I have spoken to so many friends who would love to go to Thailand or somewhere similar but “would never be able to” because of various excuses. I write this in the hope that one of you out there who might not be entirely content with your life will decide to travel and see a different part of the world.
I decided to leave Ireland because I was feeling as if I was missing out on something. I was living with my girlfriend at the time, we had everything we wanted but we both started to question “is this it?”. I didn’t feel comfortable living like my best days were behind me. There were so many places I wanted to see and experience.
I fell into the trap of concentrating on my career and put in the work now so I could enjoy myself later, when I had more money, or more time. Then I read a fantastic book called Vegabonding by Rolf Potts. He advocates that we enjoy our lives now. No waiting for the “right” time or when we have enough money. Why should you work your entire life and have to wait until you are too old to do the things you want? Travel, live abroad and learn as much as you can when you’re young and free. No commitments, no kids, no car or mortgage repayments.
In the last 18 months I have learned so many valuable life lessons and feel the time abroad has benefited much more than 18 months of working back home. We are living in a changing world. The days of a job for life are gone. So although we are missing that security that our parents had we all have a fantastic opportunity to use this to see the world.
So why Thailand?
Thailand is a cheap, beautiful, relaxed country with amazing food and people. It isn’t much of a culture shock like other Asian countries and you can find most of your western comforts throughout the country. You also have many options about where you want to stay based on your preferences.
If you like the beach head to the south to places like Phuket or Koh Phangan. If you like city life with endless opportunities to shop and party then Bangkok is your spot. If you want a chilled cultural city then move to Chiang Mai. If you want a more Thai city with less foreigners then move to khon Kaen (I live here!)
How to prepare
First and foremost the most important thing is to get out of debt. This is your first priority. There are lots of blogs with advice on getting out of debt.
Check your spending
Use excel and make a spreadsheet with your monthly income and spending. Every evening record what you spent in the spreadsheet. You will be shocked at where your money goes once you start tracking it. When I started doing this in Ireland I doubled my weekly savings by simply watching where my money was going. A coffee here, a meal out or pint there quickly adds up.
Just think if you can save €50 a week, that’s €200 a month and €2400 a year. With €2400 you can fly to Thailand and travel very comfortably anywhere from 2 – 6 months depending on how you travel and spend your time.
If you want to travel long-term you have two options.
- Work in the country you travel to
- Go back home a work for a few months
In India I met a Dutch guy. He had been traveling the world for 8 years and guess where he said the best place to work to make money?
When he started running out of money he would move to Dublin and work in a call center or something similar that offered short-term contracts. Make all the money he needed and went off on his travels again.
If you are like me and want to work in Thailand teaching is your best option. If you have a university degree get yourself and TEFL or CELTA and you will find a job in no time. If you don’t have a degree or you are not a native English speaker it is still possible to get work but a little more difficult.
Benefits of Living in Thailand
My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time. – Steve Jobs
I work 14 hours a week and can leave my school whenever I am not teaching. I get paid 12 months a year but work roughly 7.5 months. This is a part job with full-time pay. I have free time to do the things I enjoy. I have evenings a weekends free to spend as I feel necessary. Weight training, yoga, meeting friends, reading and writing are all possible each day with the extra free time I have here.
Living in Thailand you have access to paradise beaches and beautiful mountains that you can visit on weekends or else during longer breaks. If you teach you get two months off during summer (March and April) and 2-3 weeks off during mid-term (October). You are also a cheap plane ticket away to other tropical locations in southeast Asia.
Coming from a country where it rains 8-9 months a year the weather is a huge benefit of living here. I can’t remember the last time I wore a jacket. Although it can be a little unbearable between 11-2 waking up to the sun every morning is amazing. Spending evenings eating outside in restaurants and markets is another thing that I could only enjoy a few weeks of the year back home.
Thai food is delicious and cheap. I have been here over a year and am still trying new dishes. Each region in Thailand also has their own local cuisine. I live in Isaan (northeast) they have their own food and language here!
- Learn a language
One of the most rewarding parts of living here is learning the language. As a native English speaker I never thought I would be able to learn another language. And while I am still a beginner in Thai I can hold a basic conversation with locals and deal with all the day-to-day activities. Thai people are very patient and happy when they see you are making an effort to learn their language. It is also very easy to meet locals and do a language swap as they are keen to learn English.
- Cost of living
You aren’t going to get rich teaching in Thailand but it is still possible to save because of the cheap cost of living. The average teachers salary is 30k baht (€750)/ month. If you are in Bangkok or Phuket your salary will be higher but the cost of living will be too. I spend about 20k a month. Rent is about 4-5k (€100 – €130) for a basic hotel room style apartment. Food is dirt cheap. Pad Thai and fried rice is 40 baht (€1). Scooters cost 2-3K (€50 – €80) per month and everything else is based on your lifestyle.
If you are feeling a bit bummed out about your situation at the moment why not spend a year or two abroad, teaching english and traveling. Don’t fall into the trap of having to stay in your job. Traveling will open up different opportunities for you.
What’s stopping you?
If you liked this post, pop in your email below to receive FREE weekly updates and get my 5 step guide to optimal health as a thank you.