Andrew and I in Italy

Preparing to Move to Thailand!

This week we’re back in the UK preparing for our big move to Thailand this Saturday! I’m ridiculously behind with sharing our European adventures on the blog but posts are coming soon about our time in Bratislava, our family holidays in Italy and Spain and my favourite city of the year: Prague. Right now though, it’s all about getting ready to head back to Thailand – here’s a look at how we’re preparing to start our new life in Chiang Mai.

Andrew and I in Italy

Arranging our Thai Visas

This week we took an overnight trip to London to apply for 60-day Thai tourist visas. The process was quite simple; we took our passports, two photos, visa application forms and £25 each to the Thai Embassy in Kensington. We had to drop them off between 09:00 and 12:00, we got our receipt and returned the following day between 11:00 and 12:00 to pick up our passports complete with 60-day tourist visa.

View over the River Thames with the London Eye and Westminster

Since we’ll be working online and are registered with the tax office in the UK we don’t need a work visa for Thailand. As we don’t know exactly how long we’ll be in Thailand and we’re nervous about making long-term plans after our move to Spain failed earlier this year, we’ll enter the country on the 60-day visa which we can extend in Chiang Mai for a further 30 days. We did this back in 2013 and the process was fairly painless so we’re hoping things won’t have changed too much. After those 90 days though we’ll need to do a visa run to a nearby country, at the moment we’re considering a combined trip to Hong Kong and Malaysia or a trip to Nepal.

London - all welcome and Big Ben

Although it was a very short trip we were able to visit the Museum of London and spend a few hours with friends; we had a picnic in St James’s Park and popped into the pub. With all the recent Brexit hysteria I had been worried that London would seem different so I was relieved to find the heart and feel of my favourite city remains in tact.

Digital Nomad Progress Update

I’ve already revealed our ambition to become fully-fledged digital nomads and we hope to start work on this properly when we arrive in Chiang Mai. July was a very hectic travel month so our only income was a small amount from the blog and a freelance payment for some writing work I completed in June. August also looks to be a low-income month since we’ve been on holidays with family and are now focusing all our energy on getting set up in Thailand so we can begin work full-time in September.

Toga Party with Family in Italy

Toga party on holiday with Andrew’s family in Italy

The foundations of our digital nomad dreams have continued to solidify though; Andrew has been doing some recruitment work for our former language centre in Vietnam and we’ve had a lot of candidates for that coming through our blog articles about teaching in Hanoi. This means Andrew should get a good pay-out in September and it’s also encouraged us to consider ways we could monetise our teaching content in the future to help readers find teaching jobs in Asia. I still have a Teaching in Vietnam e-book on the back-burner that I really need to get cracking with too.

Gothic Building in Prague

My favourite city of the year: Prague

Andrew also did some training for the online teaching job he’ll begin in September and has completed some standardisation tests for an exam marking body which he’s waiting to hear back about. My freelance writing work will kick-off properly in September and I’m planning to dedicate more time each week to improving the blog, developing our video content and writing about our experiences of settling in Thailand and our new travel adventures in Asia. Once we’re settled I’m also considering looking for part-time volunteering work in Chiang Mai.

Wat Phra That, Doi Suthep Thailand

Wat Phra That, Doi Suthep Thailand

Finding an Apartment in Chiang Mai

The last few weeks of travel and living out of a backpack in cheap Airbnb accommodation (minus the amazing family holiday villas and staying with my parents in the UK) have made me long for a home again. Fortunately, Andrew and I are simple, frugal beasts so we don’t need much to be happy; we’re hoping to find a small, bright apartment close to the city with super-fast wifi and a space for both of us to work. We know from living in Vietnam that full-on kitchens are rare in Asia as but as long as we have a couple of hobs and space for a kettle and toaster we’ll be fine as we plan to take full advantage of all the amazing veggie restaurants in the city.

Us in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Us in Chiang Mai last year – our new home!

Last time we searched for apartments in Chiang Mai we ended up using Airbnb because it was hard to find a proper apartment rather than just a kitted-out hotel room for just a month. This time, we’re probably going to use an estate agent to find somewhere and sign at least a six-month lease; for this we know we’ll need to pay a deposit and few months’ rent in advance to get a good deal, like we did when we moved to Hanoi. I’ll document the search here on the blog and hopefully by the end of this month we’ll be set up in our new home.

Muesli, Fruit & Yoghurt from Da's Bakery, Chiang Mai

A typical breakfast in Thailand

Stocking up on Supplies

Chiang Mai is full of expats so it’s easy to find western comforts should you need them, unlike in Hanoi where such items were harder to find and if you did locate them, they often cost a fortune; for example we saw a Christmas Pudding on sale in one of the few western stores in the city for a whopping £15! These days, all we really miss from the UK (aside from friends and family) is good cheese, Marmite and Earl Grey tea, which we can find easily in Thailand for a slightly inflated price from either Tesco or Big C Extra.

Supplies to Take to Thailand

Supplies for Thailand!

Nevertheless, we have stocked up on a few items to take with us; a bottle of HP Brown Sauce, some Marmite, packets of Colman’s cheese sauce and Earl Grey tea bags. We’ve also stocked up on another important item: underwear! Although neither of us is exactly huge, Andrew and I both struggle to find underwear in our size in Asia. I remember heading into a department store in Thailand once, after looking me up and down the sales assistant pulled out a packet of knickers and loudly pronounced: “Extra Large for you!”

Views of the countryside in Shawford, Hampshire

Summer walk in the English countryside

We also took a trip to this brilliant store in the UK called Home Bargains, where we bought an assortment of cheap toiletries which can be more expensive in Thailand, such as sun cream and insect repellent. Another thing I struggled to find while living in Hanoi was Acuvue contact lenses and I ended up having to use a cheaper brand which irritated my eyes; fortunately, I’ve always been able to find high quality lenses in Thailand for a good price so I’ll stock up when we arrive.

Making the most of Family Time

Since we don’t know exactly when we’ll be back in the UK next, we feel extremely fortunate to have spent some quality time with both of our families on holidays recently. During this final week in the UK we’ve been staying with my parents and making the most of the time we have left with my family, especially our two-year-old nephew Alfie who we absolutely adore. Summer is our favourite time to return to the UK and we’ve been enjoying pub lunches in the countryside, BBQs, dog walks and long, light summer evenings.

Holiday dinner with some of my family in Spain

Holiday dinner with some of my family in Spain

We’re ready to Move to Thailand!

Overall, we’re both feeling really good about the move to Thailand. I feel none of the dark fear, doubt and trepidation I experienced before we moved to Spain in February. Saying that, I am grateful for the bumps in the road we’ve experienced this year as I suspect we wouldn’t have arrived at this point had we not gone through that turbulent period. Yes, I am slightly nervous about the move and I know that it’ll take a while to feel settled but I feel so much better about moving to a country we both love and a city we already know fairly well. I’m grateful that we’re now in a happy place where we’re excited about the journey ahead.

Me, Andrew and our Friend Jo by the river in Prague

Exploring Prague with our friend Jo

Although this past year in the USA and Europe has been full of adventure, I have been surprised by how much I’ve missed Asia. Not only am I excited about setting down some temporary roots in Chiang Mai, I’m also looking forward to exploring new areas of Thailand as well as countries we haven’t yet visited in Asia. Some people have expressed concerns for us over the recent bombings in Thailand and while we’ll keep an eye on the news, we’re not too worried. We actually tend to feel safer in South-East Asia than we do in Europe where there’s a much higher terror threat level; generally though, we try not to let fear dictate where and how we live our lives.

Fish and Chips at an English Pub

Fish and Chips at an English Pub

As always, the hardest thing about moving on is saying goodbye to family in the UK. However, one of the perks of our nomadic lifestyle is that we can easily return to visit or meet up on holidays. Since we left the UK in 2013 we’ve been back each summer and spent at least a couple of months of each year catching up with friends and family; we actually feel like we spend more quality time with people now than we did when we lived in the UK and our lives were dominated by work. We also know that if we succeed in making a sustainable income through working online we have the potential to have a more permanent base in the UK in the future. We hope that moving to Thailand now will unlock a whole new world of opportunity for us.

preparing to move to Thailand, Pinterest

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So, see you on the other side in sunny Thailand! As always, thank you for following along on our journey, we appreciate each and every person who reads our blog, leaves comments and shares our stories.

 

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13 Comments
  • Patti
    Posted at 18:27h, 18 August Reply

    So many exciting plans, looking forward to reading about how it all comes together.

    Extra large?! You?! That’s hilarious! 🙂

    • Amy
      Posted at 09:53h, 19 August Reply

      Yep, in Vietnam I had to buy a pair of men’s jeans too! We are excited to share this new phase of our journey 🙂

  • Kate Green
    Posted at 10:13h, 19 August Reply

    Loved the underwear mention. Tesco express in Hua Hin sells extra large that just about fit my size 8 body! You need a strong sense of body image before shopping for clothes in Asia. If you get tired of wonderful Asian food (it happens:) try The Dukes — two locations — as my kids still ask to go back there. Best pizzas and ribs we’ve had in a long time (even in the US:) Although after months being without we may have been desperate LOL.

    • Amy
      Posted at 22:27h, 19 August Reply

      So true Kate, glad I’m not the only one with that problem! Thanks for the recommendation, we will definitely check that out 🙂

  • Louisa Klimentos
    Posted at 10:58h, 19 August Reply

    Very well written ,Amy and look forward to reading your next adventure,in South east Asia.Oh and i thought it was funny that you needed extra large underwear.and you are nice and slim !keep up your fantastic travel blogs,love louisa

    • Amy
      Posted at 22:28h, 19 August Reply

      Thanks so much for following along and commenting Louisa, we appreciate your support 🙂

      • Louisa Klimentos
        Posted at 00:03h, 23 August Reply

        Oh iam glad that you are happy to have me follow along and commenting.I now think that maybe i made too many recommendations for Australia and some for New Zealand .I hope i didn’t overload you with places of interest .You have the whole world to explore and you can’t do it all.Live life to the fullest ,love Louisa

        • Amy
          Posted at 07:19h, 24 August Reply

          Thanks Louisa, we’re always happy to hear your recommendations and I hope we get to check some of them out for ourselves 🙂

          • Louisa Klimentos
            Posted at 01:25h, 25 August

            No worries ,thankyou

  • Gilda Baxter
    Posted at 11:43h, 19 August Reply

    Your lives is one big adventure and I so love following along and read about how you are navegating through the ups and downs, always managing to stay positive. I really admire your attitude of planning for the future without compromising on your dreams. I am rooting for you and your new chapter in Chiang Mai?

    • Amy
      Posted at 22:28h, 19 August Reply

      Thanks so much Gilda, we really appreciate your kind words and support. We’re excited to document this next chapter and build a new life in Chiang Mai.

  • DLR
    Posted at 19:34h, 20 August Reply

    I look forward to following you on your new adventures. Also, can’t wait for the posts about your time in Bratislava & Prague, as well as your family holidays in Italy & Spain.

    Safe travels!

    • Amy
      Posted at 14:49h, 22 August Reply

      Thanks Donna, we’ve just arrived back in Chiang Mai and so far things are going great!

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