Relocating to Thailand to teach English and start an online business

Episode Description

We often hear great stories of people who moved to the US, but Americans immigrating to other countries, especially Asia. 

This week, we listen to Amanda’s story, who first experienced a new life abroad when she studied in Paris. After graduating from university, Amanda didn’t feel the spark to go back to her country, which is why she was easily encouraged to move to Thailand by someone she just met. Amanda and her boyfriend arrived in Thailand with no job and expectations from the country. 

Some may see this move negatively, but it’s a story that we should also learn from. Life may go well when planned, but there’s nothing wrong with letting yourself explore life and enter into the unknown. Either way, you become a better person when you free yourself from fear and choose to follow your dreams.


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Episode Transcript

Amanda 0:01

So my boyfriend Sean and I, we both bought the one way ticket to Thailand and we did not have a job. We just really just showed up. We bought that flight to Bangkok. And we stayed in Bangkok for about seven days, kind of just adjusting to jet-lag, and kind of recovering from all the amount of work it took to leave the US. And then we knew we wanted to be in Chiang Mai just from the one guy Cal the one that I met in the hospital and said he was moving to Thailand. He was moving to Chiang Mai, and he said he found a job there, so you should be able to do too, so I just believed him.

Daniel 0:39

Hi, everyone, and welcome to episode number 33 of the Emigrant's Life Podcast, where we share stories of people who left their country to chase a better life, and through the stories hope we can find ideas, resources, and motivation to do the same. I'm Daniel De Biasi and my guest this week is Amanda. Amanda is originally from the United States and moved to Thailand after she graduated from university to teach English. She then started her own company called Settling Abroad to help people move and find a job in Thailand. She's been living in Chiang Mai for the last five years and she has no regrets about leaving the US. In this episode. Amanda shares a lot of information and tips if you plan to move to Thailand. She actually made me want to move there after the conversation with her. Which is when everything goes well am I'm actually do it. I've been thinking a lot about moving to Thailand or Bali. It was actually Ray from Episode 23 that planted the idea in my head. If teaching English in Thailand sounds appealing, or you have an online business, this episode is definitely for you. And if you haven't listened to Ray's episode yet, that's another good one you should listen to. Before moving to my conversation with Amanda, make sure to subscribe wherever you listen to your podcasts. It will be great if you leave us a review on Apple podcasts or pod chaser. Oh one more thing, if English is your second language, and you have trouble understanding the conversation, you can find the full transcript of this episode in the show notes at emigrantslife.com/episode33. And now please enjoy my conversation with Amanda.

Hi, Amanda. Thanks for being on the show.

Amanda 2:07

Yeah, no problem. Thanks for having me.

Daniel 2:10

No worries. My pleasure. I'm actually pretty excited to have you on the show. Because I think the listener can learn quite a bit from your story because you're now using your knowledge and experience to help others doing the same thing. In fact, you found that the company is Settling Abroad, which helps other people moving to Thailand, which is where you live now. Right?

Amanda 2:26

Yes, yes.

Daniel 2:27

Let's start from the beginning. you're originally from New York City, when did you decide to leave the US and why did you decide to leave the US?

Amanda 2:35

Yeah. So I left the US in 2016. I decided to move to Thailand to teach English.

Daniel 2:43

So you left to the US. So you went straight to Thailand?

Amanda 2:46

I had studied abroad, my third year of university in Paris, and I studied there for six months. And that really ignited my love for travel and realizing that there's certainly more out there than just the US. So I finished my last year of university. And then I knew I was not ready to go straight to a corporate job. I needed to see more of the world. So I saw that teaching English was a possibility. And I just decided to choose Thailand.

Daniel 3:13

Okay, why Thailand?

Amanda 3:14

So it can be a long story, but I'll make it short. But so while I studied abroad in Paris, I was traveling throughout Europe every single weekend. And one weekend, I chose to go to Poland because I found a flight from Paris for 30 euros round trip. So that's determined where I went. So I went to Poland. And I actually ended up meeting someone in a hospital. And he said he was working on his TEFL, which is the teach English as a foreign language certificate. And he was working on that and going to then move to Thailand. So halfway through my study abroad, I was like, Oh, great. So there's opportunities for me to work abroad, because it's been great studying abroad, but I'm definitely going to need some money after school. So I kept in touch with him for about a year and just decided to buy one way ticket to Bangkok.

Daniel 4:05

Okay, so you're like pretty decided that you didn't want to live in the US. You wanted to go to Thailand, or at least he wanted to do some experience abroad, right?

Amanda 4:14

Yes, exactly.

Daniel 4:15

And, you now, being in Thailand for five years, roughly, right?

Amanda 4:19

Yeah, yeah, it's almost about five years.

Daniel 4:21

So why did you decide to stay in Thailand and not try something else?

Amanda 4:26

Um, I've been able to travel my five years living here. So Chiang Mai in Thailand has been my home base. But I've had the opportunity to visit many other countries in Southeast Asia and on other continents around the world. But Thailand just has my heart. It's my home. Thai people are so generous and wonderful. It's so safe here. You don't hear anything about people's house getting broken into or getting something stolen. It's really like they lost something and then they'll get it back. So in Thailand, yeah, people don't steal things, they return things, which is just unbelievable and amazing. And also the community of foreigners that live here from all over the world has really helped me ground here and stay to meet other people doing their own businesses and you know, really following their dreams and loving life here. It's really positive living in Thailand.

Daniel 5:23

So you say it's a safe country, which is correct me if I'm wrong, usually the stereotype is it's not like a super safe country or is it just in certain cities?

Amanda 5:30

Well, it depends who you speak to. And maybe a mom might think that Southeast Asia is scary for their child to go live in forever. But really, I've never felt safer in Thailand and living in New York City. I've always felt safe in New York City. But now when I go back and visit, I don't feel as safe because I realized just I'm my bubble of Thailand, and people are really wonderful here. Yeah.

Daniel 5:56

Did you learn the language or you just didn't have to learn the language to to live in Thailand?

Amanda 6:01

I'm still learning like it Thai is a very difficult language. Yeah, Thai is a very tough language. So I've been learning people have the opportunity to get a Thai education visa to learn Thai for a year. I've never done that, because I've had my business set up in Thailand. But I'm really looking forward to learning more like I've had a private teacher come to my house once a week. But really, it's practicing the conversation. And even though I'm here, Thai's a very difficult language, because it has five different tones, as a lot of Asian languages do. So one word can mean five different things depending on the sound you put at the end of it. So it's quite challenging, but I'm going to keep learning because I know it will only help me and I want to connect more with the locals and keep connecting with them. But yeah, you don't need to know Thai to move to Thailand.

Daniel 6:52

Does that mean that Thai people speak fluently English or?

Amanda 6:55

Thai people definitely speak English. Of course, it depends where you're located. Like in the major cities, like in Bangkok, and Chiang Mai. Of course, there's more tourism. So people speak more English in the more rural areas of the country, it certainly is harder. And when people live in more rural areas, you know, the foreigners usually will become fluent in Thai because they're kind of forced into it. So there's that many different experiences that you could have living in Thailand as there is when you move to any country, you know, you can choose to live, be in a homestay. So then you learn the language and get to know a family. Or you can be in a bigger metropolitan city and meet other foreigners as well. But yeah, speaking English, you're still able to connect to the locals. But of course, it's helpful, like, my Thai is fluent enough to get around to order food to go shopping. And the one thing that's great about Thailand is they really appreciate when you do speak Thai, they're way too nice. Like you say one sentence and, you know, you get a whole applause. They're so happy and like, Wow, such good Thai and it's like, please don't give me that much credit. But it is it is positive. It's good to once you learn something that you can go try it, and people are willing to help you out and understand what you're saying.

Daniel 8:11

So when you decide to move to Thailand, you pretty much already add a job, I guess when you decide to move?

Amanda 8:17

No actually. So my boyfriend Sean and I, we both bought the one way ticket to Thailand, and we did not have a job. We just really just showed up. We bought that flight to Bangkok. And we stayed in Bangkok for about seven days, kind of just adjusting to jet lag and kind of recovering from all the amount of work it took to leave the US. And then we knew we wanted to be in Chiang Mai just from the one guy Cal the one that I met in the hospital and said he was moving to Thailand. He was moving to Chiang Mai. And he said he found a job there. So you should be able to do too, so I just believed him. And we just started interviewing. It took me about two months to get my first teaching job because we came in the middle of the school year, kind of the beginning of the middle like in Thailand, the school year starts in May. And we got there in July. So usually, you know, teachers just started and aren't leaving their job yet. My boyfriend was able to find a job because they had one science teacher position available and his background is in science. And I had to wait a little longer to find one. But it was fun. The two months without the job first, I was really just able to sit at cafes explore and see the Thailand that I decided to move to and I've been thinking about for at least a year. So yeah, I found a job eventually. And really why I started helping people find jobs in Thailand, which is one of the services my company provides is because it's helpful to know what you should be getting paid as a teacher and what type of packages you should have like at a teaching job. You should certainly be getting a visa and a work permit and be paid like a minimum of $1,000 a month. You know, there's certain things and paid vacation you should be getting. So when I found that my first job on my own, it wasn't perfect, and I didn't get paid as well as I should have been. So I eventually found a job that I really loved about like six months into Thailand. But I decided to make my company so people can arrive in Thailand and have the perfect setup already.

Daniel 10:21

Okay, so you started the company fairly quickly, when you move to Thailand?

Amanda 10:25

I basically had the idea three months into being in Thailand, because I was the happiest I've ever been. And I knew people thought we were crazy for doing it. But everything worked out so well. So I wanted to really try to help others be able to do what we did, and really like live their life, follow their dreams and be happy, because teaching English really opens up so many doors. Like if you teach English in Thailand, you might do it for a year, you might do two for two, some people are still doing it 10 years later, that's great. But what I really try to help people understand is, it just really puts you out of your comfort zone, and you get paid for it. And you're helping out the country and helping out people. So it's a really great opportunity to just start something, start a new life somewhere and just wait to see what opportunities open for you.

Daniel 11:18

Let's talk a little bit more about teaching English in Thailand. Do you need any qualification to teach English in Thailand?

Amanda 11:25

So you need a bachelor's degree at minimum, it can be in any subject doesn't have to be in English or on education. And that can be from any country. It depends on the school, Thailand, does like to have native English speakers for most of their teaching positions. However, many schools do all also offer positions for non native teachers. And I can help as well non native English teachers find a job in Thailand. But yes, you at minimum need a bachelor's degree,

Daniel 11:55

Okay. And that's to teach English in a school or to teach any class in a school?

Amanda 12:00

To teach any class. The reasoning behind that is to get the work visa and work permit, it's required that you have a bachelor's degree. So even if you are teaching like physical education in a school, they would still require that you have a bachelor's degree because you need to get the visa to legally work there.

Daniel 12:18

So technically, if you have like a bachelor, you can teach science, for example, in a school in Thailand?

Amanda 12:23

Yes, exactly. those positions for like other subjects like math, science, computers and things. Those are readily available in schools, but there's usually only one position. So those are available, but there's not as many options available, because there's just not as many of them. So the English teaching jobs a school will have you know, like 30 positions, and then they'll just have one or two for science.

Daniel 12:49

Does that mean the kids in school they're learning in English?

Amanda 12:53

It depends on the school. But so some schools that have more focus English programs, so they will have their English classes, and then they might have science in English, but then they will also have science and math in the Thai language as well. So then they'll have Thai teachers for the other subjects.

Daniel 13:11

Okay. And you said that people will usually come to Thailand, they can try for a year or they some people stay longer than 10 years. How is it to stay in Thailand, if you're an English teacher, or a teacher in general?

Amanda 13:22

Um, it's very easy to stay in Thailand as a teacher because of the visa really, if you choose to keep teaching in Thailand, then you can get the teaching visa, there's after about five years, they require that you get a special teaching license in Thailand, it's not very expensive. It's a little time consuming. But some schools require that. But technically, you could be teaching in Thailand for as many years as you want and be secure with a visa and it's of course a nice having a salary every month as well.

Daniel 13:52

Okay. And because Thailand is such a cheap country to live, I guess the pay is is related to the cost of living.

Amanda 14:00

Yeah

Daniel 14:00

If you make money in Thai in how you call the?

Amanda 14:04

Baht

Daniel 14:06

So if you make your living in Baht, do you make enough money to travel and go back to see your family every once in a while or people have to be like you started your own company to be able to afford that kind of lifestyle?

Amanda 14:18

So you make about 1000 US dollars a month teaching at a private school. So that would be if you're not a specialized English teacher. So if you do have an education degree and a teaching certificate, you could make up to 3000 like 3000 to 4000 US dollars a month, which is incredible, because you'd work in an international school. But for most people who are just looking to teach in Thailand and don't have an education degree, you make about 1000 US dollars a month, which is plenty in Thailand, living in Bangkok on $1,000 a month, you wouldn't save much money. in Chiang Mai you're able to save some money and it depends on your lifestyle, of course. But $1,000 is really comfortable for a single person living on their own. Because your rent, you shouldn't be paying more than $200 a month. And that would be living on your own in a studio apartment with plenty of space, air conditioning, everything that you could need for $200. For food, you don't have to spend that much money either because Thai food is $1. And that's not an exaggeration, like a Thai dish is $1. So it depends how you eat because of course, Western food here is available, especially in Chiang Mai, the western foods very good. Like, I have a pizza place because there's an Italian restaurant owned by an Italian guy, and it's wonderful. There's Mexican restaurants. It's amazing. The foreigners living here from all over makes the food incredible, as well as the local Thai food. But of course, if you get a pizza, it's about $6 versus the Thai food for $1. So it depends how you live. And that's how you can save money. But one thing when people especially have student loans, or they're really looking to travel and save money, I always suggest that people teach English online as a side job. Many people are teaching English online as their full time jobs now. But if you're teaching in a school, you could maybe teach like two hours online a night and even save an additional $1,000 a month or something for your upcoming trips. When I was first teaching, I did that. I taught English online about 15 hours a week. And then I was able to visit New Zealand and Australia on my summer vacation for a month and I was able to have enough money for that. So definitely if you're intentionally trying to save money for something, there are ways to do it.

Daniel 16:39

Okay. Yeah, no, may make sense. Thanks for the tips.

Amanda 16:41

Yeah.

Daniel 16:42

How often do you go back to see family in the US?

Amanda 16:45

Well, before COVID, I would see my family like two times a year, it's really important to me to see my family and see my friends at home because I love the my life here and I love how everything's going. But I never wanted to jeopardize my connections, my family and my friends. So I try to make it easy on everyone as possible. But my family's been amazing. They're always willing to travel and meet me somewhere. So like two years ago, we all met in Portugal for Christmas, the year before that they visited Thailand. And then the year before that I went to the US for Christmas. I sometimes go to the US in the summer. But yeah, because of COVID. And everything being closed and not being able to travel. This is the longest I haven't seen my family or been home. It's a full year now.

Daniel 17:32

Yeah, COVID definitely made our life much harder to see our family for sure.

Amanda 17:36

Yes.

Daniel 17:37

Do you have any regrets about leaving the US?

Amanda 17:40

No, none. And especially with COVID-19 happening, it just shows more and more how precious every day and every moment is. And that's really how I've been living my life forever. But especially since I studied abroad, just being able to enjoy the simple moments, live in the moment because you know, you are guaranteed every day. So that's only made that more apparent. And I'm really grateful to have been in Thailand during this COVID-19 time because they've really managed to keep it under control. And we've still had, you know, been able to have a very good 2020. And most countries haven't been able to say that.

Daniel 18:18

Yeah, so the current situation there is not too bad?

Amanda 18:21

No, it's not too bad. Yeah, Thailand officially had like the first case from Wu Han, because their direct flights from Wu Han to Thailand to Chiang Mai. And the first outbreak wasn't so bad. But basically, you know, we had locked down for a month and a half. And, you know, there's a lot of considerations. I'm not a scientist, but anyway, in Thailand, people are compliant, they wear masks in Asia, in general, people were wearing masks, you know, just if you have a cold before there was ever a pandemic. So people are very, you know, aware of others in Asia. And it's important, you know, it's less individualistic and much less selfish. So, you know, as a collective team, Thailand has done very well in handling it. And if there's whenever there's outbreaks or anything, people are immediately compliant, so I think that's a big reason in how it's been okay, here.

Daniel 19:12

Okay. You know, it makes total sense. Other country, even in Asia, they're doing well and probably because of the same circumstances.

Amanda 19:17

Yeah, exactly.

Daniel 19:19

Well, what's the biggest upside for you to be an immigrant and to leave your country?

Amanda 19:24

I would have to say the freedom of living your life how you choose? It definitely helps because it's not just because I live in Thailand this way, because now I have my own business and I am not tied to nine to five. But it's really just the freedom of, you know, choosing, designing your life choosing how to live day by day by yourself and not really being worried about how others might think of you or Yeah, I'm just I'm very present every single day and I'm grateful for everything. So that's really what's made my life here so wonderful. And yeah, I have no regrets. I'm so happy. I did it as early as I did. Yeah, I moved to Thailand when I was 22. Yeah, I turned 22 my second day in Thailand, and absolutely no regrets.

Daniel 20:17

So yeah, it's pretty, you were pretty young.

Amanda 20:19

Yep.

Daniel 20:20

Do you think you would be able to start your own company even if you were in the US? I'm not saying the same kind of business. But what do you think you have the chance to do it?

Amanda 20:28

Yeah, that's a great question, I would not have done it at the speed that I was able to do it here. I think that's a big thing. It Well, that's a huge reason I'm able to do my company and live in Thailand is because I never had the extreme financial pressure that I would have had, if I tried to work just for myself in the US, I would have had a lot of pressure to just have the money to pay rent to feed myself and most likely wouldn't have been as creative and patient in my approaches to my business. Here, I only have to make a certain amount of money to pay my rent, pay my food. And that's covered with less than one client basically. So life here is great. And yeah, and it's complicated to be able to legally work in Thailand and set up your own business. But it's still less complicated than it would be in the US. Like, for example, last year, Loi Krathong is the lantern festival in Thailand, beautiful lanterns, I had river cruise event, which was the first big event I did. It was two nights 30 people each is this river cruise, three course meal, unlimited alcohol, it was a really fun event. But anyway, having an event in the US, you would have had to book something really far out have to have a certain amount, you know, people insurance, all these things. But here, it's much more simpler. There is red tape in setting up your company. But there's a lot more freedoms once you can legally work here, there's a lot more opportunities and things you can do.

Daniel 22:01

And that's just because it's the cost of living is so cheap in Thailand that makes it easier to leave and more enjoyable to leave or just the culture itself?

Amanda 22:10

Yes, definitely the cost of living. And the cost of living makes it easier to forget the nitty gritty of being able to set up a company. But then of course, what's kept me here too, is the culture. Thailand is extremely cheap. And I love that about Thailand. But if that was the only reason and the locals weren't kind and a great culture, and it wasn't safe, that I'm sure I wouldn't have stayed. There's plenty of cheap places to live in the world. But you have to have some other parts of the package to make it worth it.

Daniel 22:38

Oh, totally.

Amanda 22:39

Yeah.

Daniel 22:39

And even then I remember when I went to Thailand, even when I was there on holiday, so you can't really compare like a holiday with living in the country. But at the same time, I didn't have to worry about money, how much things have cost, we'll just spend money. And we'll just live like a rich person, even for just a couple of weeks. When you're moving abroad, debt factors is pretty important that you don't have to be worried about money, because you said you couldn't work for a couple of months, they're in another country where you have to pay your rent, you have to pay for your expenses, you know, working for two months can be quite difficult, while maybe in Thailand, especially if you have some money saved in the US dollar, you can live comfortably for a couple of months without working.

Amanda 23:19

Absolutely. And the reason I came up with my program and services as well, is because yes, it everything is so cheap. But when you first moved to Thailand, you definitely can like throw away money that you shouldn't have, like when I first moved here, you know, like, everything's $1. And then suddenly those dollars do add up. I remember like withdrawing from the ATM for the third time over, you know, course of like two months. And I was like, wow, yes, that was cheap. But that was still money. Yeah, because one big thing is like, you can get a Thai dish for $1. And you should be but then you can also get a Thai dish for $4 at a certain place, and it might not be worth it. So that's the kind of thing that I like helping people with when they first move here to kind of explain how much you should be paying for things. Because there are imported grocery stores which are wonderful when you're living here for so long. Like you know, I'm able to buy pasta sauce and like sour cream and other random imported products and which is nice and I'm able to cook things I miss at home. But it actually is more expensive to cook in Thailand than it is to eat out. which is not the case in most places. Everything's backward here in the best ways possible. So and I love explaining that to people so actually, like, don't cook and someone's like really? Yes, don't cook, go out and go get yourself lunch. Okay. Yeah, so and especially like as rent goes here, you know, you can pay $1,000 a month and rent if you wanted to. There's a place for that here, it would be like a mansion. But still, it's like realizing the value and what you're paying for, because an apartment could still cost $600 a month, and maybe it has a shared swimming pool. But then the same apartment without that pool is $200 a month. So you have to really think it's like, well, maybe I should just start out with this cheaper apartment, and then visit a resort or a hotel pool, and then just pay entrance for that. So it's good to consider what you need in the beginning. And I like helping people do that. Because those beginning couple months that you can really blow the money that you might have saved as your safety net. So it's like, maybe you have that money, you worked really hard for it. So maybe save that for traveling and figure out your monthly expenses right away.

Daniel 25:45

And do you think like, if you want to save some money at the beginning, do you have to like a downsize your life? Or you can just live a normal life like do we have to live in in a bad place to save money or just a normal place that you will find in another country we'll find in Thailand for quite cheap.

Amanda 26:00

No, exactly. Like the best part is you can live really comfortably and then still save money. So like $200 is a studio apartment by yourself like no roommates. So that might be wherever you're from Europe, US. Like you might have never been able to live on your own and pay rent. So you can live on your own for $200, which I don't know many places that you can pay rent and to not have roommates for that amount of money especially.

Daniel 26:27

Exactly. Yeah. Especially North America.

Amanda 26:29

Yeah, exactly.

Daniel 26:31

You make me want to move to Thailand.

Amanda 26:33

I can help you do that.

Daniel 26:36

You make it sound like Thailand is super easy. But did you have to face any challenges when you move to Thailand?

Amanda 26:42

Um, the way I went into moving to Thailand was that I had no expectations, which I believe is a huge part of why I've been able to live here for so long. Is that really I went in with no expectations. So when I moved to Thailand, I had not ever been to Asia. So I'm saying I'm moving to Chiang Mai. So then when I arrived in Chiang Mai, it was kind of like, Okay, great. This is it. I wasn't trying to change anything. I wasn't like wishing there was more of something. So basically, like everything that happened, I was pleasantly surprised about, I just didn't have the expectation. So that's a really easy way to set yourself up to going to live somewhere. So the challenges in the beginning, were certainly like, figuring out how I will save money, like the first like six months definitely didn't have much money because also I just graduated from university, I didn't have loads of money to begin with. So I definitely spent that safety net in the beginning. So for the first few months, I was like solely living on the teaching salary, which was still completely fine. So it definitely took me some time to figure out how to save money. And really like challenges wise, I kind of just like, took them like I started my company. And because I knew I wasn't going to teach English forever. And I set up my company while I was teaching English. So because I knew it would take some time to do the legal work to set up the company. And then I knew getting the visa through the company would be tough. I mean, getting the business visa through your company is a process but you just have to be patient with it. Like at first I got a three month visa and son of the year one I wanted and I had to specifically go to Penang, Malaysia to get it. So I did do two trips to Penang to only get three month visas and pay money for the paperwork and things. But eventually once I got my one year visa and kind of figured out the legalities and all how Thailand works, they got easier. But really the any slight challenges I had, I just took it as an experience to now make everyone else's experience much easier to live in Thailand set up a company because now I can help people set up their own companies in Thailand. And I think it's really important to have a foreigner kind of holding your hand through it because you do sign a lot of documents in Thai and you kind of go into things quite blindly and and any lawyer you hire, most likely they can't do the hand holding that you need as a foreigner to understand how to do business in Thailand. So that's how I started my company to just really help people make it all easier because it was definitely challenging and hard for me at times. But I've learned what it takes and now I'm helping people from day one know how to do everything correctly and easiest for them so they can just follow their dreams and live in Thailand.

Daniel 29:33

Yep, if it was too easy, you wouldn't have a business.

Amanda 29:36

Exactly. Exactly.

Daniel 29:38

Do you feel lucky to be an immigrant?

Amanda 29:40

Oh, absolutely. I mean, I'm very privileged just having a US passport in general that allowed me to just show up in Thailand and then get a visa because yeah, where are you from? You know the weight of your passport and being an American even though how America is it's still have to be so grateful for that passport it allows you to go anywhere in the world and stay places like in Chiang Mai. There's actually a US consulate so then what my passport filled all my pages, you know, filled up from all my travels, I was able to just renew my passport in Chiang Mai it and it just my new passport was sent in three weeks. I remember getting my passport at the post office in New York City, and what our process of months that was, and then just in Chiang Mai, I have everything that I need. So yeah, I'm grateful. And I'm very, very lucky that I am able to live my life and I'm healthy enough to do this.

Daniel 30:38

Yeah. But for the listeners that don't know particularly well, Thailand. What's the difference between Chiang Mai and Bangkok? Or why did you pick Chiang Mai instead of other cities in, in Thailand?

Amanda 30:50

So Chiang Mai and Bangkok are the two biggest cities in Thailand, Bangkok is largest. And Chiang Mai is basically a medium sized city surrounded by mountains. So it's really wonderful. Like, I haven't been able to come up with the city to compare it to, basically in Chiang Mai, you can get anywhere in 20 minutes. So the main transportation in Thailand is motorbikes and it's really quick and cheap and easy to get around in a motorbike or in a car in like 20 minutes you can get to anywhere in the city, which is so amazing. Like, from being from New York City, and living in Paris and loving Paris, I thought I only really liked major cities. But I realized the real value in like smaller and medium sized cities. It's really comfortable to live here and to see your friends and figure out where to live. Because in New York, someone I would consider as a best friend, they would still live almost an hour and a half away on the subway, and we'd be so busy with their jobs, we'd see each other like once every four months, which is crazy. But here in 15 minutes, I can pretty much be at any of my friends doors, and we're all relaxed. We made our money in the few hours that we work, and yeah, it's just calmer life here. But Bangkok is wonderful too. I really enjoy visiting it. I would never want to live there. I could live there if I had to. But skyscrapers and you know, city life isn't the reason why I moved to Thailand. But Bangkok has a lot to offer for people and if you teach in Bangkok, you get higher salary, but the cost of living is higher. But yeah, Chiang Mai is cheaper than Bangkok. And Chiang Mai also has its own International Airport, which is really great. So you can fly from Chiang Mai direct to a lot of Southeast Asian countries to

Daniel 32:44

Oh really? Cause I remember when I flew to Chiang Mai I have to go through Bangkok for some reasons.

Amanda 32:49

Yeah, it's a bit they're opening up some flights. I mean, post COVID as well. But yeah, now they have some flights like Chiang Mai to Hanoi. I think even Chiang Mai to Samui as well. There's a few options but yeah, otherwise you go through Bangkok too. But at least in Chiang Mai, you can also get direct flights to the beaches to the south of Thailand. So in one hour, you can get from Chiang Mai to Krabi and then be on the beach so.

Daniel 33:15

because Chiang Mai is not the classical Beecher Did you will think about Thailand is not on the ocean. There's no beach but there's a lot of outdoor I remember when I went there, there's like so many activity you can do. There's mountains, the jungle, no far away. There's so much you can do and just an outdoor which, for me for my personal preference. I will prefer living in Chiang Mai because of that, just because for what you describe is it's a city, but it's not too big. And there's this outdoor that you can do.

Amanda 33:43

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. If you're into hiking, bike riding anything, everything's around, yeah, there's mountains everywhere, which is really wonderful. And yeah, might not be the exact image of Thailand. If you think Thailand is just a beach, but actually, this is the best part about Thailand. Of course, I'm biased, but you know, if you like mountains, Chiang Mai is a wonderful place to be. And it's nice that like, of course Chiang Mai is touristy. I mean, ever the whole world tourism. We'll see how that changes post COVID and how everything but you know, Chiang Mai is not just set up for tourists like it's a small city and there's no just tourist attractions you know, just for tourists. It's nice that the mountains are there you appreciate what's already around you're not trying to make things artificial or Yeah, cuz sometimes at the beach like it's wonderful. You have the beach but then you know, it's set up specifically for tourists and you know, locals are only living there just to make money from tourists. So it's nice that Chiang Mai it's like locals. No, this is their home. It's still their choice and living here and it's beautiful nature.

Daniel 34:48

And for the listeners that are interested to move to Thailand to move maybe to move to check my Do you have any advice? For example, do you think this could be easier for somebody to Doesn't want teach English or you reckon that teaching English is the first step you should do when you move to Thailand?

Amanda 35:06

Teaching English does not have to be the first step because many people just either have no interest in teaching English or you know, don't have the qualifications don't have the degree. So Chiang Mai is also very popular because of the digital nomad community. So many digital nomads are living here and working at all the wonderful co working spaces. There's so many meetups, really Chiang Mai is so wonderful because so many foreigners are living in Chiang Mai and you know, living their dream life. So one of my favorite things about the community as well. When I was first setting up my company, I really needed to talk to some people who have set up companies before so there are plenty of people around willing to just have a cup of coffee chat, like take a look at my website give me some feedback just from their experience. And the range of foreigners living here are from all over like I'm one of the youngest like a lot of people that I consider friends here are in their 50s one of my great friends Jennifer here she's in her late 70s like here like people are just living here to be happy and give back to others and share their knowledge and ages and it really is really just a number so really no matter how old you are where you are in life moving to Chiang Mai there are opportunities for you.

Daniel 36:22

Awesome, and if people wants to find out more about you and what maybe they related with your story you have any question how people can find you?

Amanda 36:31

Yeah, so my website is settleinabroad.com. Instagram is Settling Abroad. My name Amanda Gedney. That my Instagram is amandalgedney. And we can share everything else on the show notes I'm sure but my email is [email protected]. Basically, search settle and abroad and you'll find me

Daniel 36:52

Awesome. Perfect. Yeah, definitely everything is going to be in the show notes and on the website emigrantslife.com for people that can find you more easily. Awesome. Thank you very much. Thank you very much, Amanda, for taking the time to share your story and give us some advice and some tips to move to Thailand moving abroad.

Amanda 37:10

No problem. Thanks so much for having me.

Daniel 37:12

Well, it was my pleasure. Thank you so much.

Amanda 37:14

Welcome

Daniel 37:16

Bye

Amanda 37:16

Bye.

Daniel 37:18

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