Sabbatical Part II by the Numbers

Co-written by Rana and Trent

(As you read the following, please imagine that Rana and Trent are speaking in an overly serious tone, wearing starched white lab coats, supported by a PowerPoint presentation filled with impressive looking gibberish.)

In order to give you, our blog readers, the very best possible reading experience, we are excited to announce that we have developed several objective, scientific tools to precisely measure key elements of our sabbatical. These tools and indices use cutting edge technology and the latest and greatest advancements in gobbledygook and hogwash.  They are based upon numerous unshakable principles such as our momentary whims and recent alcohol intake.

Without further ado, we present the much exalted TBI, RBI, and RBBI (not to be confused with the other RBI).

The TBI is Trent’s Beer Index.  It’s the price of a local draft beer, such as Chang, Leo, Tiger or Coopers, in a local bar.

Of course, it was essential to have a large sample size.  So we selflessly drank a bunch of beer for the benefit of you, our blog readers.  I think the take-away message is ‘damn! beer is cheap in Southeast Asia’.  But I can’t really know for sure without a few more data points.  I’m off to the bar to collect some more data. Here’s the TBI in roughly chronological order.

  • Thailand (Bangkok): 100 Baht ($3 USD) Wow! That’s cheap!
  • Thailand (outside Bangkok): 50-70 Baht ($2 USD). Even Cheaper?! Yay!
  • Vietnam: 20,000 VND ($1 USD) Way Cheap.
  • Cambodia: $1 USD ($1 USD) Way Cheap.
  • Singapore: $15 SPD ($12 USD) Holy Cow!  That’s expensive!
  • Australia: $10 AUD ($8 USD) ‘Normal’ Price
  • Laos: 10,000 Kip ($1.20 USD) Happy to be back in Asia!

Although Trent’s Beer Index offers enough data to help you budget adequately for any trip to this side of the world, we offer up even more data! We are data geeks, even in our real lives.

The RBI is Rana’s Bed Index. Because although the price of beer is important, unless you drink enough to pass out in a bathtub every night (and who knows, some of you may be way younger than us, so this might be a realistic option), you will want to have the RBI on hand as well.

  • Thailand (most places): Medium to Firm. Ok, I can sleep here. It’s no Sleep Number but it will do.
  • Thailand (Phuket): Soft as a sheep’s butt. I’ve landed in cloud heaven. I need a stool to get into this bed and a rope to pull myself out! Yahoo!
  • Vietnam: Thud. Kill me now. You expect me to sleep on this 1″ granite mattress??? I guess we will be layering the bed with the couch cushions (which we did). Doubling over the comforters did nothing.
  • Cambodia: Medium to Firm. Anything is an improvement from Vietnam. And the welcome message was a nice bonus!
  • Singapore: Medium. Perfectly legit. I wouldn’t expect anything less from this country.
  • Australia (campervan): Hey, it’s still better than Vietnam.
  • Laos: Plush. Who knew they slept so well in this little country? Love it!


Before we left for our time abroad, our parents told us over and over “be careful.” And of course we have been. But there have been some bumps and bruises along the way.

So this is Rana’s Bumps and Bruises Index. Note: No one died in the collecting of this data, although I may have told Trent I was dying while it was happening.

  • Thailand (everywhere): food poisoning. Although Trent never got sick (stomach of steel), I found myself gassy or nauseous or worse on more than one occasion, but only ever in Thailand. In fact, I spent the better part of January in close proximity to a toilet. I eventually went vegetarian and the issue resolved itself. However, Thai food is still da bomb.
  • Chiang Mai, Thailand: 1) foot strained while shopping for too long in the wrong shoes. 2) yoga injuries sustained after doing yoga every day for two weeks. There is such a thing as too much stretching apparently.
  • Vietnam: toe wound sustained during pedicure. Seriously. And it took forever to heal!
  • Thailand (islands): 1) multiple leg bruises sustained during standard on and off motion on motorbike. 2) leg scraped on rocky road during accidental off-roading adventure when bike fell on me. 3) cut heel on ocean coral
  • Chiang Rai, Thailand: Fell in a waterfall and sustained enormous bruise on butt and thigh. I wish I was kidding. Here is the waterfall.
  • Cambodia: Safe and sound. I should spend more time here.
  • Singapore: toe fracture from banging toe on this bunk bed ladder (this has been the worst by far. It still isn’t healed after one month). Below is the metal bunk bed I kicked to earn this injury.
  • Australia: deep tissue arm bruise while getting in a car. No, it wasn’t a crocodile or giant spider that got me.
  • Bangkok: eye injury from water gun during Songkran (ie. New Year’s).
  • Laos: Leg bruises from massage. Again, I can’t make this stuff up. She was strong!

So, how does one interpret this data? Easy. Go where the beer is cheap, the bed is soft enough, and the masseuses aren’t trying to kill you. The beer will numb the pain from all your injuries. So Thailand wins!

2 thoughts on “Sabbatical Part II by the Numbers

  1. Your deeply serious, statistically sound, fully researched rating systems will be presented at the World Science and Travel Association Meeting in May.

    In the meantime, I’m having another drink or two at home where booze is free because it’s already been paid for. Then I’ll head up to the most wonderful, comfortable, cozy bed ( it had better be. We shopped long and hard, and we spent enough!) With no bumps and bruises…And I’m laughing my head off over your blog.

    We’ve read blogs on FREEDOM, lessons learned, spectacular adventures, inspiring people….And I’m overjoyed that you two are still making life FUN!

    Next round is on me…….

    Liked by 1 person

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