Millions of People Dream of Living in Thailand
A guy in at a bar on Koh Chang once told me that at least fifty percent of visitors to Thailand dream about being able to return as a full-time resident. This person obviously pulled this statistic out of his arse, but it does kind of ring true. You only have to look at the unhappy faces in Suvarnabhumi Airport departure lounge to see that many tourists feel desperate to stay.
Why Do Some People Only Dream of Moving to Thailand
Only a tiny minority of those who dream about moving to Thailand are going to turn this into a reality. Here are the most common reasons people never get beyond the dreaming stage:
• For a lot of these people, the idea of moving to Thailand is just a whim – a symptom of post-holiday blues. They are mostly happy to return to their normal life, and they look back upon their sudden desire to move sticks to the ‘Land of Smiles’ as a kind of brain-fart.
• There are lots of dreamers who are waiting for the right time to move to Thailand. They fail to realize that there is never going to be a perfect time – there will always be another excuse to delay.
• The majority of people choose financial security above their own happiness. This means they are unlikely to ever do anything drastic like quit their job to start again in an unfamiliar country. The sad reality for these people is that their sense of security is often only an illusion – they can play it safe and still end up struggling.
• In some cases it just won’t be practical for the person to move to Thailand. The sacrifices they would need to make in order to turn this dream into a reality involve too high a cost for them.
Giving Advice to People Who Dream of Moving to Thailand
I regularly receive emails from people who are eager to move to Thailand. I used to work as a teacher here, so these exchanges usually involve advice on how to gain access to this profession. I do try to be as helpful as possible, but it is difficult to get the balance right between being realistic and not trampling on people’s dreams. My knowledge about teaching in Thailand is a bit out-of-date, so I tend to recommend resources like ajarn.com.
I honestly believe that if somebody is motivated enough, they are going to be able to make a life in Thailand. The problem is lots of these dreamers have half-backed plans that sound likely to end in disaster. I feel particularly pessimistic when people tell me they want to move to Thailand to escape their ‘shitty life’ – I know from experience that we tend to take our shitty life with us.
I think it is a mistake to sacrifice too much now just to be able to live in Thailand at some point in the future. I’ve had guys tell me how they put in incredibly long hours at jobs they hate for years just so they can save up enough money for the move. It sometimes sounds as if these people don’t have any type of real life – all they do is work and dream about moving to Thailand. This is a real shame – as John Lennon once said, “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.
How to do More Than Just Dream of Moving to Thailand
Here are my suggestions for turning the dream of moving to Thailand into a reality:
• Create a definite deadline for moving to Thailand – don’t wait for the right time because it is unlikely to ever come.
• Do your homework and find out as much as you can about the expat life in this part of the world – online forums can be a good source for the latest information.
• Don’t view Thailand as a solution to your problems – sort your life out before you make the move.
• If you want to teach English in Thailand, it is best to always try to do things as legitimately as possible. You may be able to pick up some teaching work without qualifications, but your options are going to be very limited.
• It may sound boring, but it is a good idea to carefully plan your move to Thailand.
• The goal of moving country can be intimidating, so it may be best to break it down into smaller goals – e.g. you could focus on savings or getting qualifications for teaching first of all.
• Sometimes we have to change paths in order to reach a goal. Don’t become so attached to a plan that you continue with it even though it is leading you to failure.
• Do ask advice from expats and be open to what they have to say – this doesn’t mean that you have to believe their every word.
• Learn the Thai language before you come and get involved in Thai cultural events in your home country.