can!

MONASTERY STAYS

 

If you want a very unique experience, with direct communication and quality time with the nuns, then try staying at a monastery!

I truly enjoyed my experience staying with them. It was unlike any experience that I have had until now!

In each place that I stayed, the nuns did a nightly biblical lesson and sang songs. It is far from a luxurious stay, but the memories you will take away have no price tag.

Typically the accommodation comes with just a hard bed and desk, with simple meals prepared by the nuns.

The location depends on how much you will spend per night, but you can find anything from $5-50 in most places.

Helpful website: www.monasterystays.com

 

HOUSE SWAPPING

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This may be WAY outside of your comfort zone, but this type of experience DOES exist (it is not just in the movies!)

While I have never done it, I think it is a fantastic opportunity!

It will give you the chance to share your life, home and resources with someone else, as well as give you a mutual experience in a distinct place around the world.

You just NEVER know, maybe you will find a new lifestyle that fits you better than your own in another place.

Useful website: www.homeexchange.com

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BUS STATIONS OR AIRPORTS

I mention this as an option only for a one night stay if you arrive late to a destination or you have a very early morning flight the next day and it does not make much financial sense to get a room for just a few hours.

Many places (especially airports) have security and even free wifi. Bus stations can be a bit dangerous depending where you are, so do not let your guard down.

I have stayed in many airports (few bus stations) in my trips. This ensures me that I do not miss my flight or have to take a late night taxi to arrive to a 0400 am flight.

 

What ways do you save on accommodation?

Connect with me on Instagram: 1nomadicdreamer and share!

 

 

Don’t forget to also check out: 

5 IMPORTANT THINGS I HAVE LEARNED DURING SELF QUARANTINE

IS SOLO TRAVELING WEST AFRICA WORTH THE EXPERIENCE?

SURVIVING MALARIA COMPLETELY ALONE IN LIBERIA

 

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Sarah - thenomadicdreamer.comWays to Save On Accommodation While Traveling
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Suan Mokkh: 10 Day Silent & Meditation Retreat in Thailand

When people think about traveling through South East Asia, the first thought that typically comes to mind is the idea of pristine beaches, wild parties, elephants, delicious exotic food, beautiful women, and unique temples. Many eager travelers from all across the world flock to Thailand each and every year to get a little taste of their paradise, at a price that will blow your mind!
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After an amazing month of traveling throughout Thailand, immersing myself in their culture, meeting all kinds of amazing people, exploring the islands, and even attending one of the craziest parties on Earth, the Full Moon Party, I started to feel a strong connection to the country and their easy-going way of life.
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My whole experience couldn’t have been more epic…

However, just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, life threw a huge curveball…..

On the morning of the Full Moon Party, I woke up extra early in order to explore the island of Ko Samui by motorcycle before making my way later in the evening to the next island, Ko Phangan. My perfect day of exploring the island turned tragic in the blink of any eye when my driver suddenly lost control of our bike and sent us both flying across the highway and crashing directly into the cement.
The intense impact caused both of our helmets to go flying and we both suffered serious injuries. We were taken 45 minutes away by ambulance to the closest hospital and from there all of our plans completely changed.
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This unfortunate situation truly opened my eyes and helped me to see how fragile life really is and how EVERYTHING can change in just a blink of an eye.

After my accident, I was told by the doctor that I would not be able to travel for a period of time, especially the way that I was used to traveling. I was only 2 weeks into my 5 months long trip through Asia and this news was a huge shock and disappointment to me.
Instead of losing hope, I decided to find the positive in the situation and explore the few options that I could do in Thailand with a collarbone that was broken in half. After the x-ray, the doctor told me that an operation was not necessary and informed me that if I take a couple of weeks off with no movement, I could later continue traveling (later I found out that was NOT true).
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It was in a moment of desperation that I found a 10-day silent/meditation retreat called Suan Mokkh just a few hours from I was located at that time. Most retreats require pre-registration, but this one was on a first-come, first-serve basis and was only a week away from starting.
I just KNEW that this unique experience was meant to be!
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I had previously done a 10-day retreat called Vipassana in India which absolutely changed my life, but Suan Mokkh was a whole different type of experience, combining different styles of meditation (sitting, walking, group) and yoga.
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The experience seemed suitable for me in my crippled state, so without a second thought, I packed my bags and headed to Suratthani Thailand to embark on an adventure that would continue to test my human limits and force me mentally to the next level.
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My mind was a crazy, uncontrolled disaster upon entering into Suan Mokkh.

I felt wild and untamable…..

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All of my thoughts were going in different directions. I spent hours a day worrying about my previous collarbone injury, wondering how I would manage to stay in Thailand with my situation, and not to forget to mention, the INTENSE pain I was experiencing because of this.
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As if that were not enough, I felt an additional overwhelming sense of stress related to work assignments, social media, and collaborations that I was completely behind on. As much as I was excited to take on a new challenge, I felt totally incapable of disconnected from the world and entering into a totally silent world, with no electronics for 10 whole days!  

WHAT IS SUAN MOKKH? 

 
Suan Mokkh is a monastery located far out in the middle of nature, where many monks live and study. Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, which means “Servant of Buddha,” is the one that founded this magical place in 1989. Since then, thousands of people all over the world have been able to visit, live, and have a powerful spiritual experience.
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As a guest, I was able to live with the monks for 10 full days, in a stress free atmosphere, surrounded by nothing more than other international mediators, monks, and the calming sound of nature all around me.
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Suan Mokkh is a magical location, that attracts more than 1000 foreigners each and every year. The experience can be a very powerful and life-changing one, but it is not easy. In fact, many of the mediators never actually make it to the end to experience the sense of satisfaction you can feel from disconnecting with the world and reconnecting without yourself for 10 full days in silence.

RULES

  • No talking or nonverbal communication for 10 full days.
  • Zero Electronics (includes: cell phone, Ipods, cameras, computers, video games, radio, etc.)
  • No personal books (you may read books that they have assigned during break time after day three).
  • No sexual activity (including masturbation).
  • No alcohol, drugs, caffeine, or tobacco.
  • No snacks
  • No shared rooms (males and females in separate buildings).
  • No meals after noon time (2 vegetarian meals/day + 1 drink in the evening).
  • No shoes in meditation hall, rooms, or kitchen.

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NOTE: This retreat is not for the weak-minded.

I can tell you from personal experience that it can be a total shock to the body and could possibly cause you moments of severe anxiety, especially if you have any sort of addictions (caffeine, cigarettes, etc).

Keep in mind that all of the comforts that one tends to have on a normal day to day basis, such as eating 3-5 meals, sleeping in a comfortable bed, sleeping in until late, freedom to talk and interact with others, are COMPLETELY monitored and restricted.

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If you keep your mind open and embrace the changes around you, it can be a transformative experience.

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

 

Registration is done in person on the last day of the previous month by 3 pm. The option is available to sleep there the night before registration (free of charge) in order to ensure your spot in the retreat.

Location: Suratthani, Thailand.

Cost: 2,000 baht (non refundable) = $65.00

Language: All Dhamma lessons are taught ONLY in English.

It is very important to have a good level of English if you want to get the most out of the daily lessons. In fact, it’s possible that they will refuse your application if you do not speak English, due to the importance of actively listening to the teachings given each day.

Arriving: The cheapest way to get there is by bus from Suratthani.  Mention that you want to get off at Wat Suan Mokkh and the driver will lead you there for around 50 Baht  ($1.45).

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WHAT TO TAKE

 

The retreat is located far out into the woods and mosquitos are a HUGE annoyance. Mosquito nets are provided on-site, but you should load up on repellent and take socks (even if it’s hot) to serve as extra protection against them.

It’s mandatory to wear loose-fitting, non-see-through clothing. Anything that draws attention to your body, such as open shoulder shirts or short shorts are prohibited and you will quickly be advised to change your clothes.

All bucket showers must be done modesty, with a sarong placed around you, which they will provide free of charge on day one.

They have a small store available in the cafeteria with everything that you might possibly need, such as sanitary products, first aid, toilet paper, repellent, toothpaste, shampoo, etc.

The heat during the day can be quite intense, so it’s important to stay hydrated. There are many places on-site that you can fill up your water bottle with fresh water, so don’t forget to pack a big bottle to carry with you at all times.

Keep in mind that you will be required to walk in the night and early morning, so carrying a headlamp or flashlight can be helpful. If you do not have one, they will provide you with a lantern.

You will not be required your phone as a flashlight like you normally do!

 

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————-WHAT TO EXPECT—————

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REGISTRATION

After making your payment, they will do a short one on one interview with you and ask you questions regarding any past mediation experience you have had. They like to get this information because you will be asked to focus solely on the techniques you learn in Suan Mokkh. They also ask that you don’t openly combine other practices that you have learned in the past, which might be a distraction others around you.

After the interview, you will be asked to store all of your electronics away and prepare for our first group talk, which will clearly indicate the rules and expectations of the retreat.

CHORES

In the registration process, you will be required to choose a chore that you will be required to do on a daily basis during the full 10 days.  There are different options available, from sweeping the dorms, washing the tables after lunch, to cleaning the bathrooms. The earlier you arrive on registration day, the better your chances are of picking a chore that you enjoy.

I was assigned the task of sweeping outside the dorms multiple times a day and believe it or not, I actually enjoyed my time sweeping in silence. I turned my duty into a form of working meditation and found a lot of peace in the experience.

MEALS

Mealtime was hands down my favorite time of the day.

Before each meal, we listened to a small message from our instructor, followed by a short meditation that we were instructed to read out loud in order to ground and focus us before and during our mealtime.

All meals are 100% vegetarian and absolutely delicious! The food was very tasty and the serving sizes were quite large, normally allowing enough for seconds.

After about 1 pm, we were required to fast until 8:00 am the next day.

While this might seem impossible for most people, especially if you have never fasted a day in your life, you will most likely be surprised about how your hunger tends to diminish when your body gets used to skipping a few meals.

In the evening, a drink will be provided, which might include hot tea, hot chocolate, or coconut water.

SLEEPING

I entered the meditation retreat with a collarbone that was broken in half, so my sleeping situation was quite complicated.

You will be required to sleep on a concrete bed, with a hard, wooden pillow. It’s very uncomfortable for someone without a broken bone, so just imagine how it must’ve felt with a broken bone to lay on.

If you fear bugs and spiders, you will need to overcome that on day one.

While I didn’t see many creatures entering my room in the night, I know many others had awful problems with them. I heard many random screams in the night from other meditators due to spiders and large bugs entering into their bed.

As I mentioned before, mosquito nets are provided, so that does help to protect creatures from crawling inside.

 

DAILY SCHEDULE

 

0400- WAKE UP BY MONASTERY BELL

0430- MORNING READING

0445- SITTING IN SILENCE MEDITATION

0515 YOGA AND EXERCISE

0700- MEDITATION AND DHAMMA TALK

0800- BREAKFAST AND CHORES

1000- DHAMMA TALK

1100- WALKING OR STANDING MEDITATION

1145- SITTING MEDITATION

1230- LUNCH AND CHORES

1430: SITTING MEDITATION

1530: WALKING OR STANDING MEDITATION

1615: SITTING MEDITATION

1700: CHANTING & LOVING KINDNESS MEDITATION

1800: TEA TIME & HOT SPRINGS (OPTIONAL)

1930: SITTING MEDITATION

2000: GROUP WALKING MEDITATION AROUND THE POND

2030: SITTING MEDITATION

2100: PREPARE FOR BED

2130: TIME FOR BED

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DID I REALLY ENJOY MY EXPERIENCE?

My experience at Suan Mokkh was unbelievable! I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to stay there and grow in the ways in which I did. It’s an experience that I will carry in my heart for as long as I live.

It was not easy at all for me, even having had previous experience with a similar 10 day retreat year back. However, I left the retreat feeling very grounded and truly shaped from the inside out. Personal growth and development is not an easy thing. This experience made me feel like I was going to pull my hair out at times, but I truly believe in the quote:

No pain, no gain. 

The sense of satisfaction I felt making it to the end was something that cannot be put into words. Many people in my retreat dropped out early on, but I worked through the pain and discomfort and finished what I started.

I still cannot believe that I have spent 20 full days of my life in total silence!

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PERSONAL PREFERENCE: SUAN MOKKH OR VIPASANNA?

 

Both meditation retreats are unique in their own special way, but if I had to choose one, it would be Suan Mokkh.

What I loved about my experience there was the variety of meditation styles and the opportunity to practice yoga each and every morning as the sun came up. It was magical!

I believe there is a strong connection between the mind and body movements.  Having the chance to meditate, while exercising and walking, opened my eyes up to a whole new aspect of meditation.

In Vipassana, we were expected to sit all day, incorporating absolutely no form of exercise.

I love to move my body and I find a better connection to the universe and myself with I implement yoga and walking into my meditation practice. One of the neatest experiences I had in Suan Mokkh was the nightly group waking mediation around the pond.

The sound of bugs filled the air as we circled barefoot around the pond in total silence. The peace I felt in those moments is something that can’t be put into words.

The sky was clear and filled with thousands of stars. It was truly one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever had.

MY MAIN LESSON LEARNED

There are so many lessons that I learned from spending another 20 full days of my life in complete silence. Slowing down my pace, disconnecting and reconnecting within my heart and soul allowed me to deeply reflect on my life, blessings, and relationships.

Being away from all materialistic possessions and distractions of the world allowed me to learn more about myself in a more intimate way and fall deeper in love with who I am.

Slowing down allowed me time to generate more love and respect for the others around me find more appreciation for nature.

I felt greatly connected with the present moment and free to release the barriers that were holding me back in the past and the fears that I had for the future. I learned, through practice, how to focus on the breath and meditate focusing strictly on that.

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HAPPY & SATISFIED GROUP AFTER 10 DAYS OF PURE SILENCE…..

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