Quality of Life in Thailand

Part of why I moved to Chiang Mai was because I had this suspicion that I could maintain a fun and full life, without all the worrying about expenses if I lowered my cost of living. I’m still building up an online income for myself and paying off one last small piece of debt. The best way for me to not go further into debt is, frankly, to stay outside of the US.

The sad fact is, even living rent-free with my dad when I’m back in the US, I live in a perpetual state of fear. I don’t have US health insurance, it’s pricey and even the insurance I can get is lousy. On the flip side, Thailand has great hospitals, checkups are cheap, dental care is cheap and on par with the US, and I don’t live in fear of getting sick and being buried under decades of medical debt.

Many of my long-term goals are fulfilled through living here and continuing my travels and volunteering. I live in the Thai area of town, volunteer locally with Thais, and eat locally, so I have access to immersion in a foreign language (though don’t even ask about my Thai … it’s not going well), and the politics, values, and culture here is a window into something different than what I had for the first 27 years of my life. I only have a mere two months left in Thailand before I continue onward, but these first three months of stationary travel have been both affordable and enlightening. You can bet I’m already plotting out when I’ll come back to this neck of the woods! Smile

Update:  I am a traveler rather than a stationary expat in Thailand, however, I return frequently and have lived in Chiang Mai again since I wrote this post (and I lived in Mexico and shared that cost of living here). These are truly my baseline costs and I have friends who live similar lifestyles, who live/work in the city long-term, and they live simply (and locally) on this budget. It’s about your travel style. I don’t party and I love Thai food, so it’s easy for me to eat cheaply and enjoy the many, many free local festivals that happen monthly around Northern Thailand. And I do spend more money on weekend trips around Thailand to other cities; and I spend many months of travel in neighboring countries … then I come back and settle in Chiang Mai since I am a freelancer and enjoy having a great base in Asia to work and travel from–for me, this is my Chiang Mai.

Have you ever thought about expating/living abroad and what are your fears/hopes?!

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