If you’ve read my “About Me” page. You probably know by now that I currently live in Thailand. How did I get here? Long story.

How did that happen?

I’ll give you a quick synopsis.

1. I’ve already moved countries, twice.

See, I was born in a small, Caribbean country called Trinidad and Tobago. I was nine when we moved. Then when I married, I moved to New Zealand, so moving again didn’t seem as daunting as it would for others. This doesn’t mean I don’t miss my family, I do. It’s just that I’ve gotten used to communicating online with my loved ones.

2. I love to travel

I’ve been bitten by the travel bug since I was 24. I did a European tour back then and fell in love with travelling. Full disclosure: travelling isn’t always as glamorous as it sounds, but being patient and staying in the moment is a good practice and getting to the “other” side is totally worth it! I love learning about new cultures, ideas and values. I appreciate that things are different in a different place and respect it. I also love the fact that the more I travel, the more I learn how similar people are.

3. I work from home

What really stops people from moving to their favorite vacation spot is work. How on earth are you going to support yourself? Well, lucky for me, I work “from home”. Which means that I can work from anywhere in the world. This does have it’s drawbacks. I’m not really an “extrovert” or into “sales” so I don’t get as much work as with a job. This means that my income is pretty low, which may be a factor in moving to Thailand, where the cost of living is significantly lower.

4. We are not part of the rat race

We do not keep up with the Joneses, we don’t have a huge house with two cars and we don’t wear the latest designer brands. One of the reasons I married Jonathan was because he and I valued our lifestyle over what was “normal”. We also don’t have children. This is huge. Although it may not be by choice, not having children does make moving countries easier.

Where I live

Where we live in Thailand was important too. We would not have moved here if we didn’t feel there were enough “English speakers” and ex-pats that we got along with. We knew people from New Zealand here and quickly gained some great friends from Australia, Japan, the UK, France etc. Koh Samui, Thailand gives us a nice balance. We can go to the movies and go shopping in a mall if we want, or visit the local Thai market. It does give us the best of both worlds. That being said, we’ve been really lucky to live in an area where we’ve been able to hang out with Thais. They aren’t local as many of them have moved to Samui for work, but, we learn a lot about Thai culture and language from them.

Things that are different here from North America

Don’t expect people to communicate the same as you do

So you think this might be just about speaking in Thai, but, it’s not. One of my friends from New York and I often have this conversation as terms, phrases and ideas are significantly different between North America, the UK, Europe, Asia and Australia/New Zealand. Luckily, having lived in New Zealand, I’m aware of this. If you mention SNL, or Jimmy Fallon no one may know what you’re talking about!

Be aware of the predominant culture

Thai people are very conservative and very Buddhist. They generally dress modestly and have strong lines between men and women e.g. a strange man speaking to a strange woman. Although they make exceptions for us farang (foreigner) Thai couples generally don’t go around holding hands or being very affectionate.

Reading signs, labels and directions is hopeless

Unless you spend a lot of time and effort learning the Thai alphabet, reading food labels, some road signs and even some websites can be frustrating.

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Lakshmi Gosyne is an author, illustrator, web designer and teacher. She worked as a preschool and primary school teacher for 16 years before writing two yoga story books: Jungle Walk: A Yoga Story for Kids and Waiting for Dad: A Yoga Story for Kids. You can find out more at www.lakshmigosyne.com