- We both entered Thailand on triple-entry tourist visas.
- Alexis switched to a non-immigrant B visa once she started teaching.
- I extended two of my three entries at the Chiang Mai immigration office before my tourist visa finally expired on January 17th, 2015.
- We tried, unsuccessfully, to get me on a non-immigrant O visa.
- I did a border run to Mae Sai to get a 30 day visa exempt stamp. This granted me until February 15, but we don’t leave for Japan until March 31st. So… what to do? Continue reading
There are three key changes that devalue the pass though:
1. The 30-day travel pass is now $160 instead of previously reported $150.
2. $160 is good for 10 “credits,” NOT 10 flights.
3. Not all AirAsia routes within the Asean zone are available on this pass.
Numbers 2 and 3 are the big ones.
The Asean Pass Credit System
Each Asean pass-qualified route has been designated with a “credit value.” Routes are either 1 credit or 3 credits (no routes are valued at 2 credits). So theoretically, you could still get 10 flights in the 30-day period if you flew only 1 credit routes.
Here is an example of the credit system provided by AirAsia: Continue reading
Yes, you read that right… By David. I’m stepping in this week with a Photo Friday guest post (don’t all let out a sigh of disappoint at once).
Because I’m so obviously not as talented as my amazing wife, I didn’t want to throw one picture up here touting its quality and have you all be supremely underwhelmed. So I thought I would share a small collection of photos — photos that provide a glimpse into our daily lives.
If you’ll excuse the poor quality, the photos below show one of our favorite things about living in Thailand: the amazing sunrises, sunsets, and general sky-scapes. And the best part? We take in these sights without ever leaving out apartment.
I just got back from Kuala Lumpur (more on this soon), so I guess I’m feeling glad to be home 🙂
I’m over the hill; I turned the ripe old age of 26 on Friday. The celebratory activities added up to the best non-honeymoon day I’ve had in Thailand.
Brunch at Blue Diamond
Blue Diamond Breakfast Club (located here) is one of our favorite breakfast/brunch spots in Chiang Mai. The menu consists of a wide range of American breakfast options as well as Thai food. We both got pancakes — chocolate banana for me and coconut for Alexis — and split scrambled eggs. Yum!
Massages and Herbal Steam Bath
Well, I didn’t want to give away our full “monthly country” itinerary just yet, but I found this video while researching activities near one of our future home in Nepal (ah!), and I just had to share it.
Did you know parahawking is a thing?
Cause I sure didn’t and it might be the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s apparently a mix between paragliding and falconry, and it’s just plain badass. I’m not even that adventurous of a person, but if it’s not super expesive, I’m really really tempted to give it a try.
Would you do it??
If I could afford to spend the rest of my days in Switzerland, I would move there tomorrow without hestiation. It’s such a spectacularly beautiful country. The landscape ranges from gorgeous green fields to snow-capped mountains, making it feel like heaven pretty much anytime of the year.
This photo was snapped in the mountains near Interlaken while David was off being brave (i.e. bungee-jumping into a canyon) while I was off being an introvert, quietly taking pictures of the scenery. That’s pretty much how our relationship goes: David does something awesome, and I document it.
And I’m okay with that 🙂
ALSO, today just so happens to be that same gorgeous, brave, amazing guy’s birthday! Exactly one year ago today, we were exploring the tiny town of Martigny, Switzerland. Wish we were there again today, but a sunny day in Thailand will have to suffice for now.
Happy birthday, darling David ❤
One of the biggest things I’ve had to learn as a ESL teacher in Thailand is flexibility. Here, plans change by the minute and you’re expected to just go with the flow, being perpetually ready at a moment’s notice (traits that don’t come naturally to a Type-A overthinker like me).
One day this week, I had just handed out worksheets to a 2nd grade class and was having them write their names up top, when the classroom’s Thai teacher says, “Teacher, the students go outside now.”
“Pass back your papers!” I announced and gathered up the worksheets as the students ran outside. When I finished cleaning things up, I wandered around trying to find my class. After a few minutes of searching, I found them watching a presentation from the fire department.
Instead of miming what you should do during a fire (e.g. stop, drop, and roll), the firemen stayed true to the craziness that is Thailand and lit a real fire then let the kids come up and put it out with an extinguisher.
Somehow, I got chosen to go up first and put one out, which was actually quite terrifying. The kids loved my overdramatic screaming, haha.
After that, the kids went wild as they got to try on all the uniforms (so cute) and even ride a makeshift zipline that had been set up between two trees nearby.
There was some kind of gas mask that shot freezing cold air at the kids faces, and they made a long line to try it out one-by-one.
And of course they got to play around with a fire hose.
I’m not sure how much safety the lesson really taught because, at the end of it all, one of my second graders ran up to me and breathlessly exclaimed, “Teacher! I want to play with fire!”
Just your average Tuesday in Thailand…
Barclaycard sent me my 2014 spending summary yesterday and I found it very illuminating. 41% of everything we spent on that card in 2014 was for travel. That includes flights, hotels, apartment rentals, airport shuttle buses, etc.
Now, this is only one credit card of many so it’s not like 40% of everything we spent in 2014 was on travel, but still, this card is pretty representative of our spending and reveals our not-so-secret strategy for long-term travel: we prioritize it.
We could afford to move to London, the most expensive place I’ve ever lived in, while we were planning our wedding half a world away because we prioritized it. And for the sake of full disclosure, we weren’t rich at all. Alexis quit her job at National Geographic so we could move and we both lived off my $44K (USD!) salary.
We could even afford to take a trip to Switzerland for my birthday during that time to snowboard… because we prioritized it.
We could afford to get married in Hawaii… because we prioritized it.
We could afford for me to quit my job as well, move to Thailand and start afresh… because we prioritized it.
Now, in less than two months, we will be able to afford living in one country every month because, surprise, surprise, we will prioritize the travel.
The truth is, there is no secret to this. We want this life, so we do what we have to do to make it happen.
To prove this point, that same year-end summary showed that our collective spending on restaurants, entertainment, and merchandise totaled a meager 13%.
We don’t eat out all the time, we don’t go to concerts or events, and we don’t shop for new clothes. That may sound like a deprived life to some people, but we choose to live this way because it enables us to travel.
And sure, sometimes we wish we could do those kind of things more often, but ultimately, it’s not worth it to us.
The bottom line is that anything you want is attainable if you make it a priority.
Bonus Tips to Travel Long-Term
1. Get this credit card. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard is a great introductory card for those looking to start collecting airline miles. Just a couple months ago, we used it to save $300 on our trip to Borneo, Bali, and Ko Lanta.
2. Realize that, in a general sense, traveling isn’t as expensive as you think. Consider our example: When we were living in Washington, D.C., our one-bedroom apartment cost $1,700 a month. In September, we’ll be living in Tuscany and paying less than $700 in rent.
Where would you rather live?
Well, not quite yet but we just booked our first apartment and we’re really excited!
For all of September, we’ll be staying in this insanely beautiful, quaint, lush, perfect Tuscan hideaway.
I mean… it’s pretty much perfect.