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Thailand, Here We Come: The Next Leg Of Our Adventure

in Our Financial Journey, Travel

Thailand

Today, Courtney and I wanted to share the next leg of our adventure:  Thailand.

After being faced with a very tough decision, we’ve finalized the following schedule:

  • Courtney will finish out her teaching through Dec. 16th.
  • We will be flying from Auckland to Christchurch, NZ on Dec. 17th.
  • Dec. 17th -> 30th, we will be touring the South Island of New Zealand as planed.
  • On Dec. 31st, we will fly from Christchurch, NZ into Melbourne, Australia.
  • On January 7th, after a week in Melbourne, we will fly into Bangkok, Thailand.

What the…  didn’t you guys just get set-up in Auckland?

Yes, we did.  In fact, we worked very hard to get sponsored for employment, secure a work permit, and adapt to downtown living.

And Courtney’s employment has gone very well.  She loves the school she is at and they had opportunities to offer if we wanted to stay for another school year.  Over the course of the last month or so, we’ve had to decide between three options:

  1. Stay in New Zealand for another full year.
  2. Return home for the holidays and reassess our situation.
  3. Continue to travel to a different country.

All options had positive and negatives.  Staying in New Zealand is only possible if Courtney works full-time in order to have the proper visas.  Continuing to travel is only possible with an increased income and in an affordable country.  And returning home carried a risk (even if small) of not leaving again.

In the end, we decided to rule out committing for another year in New Zealand.  While we’ve honestly enjoyed our time here, there aren’t enough unique benefits to overcome the strengths of being closer to our family, friends, and the increased working opportunities that come from being in the U.S.

But returning to the U.S., even if temporary, wasn’t the perfect solution either.  If monetarily possible, we wanted to try to get a more diverse cultural experience on this side of the world before making the long haul back to the other side.

And so, after much research, reflection, and forecasting we decided to dedicate at least two months to exploring Thailand before returning home or committing another year’s time in New Zealand.

Why Thailand?

Well, it fits nicely for several reasons.

First, it’s a more unique culture experience than either Australia or New Zealand.  Neither of us have been to any part of Asia, so we’d like to see a small slice while we are relatively close.  Thailand appears to be a great gateway to the rest of Southeast Asia.  It’s not too risky, but hopefully will stretch our comfort zone a little.

Second, it’s relatively affordable.  If we needed to (which we may), I could increase my freelancing to fully cover our living expenses (especially in the short-term).  It’s much more reasonable for our mobile income to support our travels there than many other more ‘westernized’ options in this region.

Third, I have some contacts/friends in the area.  For example, Cody McKibben of ThrillingHeroics.com calls the region home and has already spent a considerable amount of time advising me on different issues.  I’ve also talked to a handful of other people who live in Thailand or who will be traveling to the region during the same time.  These connections help us a great deal in making our plans.

How long?  Where to after Thailand?

That’s a great question.  We want to leave it as open as possible as we don’t know what to fully expect.

However, our initial guesses put us staying for two months, before heading to the U.S. in early March.  The visa that looks most desirable last 60 days.  In addition, we are considering heading to Austin, TX for the SxSw conference in March.

Either way, it’s unlikely we stay past April as Milligan turns two years old in the middle of the month.  Those of you that travel with kids know that two years old is a big deal.  In general, she will no longer be considered an infant, nor allowed to fly as a ‘lap seat’.  This will cause our cost for international airfare to increase by a significant amount.

While it’s likely we will visit our family in the spring, we aren’t going to book the flight until we see what Thailand is like.  If we did return home, I imagine that remaining mobile will still be big part of our plans.  We’ve brainstormed what traveling around domestically could look like and have also brought up that neither of us have been to Europe.  Things could get interesting next summer.  ;-)

Help us with planning!

For now though our focus is on our self-tour of the South Island of New Zealand in December.  We also have a week to plan in Melbourne (will probably Couchsurf), which includes New Year’s Eve!  Lastly, we’ll be brainstorming potential spots to hit while in Thailand.

So long story short, if you have any recommendations for us… let them fly!

If you live in or have recently traveled to Melbourne or Thailand please leave your tips, tricks, and can’t-miss experiences below. If you’ll be in either of those areas yourself, we’d love to meet you!

photo by flydime

{ 78 comments… read them below or add one }

LobotoME November 11, 2009 at 10:43 AM

Hi Adam -Sounds like another great adventure!
MeRa & her husband Brian and 2 kids spent several months in Thailand last year – check out her blog posts (especially the trying to extend their visas in thailand saga)…They are photographers so their images are amazing…. http://www.merakohblog.com/category/thailand-adventures/
.-= LobotoME´s last blog ..{ a simple Christmas } =-.

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Baker November 11, 2009 at 2:28 PM

Thanks, Jenny! I’ll be taking a look for sure.

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Simon van Duivenvoorde November 11, 2009 at 10:53 AM

Hey Adam, brilliant adventure and hoping the best for you great adventure.
Regarding the 2 month visa in Thailand; it’s possible to hop to a nearby country (i.e. Laos or Cambodia) en re-enter Thailand and renew your visa. Although this isn’t the best long-term option it’s a great short-term option.

Enjoy, be inspired!

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Baker November 11, 2009 at 2:29 PM

Simon, yeah, I’ve heard form a couple people that this is a realistic option. I didn’t mention it in the post, but we may try to see Angkor Wat before we leave the region over in Cambodia!

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Eric | Eden Journal November 11, 2009 at 11:02 AM

I admire your adventurous spirit! I love reading about people who travel to intresting places, and live there for a while instead of visting for a couple weeks and then heading back home. I’ve read blogs by a few people who have done this recently, and I find it facinating. If I can free myself from my corporate job, I may just strike out on some adventuring myself.
.-= Eric | Eden Journal´s last blog ..The Open Mind Test – Part 3: Our Purpose in Life =-.

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Baker November 11, 2009 at 2:29 PM

Do it Eric! ;-)

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Oscar - freestyle mind November 11, 2009 at 11:35 AM

Hey, good luck in Thailand. I’ll probably visit Thailand next year, I’m so excited about it.
.-= Oscar – freestyle mind´s last blog ..How to Beat the Fear of Change =-.

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Four Pillars November 11, 2009 at 11:48 AM

Sounds great. I agree about the cultural stuff – Australia and NZ are pretty similar to US & Can.

Thailand is plenty safe and you can’t beat the cost of living there. Enjoy!
.-= Four Pillars´s last blog ..Should The Government Bail Out Pension Plans? =-.

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Financial Samurai November 11, 2009 at 12:46 PM

Wow, wow, SWEET! I’ve been to Thailand multiple times and I’m sure you guys will LOVE it! The food is amazing, and the people are great.

Baker/Court – You guys should really think about joining the foreign service. You get to travel every 2-4 years, and all your housing, transportation, and children’s education is paid for. You won’t make big bucks, but the salary will be healthy and you’ll have minimal expenses.

Also, I think it’s important to celebrate but more importantly to recognize there are 131,000 HOMELESS VETERANS IN AMERICA, as today is Veterans Day.

I wrote about this topic today, and I hope everybody can read it and spread the word we have much to do to increase awareness about this problem and help out our soldiers.

Thailand, what a great adventure!
.-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..Why Are There Homeless Veterans In America? =-.

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Baker November 11, 2009 at 2:33 PM

By foreign service, do you mean the military? I strongly considered this before Milligan was born, although not for travel reasons. I think that would be a stretch for us at this point.

However, I appreciate you shining light on the veteran problem. My brother is in Afghanistan right now, so I appreciate servicemen/women even more!

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Financial Samurai November 11, 2009 at 4:05 PM

Awesome Baker. Please send your brother our best!

By foreign service, I mean working for the Department of State, headed by Hilary Clinton. As a foreign service officer, you establish diplomatic relationships peacefully around the world, and help serve your country in the process.

Foreign Service Officers, or FSO’s are also referred to as diplomats, and work out of US Embassies world wide.

I consider Thailand to be relatively safe, however, do know that there is plenty of political unrest there, and the reigning King has been in and out of the hospital this year, causing great consternation to the people. The King is beloved by ALL, and if something were to happen to him, welll…. it’s a tough scenario to imagine.

Best,

FS
.-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..Why Are There Homeless Veterans In America? =-.

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Kate November 19, 2009 at 10:59 AM

I’m a diplomat now, so I may be able to shine some light on this. It’s certainly worth considering, but while the travel part is pretty amazing, there’s a lot of pretty painful trade-offs as well.

Incidentally, I’m also just back from a post in Afghanistan, so this is all pretty close to my heart!

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Buck16 November 11, 2009 at 1:03 PM

The south island is beautiful, Baker. Go for a kayak ride to Split Apple Rock, near Nelson, hike the glacier at Franz Josef, climb the world’s steepest street in Dunedin, etc. I did it on Kiwi Experience, so maybe check out their itinerary to see all the sights, because they truly hit ‘em all.

Information you likely already know – Sydney is the place to be on New Year’s, not Melbourne, although it has a good scene too. Take a bus trip down Great Ocean Road to the 12 Apostles, absolutely stunning, especially if the sun is out (hit and miss because of the ocean).

Take Milligan to Phillip Island Nature Parks (http://www.penguins.org.au/) for the Penguins on Parade – very cute. The Healesville Sanctuary (close to Melbourne) is also very good, and you can get up close with the animals. Sure to be good for the young one (http://www.zoo.org.au/Default.aspx?DN=37,290,Documents).

There’s not much for swimming in Melbourne, and the beach in the heart of the city is for suntanning, that’s it.

Oh, and before you leave New Zealand, have you got Cathedral Cove, black caving in Waitomo (not for baby), Rotorua, Taupo, to the northern tip via Paihi? There’s so much to do so close to Auckland …

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Baker November 11, 2009 at 2:36 PM

Buck,

Thanks for all the fantastic suggestions. We are trying to cover a lot of the internal Auckland activities before we leave, but haven’t explored the North Island almost at all. Our Couchsurfing did take us to the West coast beach and to several of the national parks in the surrounding East cost area.

Finding a babysitter for Milligan plus arranging transportation makes visiting the caves a little more difficult, too. You are not the first to suggest them, so I get the impression that they are really, really neat. Maybe we can still swing this before we leave Auckland area.

Thanks!

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Erica Douglass November 11, 2009 at 1:41 PM

Hi Adam,

I admit I’m a bit envious of your happy-go-lucky travel plans! With my diet, it takes careful planning and consideration and calling around to figure out if I can eat the food in any given place. Usually within the first week of any vacation, I’m guaranteed to get sick, as something that is supposed to be gluten-free isn’t.

Thailand looks like it might be easier than some countries. I’d love an update on the food. (I can’t have anything made with flour or soy sauce — soy sauce is the hard one in Asian countries. Food prep would have to use Tamari instead.)

-Erica
.-= Erica Douglass´s last blog ..Review: Ramit Sethi’s I Will Teach You To Be Rich Boot Camp =-.

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Baker November 11, 2009 at 2:39 PM

Ouch, that would be a tough problem for sure. Although there are certainly parts of Thailand that would be able to easily accommodate you, I’m sure it may rule out an area of two.

I’ll definitely be updating on the cost, taste, and enjoyment of the food. To be honest, it’s one of the things I’m looking forward to most! I love Thai food in general and can’t wait to taste authentic versions!

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Tyler Karaszewski November 11, 2009 at 1:50 PM

So if you head to Thailand for a few months and then back to the US, what’s next? Settle back in at home? Start planning the next leg of the adventure? I guess you’ve still got three more years of possible exploring before your daughter would start school — what are you planning on doing for that, or is it too far away to worry about?

If you head back home after Thailand. How big will your debt be as compared to when you left? How much will you have paid off on your international adventure?

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Baker November 11, 2009 at 2:46 PM

It’s still a little too early to say. As you can imagine, most of this involves around our income source. As of now, my writing and this blog are on a projection to be able to cover our basic needs. In a case like that, we will almost certainly stay mobile, since we already have so little and it’s relatively easy for us.

However, if income was not fully available by spring in this form we might settle in a bit more (or for a slightly longer time). We wanted to give ourselves a year and that timing will work out about right. I don’t necessarily want to delay any progress on our debt for another 2 or 3 years. Hopefully, we’ll have the best of both worlds with a mediocre income that we can continue to build as we move slowly and pay off some more debt.

In that case, it’s likely we will tour the U.S. There are so many wonderful places we haven’t been locally. A year-long (or more) campervan tour where we visit family, friends, and online connections in each part of that States sounds fairly compelling! :-)

Sadly, we haven’t made much progress at all on the student loans as we’ve been paying the minimums and will continue this through April. Maybe a thousand or two at the very most out of 50k we owe. So like I said, it would be nice to up this from $425 (minimums) to around $2000 per month, which is realistic if we a re both working.

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Martin November 11, 2009 at 1:56 PM

Good choice, Matt. I am heading out to Thailand on the 27th of November. Looks like I’ll just miss you by a few weeks. Have fun.

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Glen Allsopp November 11, 2009 at 2:33 PM

Matt?
.-= Glen Allsopp´s last blog ..Project Amsterdam: 2 Years in 2 Weeks (+ Video) =-.

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Baker November 11, 2009 at 2:46 PM

My name is Baker, or Adam, or Adam Baker, or MvD Ruler of the Free World.

Whichever you like best.

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Martin November 16, 2009 at 9:02 PM

Ooops, sorry! I have a friend named Matt Baker, and posted without thinking.

Cheers
.-= Martin´s last blog ..In Praise of Miguel Cotto =-.

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Robert November 11, 2009 at 2:06 PM

Wow, two months in Thailand. Sounds like a blast. A former college professor loved Thailand. Very exotic!

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Glen Allsopp November 11, 2009 at 2:33 PM

I’ll be there myself man so would be good to meet up. Arrive early Feb.
.-= Glen Allsopp´s last blog ..Project Amsterdam: 2 Years in 2 Weeks (+ Video) =-.

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Baker November 11, 2009 at 2:48 PM

If we are both in Thailand for a full month and don’t meet up… well, we’re idiots. As it gets closer, let’s plan on rockin’ out! :-)

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Anthony K. November 11, 2009 at 2:51 PM

Adam, I am truly jealous right now.

Being in the Army limits my, uh, country hopping, but I think it would be awesome to just jump around for a few months.

If you guys do decide to drop into Europe next year, before June, drop me a line. I am sure we could work something out for ya in bavarian Germany ;)

Good luck and I look forward to reading about your journey North :D

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Baker November 11, 2009 at 10:57 PM

Thanks Anthony! And thanks again (especially today) for your service! ;-)

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travis November 11, 2009 at 2:55 PM

I don’t know where you plan on traveling in Thailand, but I would definitely recommend heading up north to Chiang Mai. Northern Thailand has beautiful mountain landscapes. This is a good place to see beautiful waterfalls and jungles…some awesome hikes up there. I spent some time about an hour north of Chiang Mai, close to most of the elephant reserves/parks. For the equivalent of $20 USD at one of these elephant camps, we watched the elephants do a show, spent about 1.5 hrs riding through the jungles on the backs of elephants, an ox cart ride, an all-you-can-eat Thai food buffet, and an hour float trip on a bamboo raft. Incredible day. Northern Thailand is home to many hill tribe villages and many of these villages allow you to stay in a bamboo hut for what was $1 USD/night. Very unique experience.

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Baker November 11, 2009 at 10:58 PM

Travis, we will definitely be hitting Chiang Mai, at least for a while. We’ve heard great things from everyone about it. We certainly wouldn’t mind a little bit of beach life, but would love to see the mountains and jungle too!

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GotPassport November 11, 2009 at 3:10 PM

Nice Leap! So much to see, do and learn in Thailand not to mention all the surrounding countries you could visit and learn about while you are there. Once you are there, literally a hop, skip and a jump with really great airfares or even by bus or boat… You are right, you’ll be surrounded by so many peeps who can be of support to you and family.

Glad to hear you are thinking about Angkor Wat – absolute must see — we loved our trip there. If you can make it, swing by Burma, my home country and let me know when you do I can give tips if needed!!

We won’t move to Thailand until May 2010 due to my daughter’s and my husband (@jackventures) academic schedules. We were in Thailand past summer (June and July 09) for about 45 days, mostly in Chiang Mai and other northern parts of Thailand. I was there in Feb 2008 with my mom and it was already pretty hot. If there are particulars you would like to know about traveling there with a child, give me a shout!

aye
.-= GotPassport´s last blog ..Our Beloved New Orleans Series Part 2 – Rebuilding =-.

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Baker November 11, 2009 at 10:59 PM

I’ll definitely be getting ahold of you guys for family specific info on Thailand!

Glad to hear your experience with Angkor Wat. Cody highly recommended we check it out if at all possible. We will probably be gone by the time you guys get there, but nothing is written in stone!

We’ll be in touch, soon.

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Cody McKibben November 11, 2009 at 3:11 PM

Looking forward to meeting you guys in person, Baker! It’ll definitely be culture shock, but no worries, everyone in Thailand is super relaxed and very friendly for the most part. Plus, I’ll try to cook up some fun things to do while you’re here. ;)
.-= Cody McKibben´s last blog ..The Road “Most” Traveled Is Frickin’ Dangerous Man =-.

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Baker November 11, 2009 at 10:59 PM

Yeah, it’s going to be a blast. Thanks for all your help.

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Foxie | CarsxGirl November 11, 2009 at 3:59 PM

I think I saw you mention Thailand somewhere (Twitter?) so I can’t say that I’m shocked. ;) I’ve wanted to go for quite some time, maybe someday not too far away! (The markets look fantastic. I mean, not that you’d be there to buy anything cool or materialistic and the like. Just good pearls aren’t that expensive and all. :P) The food looks awesome, too.

If you decide to road-trip it back here in the States, definitely hit me up. ;) We’ll probably have moved by then. (Washington state > Arkansas any day, thanks!)
.-= Foxie | CarsxGirl´s last blog ..Are you my passion? =-.

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Baker November 11, 2009 at 11:00 PM

There were a couple hints dropped along the way. ;-)

And, yeah, if we do eventually tour the States I’d love to connect!

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Hunniebun November 11, 2009 at 4:22 PM

Hi Adam, I am a new subscriber to your blog and I love it so far! I read each post with a shade of green (that would be envy). I think that it is so great/amazing/brave that you are undertaking this adventure with a little one! My hubby and I took our 10th month old out for lunch this past week-end and that was nearly overwhelming (not to mention that it cost of 42.56 for quite possible the worst meal in the world…seriously…who deep fries a chicken wrap?) Anyhow, I think that it is wonderful that you are moving on to the next phase of your adventure and I wish you all the best in thailand (yummy food!) Keep up the good work and thank you for the thoughtful discussion…it gives me something to distract me from the thoughts of returning back to work in January (you know…so that I can continue to pay off my mortgage…ugh)

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Baker November 11, 2009 at 11:02 PM

Haha, Hunniebun thanks for swinging by! Glad you are connecting with the site. :-)

Trust us, we know what you mean about even oging out for a meal. We found that Milligan adjusted very well to being on the road though. Kids are really remarkable that way it seems. I hear similar stories all the time from much more experienced travelers.

Deep fried what? ugh…

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Kevin M November 11, 2009 at 4:35 PM

I can’t believe no one has asked this, maybe it’s premature, but do you think your time in Australia & NZ has been worth it*?

*By “worth it” I mean spending time and money to move across the world, not being able to pay down your debt other than the minimums, losing potential income while traveling, and being away from your friends and family for a year?

Maybe I’m reading into it, but it seems like after all the preparation and effort that went in to moving you’re giving it up rather easily. Perhaps it wasn’t the experience you hoped for?

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Baker November 11, 2009 at 11:08 PM

This is a fantastic question. It probably deserves it’s own post and like you pointed out may still be a bit premature to reflect on completely.

The short version? On one hand it’s been VERY worth it. Mostly from the perspective that we proved to ourselves that it was not only possible, but extremely likely if we really wanted to pursue this full-time.

I mean, in the beginning, we had serious doubt about whether it was even feasible to live this type of lifestyle. And there were many times in the first couple months that we thought about going home sooner. So in that respect we’ve grown a ton, learned a lot, and had our eyes opened to some possibilities we didn’t know existed.

On the flip side, especially monetarily, it’s had to determine worth. If we knew this was going to be the eventual outcome, it would be easy to make a list of things we did wrong and money we wasted. Of course, we had no idea, so it’s hard to second guess ourselves.

And I will be the first to admit that our expectations (referring to the ‘what we hoped for’ comment) have not always been realistic. At first we thought we would travel around, work touristy jobs, scuba dive and enjoy some glorious backpacking lifestyle. Obviously (now to us) that’s not the lifestyle. It’s still a lot of hard work like anything. There are extreme highs and senses of freedom combined with frustrating lows (that I’ve documented here).

Even NZ isn’t quite what we expected. It’s not really worse or even better, it’s just different. Far more important to use than lost income or lost debt progress is being away from our families. I’m not sure we’d ever want to settle this far away. Although taking a year at a time to visit and travel slowly may be realistic!

I’ll post more about this once our time has concluded here. :-)

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Casey November 11, 2009 at 4:55 PM

Glad to see you pulled the trigger. I know we spoke some already, but if you have any questions on Thailand or any of the surrounding countries, please let me know. Enjoy! It will be hard not to. Also, get up to Pai and relax for awhile!
.-= Casey´s last blog ..Swimming with Sharks =-.

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Baker November 11, 2009 at 11:09 PM

We will Casey! Thanks for all your help and insight.

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Melissa Lovejoy Goldman November 11, 2009 at 5:11 PM

I know that you asked specifically about Thailand and Melbourne, I wanted to share our time on the South Island with you. We were honeymooning in September during our time in NZ (so you’ll have summer weather where we had winter), but we really enjoyed our time there: http://www.melissa-and-travis.blogspot.com/
.-= Melissa Lovejoy Goldman´s last blog ..Tuesday: Delicata Squash Tacos! =-.

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Baker November 11, 2009 at 11:09 PM

Courtney and I will be checking this out for sure! Thanks for sharing it.

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Greg - Live It with less November 11, 2009 at 5:48 PM

You will love Thailand, definately different experience to Australia and NZ. Beutiful islands, beaches, trekking, the food, and even exploring the streets of Bangkok is an adventure in its self. Practice your haggling skills!!!

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Baker November 11, 2009 at 11:09 PM

Looking forward to haggling as much as the beaches! ;-)

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Steve November 11, 2009 at 5:54 PM

Hey Baker,

Just wanted to say thanks again for the shout out today, and congrats on making the decision to head to Thailand. I had a friend who spent about a month there and she absolutely loved it.

-Steve

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Courtney November 11, 2009 at 6:34 PM

Hi guys:) I just wanted to add since I lived in Melbourne for 5yrs that you should take Milligan to the zoo, it’s a really good one and of course jump on a tram – they are fun and if you can afford it or get the chance drive the Great Ocean Road and see the Apostles, it’s amazing. The penguins at Phillip Island are also adorable, but may be out of your reach. Other than that, Melbourne city is just great to wander around and discover. Enjoy yourselves and best of luck with your next leg of adventure:)

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Baker November 11, 2009 at 11:10 PM

Thanks! We will definitely check out the Zoo. Milli loves animals and she’s a little older now than the last time. I think she’ll really enjoy it.

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Amy November 11, 2009 at 6:53 PM

I have a couple friends traveling the world right now, and they just left where you are and have been in Thailand (right now I think)! You might find some tips on their blog: http://www.jasonswissrtw.com/

I’m getting ready to move to Ireland for a year myself, so hoping to get int’l tips wherever I can, especially from other Americans.
.-= Amy´s last blog ..Thoughts on rabbit rescue =-.

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Baker November 11, 2009 at 11:11 PM

Amy, thanks for the link. I’ll reach out to them and let them know you sent me! :-)

Courtney and I love the idea of Ireland although we don’t know much about it! Just seems like a neat place.

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Shawanda November 11, 2009 at 10:41 PM

I can’t wait to hear how things go in Thailand. I’ve said this before, but man I envy you. I don’t really have anything holding me back from traveling the world. Well, except fear. I’m still looking forward to some overseas travel during the first quarter of next year. I don’t have a clue where I’ll end up. Until then, I’ll live vicariously thru you.
.-= Shawanda´s last blog ..Lean Financial Living =-.

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Money Funk November 12, 2009 at 7:25 PM

Shawanda, I am with you – about living vicariously thru Baker. I think it is fear that sets me back, too.

But set them free! I can’t wait to hear about your up coming travels! :)
.-= Money Funk´s last blog ..20 Ways to Cut Expenses =-.

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L November 13, 2009 at 10:22 AM

You are both so right!! Fear of what if it does not work out?

My husband and I are planning to pay of the bills, save 6 months of income, then travel and see where we end up. This is a few years down the road. I am one of those people who have to be prepared for the worst and always hopes for the best!

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Annabel Candy November 11, 2009 at 11:37 PM

Sounds exciting. Try Koh Lanta and Koh Chang and be sure to visit Apae Akah outside Chang Rai. Incredible man: http://www.akhahill.com/ If you can I recommend Laos too. Overnight train to Lao border then across the bridge to Vientiane. Visas can be costly though, check it out. Very excited for all of you. Thais love kids – they will fawn over Milli:)

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James Little November 12, 2009 at 12:11 AM

I’ve been to Thailand and Cambodia. Angkor Wat in Cambodia is definitely worth seeing, and it’s not far from the Thai border. Also you would renew your visas, if you did wish to return to Thailand.

I hope you like hot weather – remember to factor bottled water into your budget; I probably spent as much on this as I did on food!

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April November 12, 2009 at 12:37 AM

If the Asia travel bug bites, which I am sure it will when you get to Thailand as Asia totally rocks IMHO, there are lots of other places to check out as well. The Phillipines is a great place to visit and really cheap compared to the US, Vietnam is a really happening place and cheap as well, and Japan is great (and really expensive compared to other parts of Asia). Then there is India… Actually there are a lot of great places in Asia and the local airlines are cheaper than the national airlines which helps with the expense of getting around. I highly recommend that you DON’T take the local ferries–you haven’t seen over crowding until you get on a ferry at Christmas time in PI. Check out Jodi’s blog ( http://legalnomads.blogspot.com/) as she has a lot of Asia posts, and Greg’s blog (http://www.vagabondinglife.com/) who recently was in Thailand and Singapore.
.-= April´s last blog ..Credit Card Free AND Car Free…How Weird is That? =-.

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Carmen November 12, 2009 at 1:02 AM

Let me know if you end up in austin in March. That’s my home.
.-= Carmen´s last blog ..Be a SMART ASS and Design Your Best Life! =-.

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Bytta November 12, 2009 at 3:11 AM

Hi Baker,
I’m living in Melbourne with my husband. We, Melburnians, are proud of our art culture, laid-back lifestyle and our coffee!! The galleries and museums are always delightful. We have showcased some (okay, maybe most :)) of the best exhibitions in the country.
The restaurants, the laneways and the hidden bars (you have to be cool enough to know them) are some of the best things about Melbourne. Even my Thai friend once told me that the Thai food in Melbourne tastes better. Don’t believe me? Oh well, you’ll find out soon enough.

A little warning for you and your family, Melbourne is super nasty hot in January (high-30 to low-40 degrees celcius). The sun in Australia is harsher than most part of the world so be ready to slather up in sunblock lotion and wear serious hats (i’m talking about Mexican sombreros here :)).

Oh well, drop us an email. We’ll be happy to show you around.
Cheers :)

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Mr Crash November 12, 2009 at 3:49 AM

I’m a Sydneysider – but currently spend probably a week a month in Melbourne for study.
Considering a move there myself, it’s a lovely city.

Melbourne has the best local music and art culture in Australia. Lovely food too, particularly down in St. Kilda. The trams make it very easy to get around and if you plan your travel, you can buy the tickets in bundles and they’re quite cheap. Small theatrical productions are way more common in Melbourne too – plenty there never get to Sydney.

Bytta is right though, it will be *very* hot around then, particularly if Melbourne has the kind of weather it had last year, where it was more warm than Sydney, then you’ll likely get temperatures even higher than what she’s suggested, we had a few days here that hit 48 and 49 Celsius.

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Money Funk November 12, 2009 at 7:23 PM

Adam, I wanted to refer to this post from MarriedwithLuggage.com – about teaching in schools abroad. Courtney may benefit from the International Schools Review site. Perhaps she can find something in Thailand? ;)
.-= Money Funk´s last blog ..20 Ways to Cut Expenses =-.

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karl November 12, 2009 at 9:38 PM

i’m pretty sure everyone will give you lots of reason why you should visit this place or this island and most likely they are all worthwhile places to go. but getting around…. we lost a lot of time traveling by bus because that was all we could afford on our trip (this was near the end of a 4-month journey) but one budget airline to consider is nokair.com. no frills just cheap flights and they take the local currency so you even save a little bit more that way.

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L November 13, 2009 at 10:19 AM

Wonderful! How great to be starting on a new leg of your adventure! I do like the approach, starting with a country similar in many ways to the US. This gave you a good knowledge base to start off for a counrty so far removed from the US! My husband wants to go to Thailand sometime next year, and I have 3 friends with family over there who could host us. Although it would be for a week or 2 not a few months. I do causion coming back to the US, maybe buy tickets for your next leg of the trip before coming back to the US, this way you do not get to comfortable with life in the US and have it preplanned on how to continue your adventure. ( I have a friend who started to travel and came back to the US for the holiday, 3 years later she is still here and regrets it.)

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Steve Johnson November 13, 2009 at 12:54 PM

Baker,

You might want to check out Thailand, Land of Smiles. The gentleman running the site created it for the purpose of sharing his experiences. He has been there several times.

You should be able to get lots of tips and other useful information from the site.

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Ignacio Kehyaian November 13, 2009 at 1:27 PM

Very nice !!! I´ve been in Thailand in 2004 and have great remembers!!
Bangkook: Khaosanroad is great, it used to be a pub named Gulivers, which is great for travellers.

Kwai River: another must in Thailand, there are floating hotels in the middle of the forest. There is no electricity, you can feed elephants, play football with locals and drink thai whisky.

Islands: the best is food and thai massage!!!! beaches are great also, but imagine that NZ and Australia do also have great beaches. Full Moon party is very famous in Koh Phan gan.

I found it nice travelling by train from Bangkok to the islands during the night.

If you are planning to go to other countries consider going to Vietnam…. it is VERY different, NOT a western country, people do not wear brand clothes, it is all taylor made, transportation is crazy for us, they carry lot of stuff in a bike or motorbike, it is amazing. I still remember going to the beach in Hoi Ann to see sunrise, and surprisingly the beach was full of children doing sports and smiling. Hue was great, Hallong Bay, etc….ufff want to GO BACK !!!

Have a nice trip, and enjoy!!!!!!!!!
.-= Ignacio Kehyaian´s last blog ..Primer donacion fue para ADU =-.

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Little House November 13, 2009 at 10:44 PM

That sounds really exciting! Your posts should be even more fascinating as you become a world traveler. I always wanted to travel, even studied anthropology in school, but haven’t really gotten the opportunity, yet. So, I live vicariously through others, at least for now!

If Courtney is a teacher, she might be able to land a teaching job in Thailand. (someone in a previous comment mentioned this as well.) Good luck in your upcoming journeys.
.-= Little House´s last blog ..Job Recovery in 2010: sounds futuristic, doesn’t it? =-.

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Chase November 14, 2009 at 11:52 PM

Thailand.
Oh man. I’m excited for you, but Thailand was one of those places that I would need to spend more time in before I gave a hearty opinion. My opinion is: I want to go back and try again.

It’s a beautiful country, with beautiful people and culture. (And the food is fantastic!)

I would suggest doing the Touristy things…and then staying far away. I’m sure the country has much more to offer than the standard “sights”.

(If interested, My Thailand Journals are here.)

Good luck, bro! I’m stoked. The cost of living in Thailand is incredible. I’m sure you’ll find it to your liking. And if you don’t, head up North to Taiwan ;)
-Chase
.-= Chase´s last blog ..Addictive Distractions, or How I Re-Learned My Mantra at Disneyland =-.

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Financial Samurai November 17, 2009 at 8:35 AM

Baker – Not sure if you saw and whether the trackback system works, but I sent you a shoutout for this post in my weekly wrap. Whoo hoo!
.-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..The Katana: Favorite Posts of The Week Ending 11/15 =-.

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Jessica the hedgehog November 19, 2009 at 10:29 AM

Hi Baker! I followed your link from GetRichSlowly. :)

Congratulations on your continuing travels! My husband and I went on an 18 month round-the-world trip and it’s one of the most fantastic decisions we’ve ever made. We’ve been home a few years now, but we still continue to travel to several new countries a year. The travel bug never really leaves. :)

We’ve visited Thailand several times for around 5 months total. It’s a fantastic country and, as you mentioned, the perfect gateway country for Southeast Asia. We met loads of folks traveling with their kids who commented how easy Thailand is to travel in with children. Milligan will be a big hit with the Thai folks you meet!

If it helps, we have loads of stories written about some of our time in Thailand on our travel blog. Feel free to check them out for suggestions and/or just the general feel Thailand will give. We also spent time in Laos and Cambodia – in fact, Cambodia ended up being our most favorite country from our entire trip. So if you have time, I highly suggest a few weeks exploring that beautiful country too. Angkor is amazing, but so is the rest of the country too!

I noticed in the comments above that you’re thinking of visiting Chiang Mai which is a lovely choice! They have a fantastic night market, in particular. And if you want an elephant experience while in Thailand, I highly recommend visiting Elephant Nature Foundation which is located near Chiang Mai. It’s a sanctuary run by an amazing Thai woman named Lek. National Geographic named her a Hero of the Planet and Time Magazines named her a Hero of Asia, so her work is highly respected. She rescues previously abused and neglected elephants and gives them room to roam and just be elephants again. The eles at the sanctuary don’t perform circus tricks or give rides (like the majority of the ele places in Thailand), instead you’ll spend an amazing day there observing and interacting (during feeding times and bath time) with the elephants. It will truly take your breath away. And Milligan will love it too! We spent nearly 3 months volunteering there and continue to do so from home too, so it’s a place dear to my heart. I can’t recommend it more highly. :)

Best of luck in your continuing travels! And I’ll definitely be checking back here to read more about your adventures! :)

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Jessica the hedgehog November 19, 2009 at 10:35 AM

D’oh! I messed up the link above to our Thailand stories. Sorry about that! :)
.-= Jessica the hedgehog´s last blog ..Home Again After our Honeymoon! =-.

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Thailand Musings November 20, 2009 at 3:01 PM

Hey Baker!

Just found your site from the ProBlogger review and had to check it out when I heard you were planning on moving to Thailand for a few months. Considering your sense of adventure and love for a bargain :) I know you’re going to simply love Thailand.

I’ve visited over a dozen times in the past 12 years and my wife is a Thai citizen with many friends in Bangkok. If you’re looking for any information at all please feel free to contact me.

I am following a similar path as you, but want to pay off all of my debts before heading out from the U.S. as our plan is to settle permanently in Thailand. Right now it looks as if we’re maybe two years out, and as you can imagine I get more excited the closer it gets. We have also recently found out that we’re pregnant and obviously I need to make plans for the new addition as well.

While I have been pretty good at paying down some substantial credit card debt over the past 2 1/2 years your site has shown me that I can be more detailed in my record keeping and can certainly be more focused in my financial planning. I will be following along here and want to check out both GetRichSlowly and PocketSmith now.

Just want to say thanks for what you’re doing here and let you know that both I and my wife are available and willing to help out with whatever information we can about Thailand.
.-= Thailand Musings´s last blog ..True Thailand Flavor – Bangkok Street Food =-.

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Paul Riddle November 21, 2009 at 3:14 AM

Hello,
this is my first time posting but I’ve really enjoyed reading your site. I’ve been living in Seoul, South Korea for over 3 years now and I must say, if you’re looking for a unique cultural experience as well as opportunities to save money, this is a great place to come to.
Your wife could get a job teaching English and the company she would work for would pay for your housing. In Seoul the transportation system is really top-notch with awesome subway and good bus systems. Lots of people from North America and other English speaking countries come here to pay off their debts. You could check out the Korean job board on this site if you’re interested: http://www.eslcafe.com/. Regardless, have fun in Thailand! I’ve been to Phuket and had a nice time except for getting food poisoning. I think the water got me so be careful. Outdoor vendors may give you a bottle of water but the ice they make might use tap so that’s something to keep in mind.

Paul in Seoul.

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Dan Mitchell November 22, 2009 at 10:39 PM

I live in Chiangmai…email me if you want to hook up!
.-= Dan Mitchell´s last blog ..Pre-Paid Legal Shares Fall 19% In Response To FTC Complaint =-.

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anita November 24, 2009 at 2:14 PM

you should take a cooking class with Pat in Phuket Thailand. she’s highly recommended by tripadvisor.com I went and had the best meal ever…and I made it myself! The mangos are to die for. Have fun!

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Raffael December 1, 2009 at 9:57 AM

I have to admit, this is the first time that I stubled upon your blog (via getrichslowly) and I found the right post :) My wife and I are also going to Thailand for 2 months. We leave on 12th Dec. I just quit my job and also want to try a more mobile lifestyle. If you want, you can contact me via email. We are going to Bangkok, Koh Tao, Phuket, Chiang Mai… basically all around the country.

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Janette December 1, 2009 at 11:15 PM

I am new and have no idea if Courtney is a certified teacher. If she is you might consider teaching (and you substitute teaching) at an American International School. I have several friends who were in the schools in Thailand. I taught in Saudi Arabia and Hong Kong. They offer great benefits and childcare!!! They even send you home most summers.
You might look into The International Educator on line. Recruiting begins in January and usually ends in March….
We did Thailand- bring a mosquito net for the bed- especially for the baby. Don’t go to a regular clinic if you end up with something that requires a needle. Their idea of clean in small towns is much different than ours….
Still have very fond memories of the trip!
Enjoy the travel!

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Dan Mitchell December 2, 2009 at 1:16 AM

I could get you a contact for teaching at International Schools in Chiangmai if you want…
.-= Dan Mitchell´s last blog ..Top 500 MLM Earners, Movers And Shakers List Updated =-.

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Heidi December 5, 2009 at 6:09 PM

Glad to hear you will be going to Thailand! My husband and I have been there 4 times and love it! I recommend Kata Beach on Phuket Island. We spent a month there last December. It is a good place for families to visit. After travelling throughout SE Asia, Thailand is still our favorite. Angkor Wat is amazing, but Cambodia might be a difficult place to take a young child. You can read more about our adventures in Thailand and SE Asia on our travel log: georgeandheidi.net
Happy Travels!

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DanishDave December 19, 2009 at 4:13 PM

Oh yes Thailand is so .. well very Thai. Both the beatches down south and the hills up north is a must see, but Isan (north east) is maybe the least spoiled mass tourism and there is access to both Laos and Cambodia. Down Phi Phi is sooo nice.
If you go to Chain Mai make sure you stay there on Sunday for the big market in the old inner city and AND go to the Garden ( http://www.thegardenchiangmai.com/ ) they have the best live music. You can join the jam session if you are interested. Good luck with it, and I love you blog and the great courage you have to enjoy life without being a slave of the banks who f…..d the world so badly lately.

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