Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Why I moved to Thailand

One of my sons asked (in a way) why i have moved to Thailand

I'm almost 61, i've been working my whole life and much of that was really hard and stressful work in IT. That's really long hours and, though the money is good, if you don't have a pretty much mortgage free home in the right location it's not so easy to save. That and a bunch of let-downs along the way means i'm not rich.

So my son, first reason, I'm not rich. I can't afford to live in any of the western cities i've lived in.

I've a little money saved. It was enough for my wife and i to buy a little town house in Nakhon Si Thammarat and to buy a low priced car.

We get by being careful with money - eating cheap, like the poorest Thais, making the most of the farm that my wife's mother owns and buying from farms and people we know. Anything else we need we get from any of the many markets here. We do occasionally shop at a supermarket but only for things like flour so that we can make our own bread.

My teeth have never been very good. I need a lot of dental work. Here I can have a complete root-canal treatment and filling for about $100. The last time i had that done in Sydney it was about $2000. One time previously it was a hack job costing me almost $5000 and then the tooth broke. Here it's actually affordable for me to get my teeth done.

Petrol (gasoline) is cheaper than in Sydney, electricity is a small fraction of the cost in Sydney. Water costs almost nothing.

We have many friends here and my wife has many relatives. We spend a lot of time visiting and traveling around Thailand - because we can afford to do it. When we lived in Sydney and we earned a high income we could hardly afford our annual holiday to Thailand. We seldom traveled far from Sydney because everything in Australia is so far away and unless you travel by plane and stay in incredibly expensive hotels it's not worth the effort.

I love traveling and here i can actually afford to do a little.

The next reason is because of my step daughters. They were doing well in Sydney but there were two problems. The first is that because i can not get Permanent Residence in Australia they can only get 5 year visas. If anything happened to me they would not be able to stay in Australia. We had the choice of moving to NZ or moving for a while to Thailand.

I love NZ but, because of the cold, i get terrible arthritis there and i really can't see me getting a job there very easily. I've been applying for jobs in NZ for more than 5 years and have had no luck.

The girls were very quickly losing their Thai - their English was coming along really well and they had adjusted very well to being relocated into a new language, culture and climate. Moving them back to Thailand for some high-school has allowed them to quickly gain what they had missed during 5 years in Australia. The younger one had not been able to read when she left Thailand in 2008. Just recently she sat the O-NET exams and won a place in one of the best schools here. That's pretty amazing.

At some stage we will have to return to NZ. I need to ensure that they have every chance to get NZ citizenship. We're timing that to be when they will go to uni though it might be earlier. My wife and i will tolerate the cold for long enough for them to be safely settled and then we will come back here.

Lastly, the reason i am in Thailand is because i love the place. I have loved it even before i first came. I love the country and i love the people even though lots of them are scoundrels and they are the most horrid drivers in all the world. I love being right in the middle of Asia in the early decades of the Asian Century. ASEAN starts in a little over a year and things will just sky-rocket when it does. Already the growth rate here is flabbergasting. Being surrounded by it all is just awesome.

I hope that helps you understand.

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