Did you ever have to make a brochure or travel guide for Elementary Geography class? I did. I remember loving projects like those and telling myself, at age 8 or so, that I would travel to all the places I researched for class assignments.
Fast forward to 20 years later: I moved to Thailand for a year, then moved back to Atlanta for 2 years, then back to Thailand with the love of my life, Joey, and my mother with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s. We have lived here for about 3 years. I know. It seems crazy that I up and left my home in Atlanta to the exact opposite side of the world. But hear me out:
I had been working at a school in Atlanta for 5 years and although I loved my job, I knew I wanted to travel. And Joey was unfulfilled in his career and wanted to pursue his dream in golf. Also, my mother was in a retirement but wasn’t loving it. So when a co-worker got a job at an international school in Bangkok and said they were looking for another teacher, I jumped on it! Afterall, I had lived there before and loved it, Joey (who is naturally talented at golf) wanted to pursue his dream, and my mom… well, when I asked if she would want to come she obviously said “yes!”
All Things Considered
This was my exact thought process: win, win, win. Haha. I loved Thailand. Win. Joey could logistically succeed in golf through the Asian Tour Q-school (in Hua Hin, Thailand). Win. And my mom and I would be able to travel AND save money while doing so because the cost of living is so cheap in Thailand. WIN!
The downfall, of course, being that I’d miss out on family functions, hanging with friends and the life I had always known. I’m not going to lie. Missing your family and friends sucks! But I can’t always live my life for others. I had missed out on studying abroad during college because of weddings, childbirths and illnesses. I am so glad I was there to witness and help through those milestones, but they weren’t mine. I had put my life and my dreams on hold for other people’s important events. So, impulsively, I said “the time is now!” and packed me, Joey and my mom up for Thailand! (Really Joey’s sister packed him up because he procrastinates and if I had done it… well, I probably would have thrown half of his crap away and we wouldn’t be in Thailand together. Haha)
A Whole New World
I had lived in Thailand (solo) in 2014-2015 and it was sooooo much easier than bringing two other people with me. The first time I came through a TESOL organization and they pretty much supplied me with everything I needed (papers for visa, arranged accommodations, job placement). This time, however, I was hired BY the school and not through a 3rdparty. And they had NO idea how to hire, employ or even run a school. I hated it there! The children were the only good part of my day, but they only stayed for 2 hours a day. The other 6 hours spent in that hellhole were the worst! See, Thailand is very much a cast system. This crazy, probably inbred, family is a product of the upper-echelon of the system. They weren’t wealthy because they were intelligent, or earned their place, so you can imagine what a joke-of-a-school they ran. But enough about them, let’s talk about Thailand itself:
What’s to Love about Thailand
- extensive history
- way of life (work to live, not live to work)
- affordable living
When you think of Thailand I’m sure visions of “Hangover part III” or “Brokedown Palace” come into mind, but Thailand is such a culturally rich and safe country! Even during late, drunken nights in Bangkok, I have never felt unsafe. Thailand is predominantly Buddhist, and Buddists strongly believe in Karma (along with the fear of Thai prison), so it is very rare to be the victim of a crime here.
Also, the fact that Thailand has never been colonized is one reason for their rich culture. Without the influence of western control, their culture has never been watered down… therefore their traditions and customs have remain untainted for centuries!
Now, let’s talk way of life! The people of Thailand are super friendly! Yes, there are language barriers, but that doesn’t keep Thai’s away from trying to have friendly chit-chatter. And, the are extremely laid back (which can be a good but sometimes bad thing). Once you allow yourself to adapt to the sabai-sabai life and go-with-the-flow, you can truly appreciate the way of everyday life: enjoy it!
-I once met a cab driver that told me he only works until he makes 1000 baht each day. No more, no less. Of course my response was, “What if you make that first thing in the morning?” He simply smiled and said, “Then I can go enjoy my day with my family.” That is working to live my friends. Life is too short to not be able to enjoy it.
Another plus, cost of living. Thailand is a third-world country, and most of Thailand is very undeveloped. Thus, the living is cheap which gives westerners a chance to splurge! How much does it cost to live in Thailand? I’ll tell you.
Cost of Living
We lived a little more luxurious than I did the first time I lived in Thaialnd. We had a full apartment in a very nice neighborhood with all the amenities.
I also spent pretty frivolously, but I still managed to save. I am going to take you into my personal finances per month:
- Rent: 20,000 thb
- Electric bill: 1800+ thb (we run the AC a lot)
- Water: 120 thb
- Phone & Internet: 1000 thb
- Groceries: 5000 thb
- Entertainment (mostly drinking at the bar): 8000 thb
Total (approx) 36,000 thb/ $1,185 USD
This is for 2 people! Crazy, right!? My total monthly spending was less than the cost of rent in Atlanta.
Now, I could go on and on about everything I LOVE about about Thailand, but chances are you’ll probably get sick of me yammering on. So, if you want further reasoning just check out some of my favorite experiences in Thailand: