When I was pregnant with my oldest child, my husband and I took nightly walks. One evening, when I was about six months pregnant, we did a big loop around our north end Boise neighborhood. The streets in that part of town are lined with big trees; the neighborhoods are a mix of diverse structures—new homes crammed between aging ones, modern buildings next to ones sorely in need of a facelift. We navigated cracked sidewalks, walking in silence for a few minutes, lost in thought.
Finally, my husband brought up something I’d been thinking about for months: What if we move to Thailand?
You see, about a year prior to that walk, we’d been living in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and traveled to Thailand on holiday. The two of us fell in love with the country—the wildlife, landscape, and people. Thailand is a land of sensory experiences, from flavorful food to temples awash in reds and yellows to the warm turquoise ocean.
But back to our conversation that crisp fall evening. We spent nearly an hour running through all the scenarios that would allow us to make Thailand happen. In the end, the barriers felt too great. I was particularly worried about medical care for my daughter’s birth. We were sure we could make the move in a year or so.
Then parenthood happened, and boy, did it shift my view on living abroad. Suddenly I had this tiny human who relied solely on my husband and me. Then another tiny human came along, and that tiny human, my son, had a number of medical needs that prevented us from doing anything other than function (mostly) for the first year and a half of his life.
But I am nothing if not persistent. Once I get something in my head, it will happen. And my husband, whose blood is made up of adventure, also stuck solidly to our dream.
Last week, we bought six one-way tickets to Thailand: two adults, two kids, and two cats (who, yes, require their own less-expensive ‘tickets’ even though they’ll be under the seat).
We are thrilled. We’re also aware that moving overseas (which we’ve done twice before) is vastly different with kids. But I have decided not to let the fear of the unknown keep me from doing something that’s been on my heart and mind for so long.
So, that’s the back story. Now, I want to preemptively answer the questions I’ve been asked over the last several months as I’ve shared the news with colleagues, clients, friends, and family.
Where will you live?
We’ll be in Phuket, Thailand, an island in the southern part of the country. It’s about as close to a beach paradise as we could get.
What will you do for work?
Exactly the same thing I’ve been doing for the past nine years: consulting, coaching/training, and writing. Few people know this, but my original business name was Freelancexpat because I founded my business while living as an expatriate (expat) in the Dominican Republic. One thing I’m especially excited about is seeing how my work is deepened by better living my values—adventure is a core value of mine, and it’s been neglected for too long. My husband, Doug, is a teacher-turned-stay-at-home dad and will continue to be home with our kids for the next few years until they’re both in school.
How will you work with clients?
My clients are scattered across the U.S. and I usually have to travel to meet them anyway, so there will be no impact on them. Currently, I use video and phone for a lot of client interaction, so that will not change. I plan to travel back to the U.S. as needed, likely every 2–3 months.
What will you do with your stuff?
We plan to donate most of our furniture, which we bought when we were first married. (Frankly, I am thrilled to see it go and can’t wait to get new furniture when we return!) The things that hold meaning for us will be in a small storage unit. We will keep nothing that needs maintained (house, car, etc.) to make the journey seamless and stress-free.
How long will you be gone?
We plan on one year to give our oldest a steady kindergarten experience and get the opportunity to really get to know the country and culture. However, we are open to less or more time there.
Will you move back to Boise?
Yes! Boise is our forever home and one of the best places on the planet to live. We will definitely be back and plan to stay connected to the community while we are gone.
Aren’t you nervous? (subtext: What are you thinking?!)
Of course I’m nervous. I’m not a naturally brave person, so I have to be extremely intentional about being courageous, especially in this situation. Courage is a deeply held core value, and it’s something I want to instill in my children. Moving to a new country is a risk, but I believe that taking risk is the only way to grow.
What else do you want to know? I want to answer any and all questions, so please leave me a comment or send me a message.
I’ll be writing more as we prepare for our move and arrive in Thailand. Thanks for reading—it means a lot that you take time to share in this experience.
This is so exciting! I’m looking forward to reading more posts as you make your journey. So many well wishes for your sweet family on this new adventure.
Thank you, Hannah! I appreciate the well-wishes!
Congratulations on this exciting adventure! Thailand is one of my favorite places in the world and is a very special country. Enjoy!
Thanks, Kate! I appreciate you reading and commenting. And Thailand is wonderful, isn’t it? It just takes one visit to appreciate how special it is. 🙂
Do you rent or buy a home in Thailand?
Do you already have a residence secured?
What is the cost of living?! Groceries, utilities? Do you need a car there or are you close to a town?
I think this is fabulous!! I love ❤️ that you are doing this while you’re young and giving your kids that sense of adventure!
Hope the kitties travel well!!
Thanks, Kellie! These are such great questions!
We’ll rent a large condo there, hopefully within walking distance from the beach. We don’t have a place secured yet but plan to reserve a resort hotel room to make the transition fun/easy for the kids; we’ll find our condo within the first few weeks after we arrive. We are leasing a car for a month before deciding whether to buy or lease long term (buying a car can be complex and maybe more hassle than it’s worth). I hired an assistant in Phuket who will help with translation and making the move smooth. She’s been wonderful to work with so far.
We anticipate cutting our cost of living by 20–30% while having a better quality of life (twice-weekly house cleaning versus every other week in the states, more travel, etc.). Thailand is a cheap country to live in but we picked the most expensive location within the country because it has good infrastructure, hospitals, and schools. There is also an airport there, which makes a huge difference for me.
Feel free to ask more! There is so much that goes into planning—I’ve definitely done my research. 🙂
Good for you. Have a great time and enjoy the experience.
Thanks, Anastasiya! I appreciate this nice comment. It will certainly be a memorable experience.
So excited for you Stacy! Both my boys have lived in Japan and say Thailand is where the local Japanese go for their vacations. Several writers I follow, like Derek Murphy, live or are moving to Thailand. I hope to visit someday!
I look forward to hearing about the amazing experiences you are going to have!
Will it be an English-speaking Kindergarten? How much of the native language do you expect to have mastered by the end of one year?
Thanks, Heather! I appreciate the nice words and will be sure to look up Derek. I’ve heard Japan is an amazing country and hope to visit someday.
Thank you for the questions! Yes, my daughter will be in an English-speaking kindergarten. There are only two American curriculum schools (from what we can find online, anyway), so she may end up in a British or Australian school.
To be honest, I don’t imagine becoming anywhere near fluent in Thai but plan to learn enough to communicate. I downloaded a language app a few months ago and have been infrequently trying to learn—my daughter already speaks more Thai than me! 🙂
Inspired by your curiosity persistance and honesty. The world is not only your oyster but also a gift to all of us!!
Thank you, Betsy! What a wonderful comment. I appreciate you!
I remember you and Doug telling me about this plan during one of our preschool mornings together. I’m so excited to hear your dream is becoming a reality. I wish your wonderful family the very best!
Good memory, Katie! Thank you for taking time to read and comment. We miss you at preschool, by the way. 🙂
Congratulations Stacy! I admire your courage and hope to one day be in your shoes! Safe journey!
Thank you, Jen! I can definitely see you traveling the world—you strike me as someone who would take to that type of life easily.
Good luck on your travels, I’m sure the move will inspire more creativity and I’m so happy I had the chance to work with you!
I just moved into a new place and would be happy to be the recipient of your furniture haha
Thank you for reading and commenting, Jon! I’m glad we had the chance to work together, too. We aren’t moving until July, but do let me know if you still want furniture at that point. We have a few things we’ll happily give you.
Can’t wait to meet up with you again in Asia! Wishing you a smooth transition.
Thanks, Kim! We can’t wait to see you. I know we’ll be traveling all over Asia while we’re there, and I hope you come visit. 🙂
I wonder what you’d think about what I have to say about the human thinking process. The complete process is being written up for the first time in history and I’m the one doing it! You sound like you’d get a lot out of it.
Interesting, Gray! That does sound fascinating. Thanks for reading and commenting.