Yesterday, just a week after I announced my big move to Thailand, there was a bit of a complication added to my travel planning…
Ever since I returned from living in Switzerland, I have been longing to move abroad again, this time, more permanently. Though I’ve been in the US far longer than I anticipated, it it did give me a chance to meet some amazing people, have some extraordinary experiences, and save up more money!
I had originally planned to relocate to Latin America, but a recent conversation with my adventurous friend, Cory (be sure to check out his talent on Instagram or some of his past adventures here!), turned me on to the possibility of Asia. Specifically, we discussed how much I would adore Thailand. Though I had always wanted to visit, it was the high price of getting there that turned me off. Well, just a few days after said conversation, a one-way ticket appeared for $560. I was shocked! This was actually cheaper than the tickets I had looked at to Costa Rica and Peru. I stayed up until two in the morning deliberating, then decided to take a leap and buy it. Ever since then, life has been a whirlwind. I quit the day job I’d taken to save up extra funds, applied for an extended visa, and have devoted my time to trip planning.
Anyway, yesterday morning, I found out that the visa regulations have changed in Thailand. My darling friend Laura (Traveling Jersey Girl), who has been strongly considering joining me in Thailand, tagged me in a post on Facebook. The post itself written by a rather frustrated Ryan (Just Chuckin’ It). Lately, he and I have been conversing back and forth about my travel plans, as he’s been in Thailand for the past while. Diverging from his usual posts, which promote expat life in Asia, he wrote, “I must say, today has been one of the most stressful and confusing days I’ve experienced in Thailand. Today, the Thai government decided to cut off all land crossing visas in Thailand and, in August, will be shutting down visa runs by flight too. Information is scattered at the moment, but there seems to be a visa lockdown happening…”
This sudden change has left many expats confused and without any real guidance on proper protocol. For those like Ryan, who were not allowed to leave the country to do their necessary border runs, it seems their only option is to pack their bags and buy a plane ticket. The situation is even more frustrating for the foreign nationals who have been blocked from reentering the country, after already making it over the border. I cannot imagine how disconcerting it would be to wake up one morning, leave my stuff behind and head across the border for an ordinary visa run, just to find out I couldn’t get back in the country! (For more information the visa regulation changes and to stay up to date, visit Thai Visa.)
I’ll be honest, directly after finding all of this out, I had a bit of a freak out moment. My initial, emotional reaction was to go into a fear-based space and take on a scarcity mentality. I thought, “Oh god, a huge portion of my reason for choosing to settle in Thailand was how easy it was to live there and just do frequent border runs! What if I made the wrong decision…” Luckily, I’m blessed with some amazing friends, who spoke with me and really helped put everything in perspective.
Despite my vexation about the changes in regulation, I am thankful I found out before my arrival. At least it gives me a couple of weeks to figure out what the heck I am going to do. Another blessing is that, because the trip came into existence so recently, very little of it was already planned out! Now, all of this does mean that I’d really appreciate the input of those of you who have spent time in Southeast Asia… Here are my two current thoughts:
- I could bounce back and forth between a few countries in Southeast Asia. Though the exact direction the Thai visa regulations will take is unknown, I’m wondering if it will become more “European style” (i.e. you have to leave for 90 days, before you can reenter). If so, my thought is that I could spend 90 day increments in different countries. From what I’ve heard, this would be pretty feasible. So, I’m curious, which countries do you recommend being my other homes and why?
- I could get TEFL certification, upon arrival, and search for a job teaching English. So, I had already been considering this route, especially if I don’t get approved for the extended visa I applied for. I figure being certified, on top of already have a bachelor’s degree, could open up a lot of doors. It would also give me the option of teaching part-time English in Thailand, for the visa, and continuing to work online. Plus, if I ever needed to fall back on the certification, at least I’d have it in my back pocket. Do any of you have experience with finding part-time work, simply for a visa?
Since I hadn’t even uploaded my announcement video on the blog yet, here it is!
I’m afraid the answer will be a bit anticlimactic, haha.