Once we’d accepted an offer to rent our flat there was no turning back, so we booked our plane tickets that very same night, and the next step was to visit the Thai embassy.
When we started entertaining this crazy idea of packing in our lives and going to live in Thailand (where we assumed the pounds left over from rent collection, after paying our mortgage, should produce a fair few baht), we pictured a little cottage near the beach, with a contented toddler digging in the sand. (And then worries about what she’d eat, how we’d be isolating her from family and friends, and all sorts of other ‘is this the right decision for my baby?’ worries would inevitably kick in.)
But we soon realised that part of this picture was unrealistic – and not the worry part. We would not be able to live in Thailand. Unless you marry someone Thai, going to live in Thailand is pretty tough. You have two tourist visa options – one, a Multiple Entry 6 month visa, where you pay a fair bit and need to provide all sorts of documentation proving you’re employed and have a certain amount of money in your bank account and, the other, a Single Entry Tourist visa for 60 days, where you can apply in Thailand for a 30 day extension, both of which require you to leave the country every 60 / 90 days. Since my job is now full time mum and Gareth had already handed in his notice (to pave the way to freedom), we couldn’t exactly prove employment, so we opted for the 60 day Single Entry Tourist Visa, and with that a nomadic lifestyle.
We wouldn’t be renting a single cottage and moving our lives from one home to another, just in a different country, with better weather. We would be a mobile family, leaving Thailand every 60-90 days.
So many more steps to plan and decisions to make! Which countries should we visit? How long should we go for? Should we go back to Thailand after leaving? We weren’t going to answer any of these questions now (too much else to plan), or at once, as we were taking things one step at a time to be open to all possibilities.
And this mindset shift from living in Thailand to travelling in South East Asia did offer so much possibility for adventure – albeit peppered with trepidation about travelling from place to place with a toddler and big bags packed full of stuff I can’t bring myself not to take along for her…