I was thinking the other day about my first piece of work titled Chasing A Dream. The reason I was thinking about this was because I’m no longer chasing this dream, I’m actually living it. Let me explain.
If you haven’t read this piece of work, don’t worry. It has been over 7 years since I wrote it and I was not only living a different life than I have today, but I was also a different person.
Although I was living one life, I was dreaming about a different life. One that I never imagined would have been achievable. I had spent the last year reading about people that were making their dream their reality. They were packing up their lives and moving to cheaper but comfortable cities like Chiang Mai, Kathmandu, Penang and more. Travel wasn’t really a passion of mine to be honest, but settling somewhere where I could spend my life doing something I loved was.
My boyfriend and I were tired. We were both working over 70 hours a week, and more was expected. We felt that we could never get ahead. We couldn’t afford the lifestyle we wanted to live and more importantly, we didn’t have the time to live it. It was the cost of living in Thailand that prompted the move.
This is when we decided we had nothing to lose. Within a week, we had packed all our belongings and placed them into storage. We weren’t overly sentimental about anything so it wasn’t too hard to throw a lot of what we owned away. We also found super cheap storage and paid what our monthly rent would be for a year.
If any of you think this is crazy, well yeah. It is. We would have thought we were crazy until we actually did it, but the thing we began to consider is why should we live our entire lives doing something that doesn’t make us happy. That was crazy to use. The even worse side to that would be to never have given it was try.
We ended up settling on Chiang Mai. We were truly Chasing A Dream. A lifestyle where we could survive with me earning money as a freelance writer and my boyfriend earning money as a freelance graphic designer. We found heaps on jobs online and already had a few opportunities from blogger friends we knew in the states. The wonder of working online is that you can do the work whenever, wherever you want, and the other benefit of working for yourself is that you can choose exactly how much work you take on.
We found that we could easily survive in Chiang Mai if each of worked about 30 hours a week. In fact the lifestyle here on this rate was significantly better than it was back home even when we were working 70 hours each. It’s pretty amazing just how expensive the states are.
We’ve also experienced things here that we never thought we would. We spend so much time in nature. I’ve taken up meditation and yoga, and we both go to the gym daily and get a weekly massage (sometimes even twice weekly). We eat out at least 5 times a week, and the food is not only delicious and healthy, but it is super cheap. We’ve also made some great friends. These are people that share our vision of having a lifestyle that appeals to us and not necessarily the majority of other people. I’ve even played a live gig here.
Of course, it’s not all a dream. There are parts that are very difficult about our lifestyle that we manage. For me, the hardest part about moving to Thailand was leaving my family behind. We lived in the same city for over 25 years, and leaving them to move to Thailand was actually the first time I had left them at all. I’m lucky enough to see them at least once a year. Because we spend limited time together, when I do get to see them we have a really great time. We make the most of every moment together.
The other difficult thing about living in Thailand is the weather. It can get super hot here, and not the type of heat I am used to. The weather can cover you in a blanket of warmth that you can’t escape until you reach a property that has air conditioning. Even a fan is no match for the conditions here – and it’s all the time. To be fair though, Chiang Mai isn’t too bad. I found that it’s much worse down south in Bangkok and Phuket.
The move is truly the best thing we could have done for ourselves. We’ve gained a great deal of independence over our own lives. We have a great apartment and great friends, and we even have a dog. Nothing in life is forever, and I’m not saying that we wont eventually move back to the states, but for now Chiang Mai works fabulously for us.
The amazing thing is that my book Chasing A Dream predicted this. But even more amazing is that we were able to make it happen.