So when I left off I was up to 2005 and the winds of change were ready to blow into my life.
The past couple years I had been developing the idea of expatriating, leaving America to live in another country. What country though? I had been traveling quite a bit over the past 5 years and the list had been narrowed down to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Costa Rica. Russia was a contender, but as you can see from the short list I didn’t want to endure any cold weather. Mexico was also a possibility, but I had never been there yet, so couldn’t really assess whether or not I would like it.
So in October of 2005 I booked a 3 week trip to Cozumel. The plan was to get some diving in as well as investigating the rest of the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula from Cancun down to the border with Belize. My flight was booked and the initial week in Cozumel was booked as well as the diving being all set. The trip was planned for November, so all that was left was the waiting.
As they say though “The best laid plans of mice and men may often go awry”. So it was with my planned Mexico excursion when on October 20th, 2005 hurricane Wilma, the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Atlantic basin made landfall on Cozumel.
The small island was completely devastated and my plans were completely disrupted. I held out for a couple weeks, hoping the devastation wasn’t complete, but no luck there. That’s why in mid-November I changed tack and re-booked everything for my favorite destination – Thailand – for April of 2006 to coincide with the Thai New Year celebration of Songkran. As a side note, I have since made it to Cozumel and my wife and I agree it would be a wonderful place to spend an extended period of time. Chances are you’ll find me blogging from there or nearby sometime in the future.
Here’s where fate steps in. Literally the day after booking my trip to Thailand I was on a dating site and up pops my (future) wife. She says little more than hello and that she works as a nurse in Bangkok and then has to log off with promises of chatting the next day. I was confused as to why she would pop up just to leave, but quickly forgot about the short contact.
As this was over the Thanksgiving holiday I was working 16 hour days to provide on site support for my companies data center. No one else wanted to work holidays and for me it was a great chance to make a nice chunk of cash for very little work. As long as nothing went down over the 4 days I was getting double pay for 48 hours of very easy work.
That weekend I spent the majority of my time online chatting with my wife and getting to know each other. Despite incredibly different cultural backgrounds we both had very similar goals, motivations and ideals and by the end of that 4 day weekend I was beginning to be hooked. As it turns out so was she.
Over the following 4 months not a single day went by that we weren’t chatting online, talking on the phone or using our webcams to talk “face-to-face”. By the time April rolled around we were both in love (still hard to believe) and when I arrived in Thailand it was only 9 days until we decided to get married. And such was the unbelievable beginning to our wonderful relationship.
Naturally this turn of events pretty much cemented my choice for an expatriation destination. Thailand it would be, but not until Golf came to the U.S. for some American cultural experience and to be with me while I continued to pay down the rest of my debt and save for our eventual return to Thailand.
She arrived in November 2006 (almost 1 year to the day after our first chat) and even though I was over $40,000 in debt at that point I promised her that we would return to Thailand within 5 years.
The debt took 33 months to get rid of and the savings took an additional 19 months, 6 months shy of my promised 5 years even though we added a 3rd member to our family in June 2010. That almost derailed things, but you will find that many times where there’s a will there’s a way and we made adjustments to keep our savings on track even with the expense of a new baby.
And that’s how I found myself moving to Thailand in June 2011 with my lovely wife and our adorable 1 year old daughter. And if you are wondering how we finance everything since then it is a combination of my earnings from sites online and my wife’s salary here in Thailand. No we aren’t wealthy, not in the monetary sense. We are however very wealthy in terms of our relationship, family and experiences.
And what about all of you…are there any readers out there with dreams of an expats life in Thailand? Do you have a story of a time where fate intervened and sent your life off in a new direction? Are you working towards your dreams and what are those dreams? You can post anonymously if you are too shy to publicly share your dreams; I know it can be a very vulnerable position to place yourself in.
Read the entire series:
1. My First Trip to Bangkok
2. Changes and a Coming Hurricane
3. How I Met My Thai Wife
4. Thai Visa Costs, Types and Our Arrival in Thailand
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