Replies: 13 - Last Post: Jan 1, 2012 9:31 PM Last Post By: redyelruc
Dec 31, 2011 1:59 PM
vagabonding dreamsHey guys,
So me and my partner are selling everything we own, and in september flying one way to thailand, travelling south initially, then back up towards laos, cambodia and the greater mekong. volunteering and working our way along, we are certainly not work shy!
We are not just planning on a travelling experience, but rather, changing our lifestyle, vagabonding if you will. We have plans to see much of the world but certainly will not be rushing ourselves as we have the rest of our lives. southeast asia is definitly where we want to start and we are trying to gather as much advice and information as we can before we go.
We are currently working our arses off and saving like mad. This isnt a gap year and money needs to go a long way, as we have no real plans on returning to the uk. We have been looking extensively into eco projects and volunteering. Along the way we will need accommadation in exchange for our hard work, however we very much want to be a part of the cultures we are involved in whilst giving as much back as we can.
we would love to hear from anyone who's had, having or planning on similar experiences with any advice, tips or just stories
looking forward to hearing them
Rob and Sophs xxx
Dec 31, 2011 3:01 PM
1Sounds like a great trip you are planning. I think you are making a wise decision starting in Thailand. It is a little easier to get "Asiafied" there than in some other countries.
Once there, stay connected to this forum. There is a lot of experience here about the places you want to go.
As for the volunteering there are a lot of hoops to jump through, work permits, visa restrictions, and ,undoubtedly much more red tape.There have been reports of scams taking advantage of well meaning would be volunteers. If you don't set it up before arrival, you may have to content yourself with a series of small informal kindnesses to make a difference.
I'm sure it will be the trip of a lifetime.
Dec 31, 2011 4:02 PM
2Vagabonding maybe ? Dreaming YES! Your intentions sound good but i don,t think you quite understand as of yet as to what your getting yourself into. Read up on this site first about volunterring in Thailand or Southeast Asia. You are going to get an ear full. Second there are numerous scams to deal with here. Many have this pie in the sky idea to drop their entire life back home for whatever reason and relocate here. Not a good idea. There are numerous hoops to jump through, MUCH to learn, and i think your asking for a very big disappoint which you suddenly decide to just jump off a cliff and relocate here. I would at the very least come here for a month and just check things out. Even then you are barely taking your first steps. Thailand is no longer the fairy tale land of Siam you may have seen on some Saturday morning fantasy cartoon movie. Do your research about the NUMEROUS scams you will encounter the momen t you step off the plane. Learn to speak thai if this is where you may decide to settle. Check on all the visa hassles you will have to deal with. Here they can change by the moment for no reason. Learn about health issues, the food, the super dodgy and rude tourists you will encounter. That is a real wake up call for many alone. The tourist slums you will encounter. There are some nice places to live but they are disappearing fast. How much time do we have today? I am sure you have many more question and hundreds of issues you have not even thought of yet. As i said this is not fairy tale land and is not for the meek nor the brain dead. Like i said your going to get a ear full from many points of view. Hopefully your question won,t turn into a typical battleground once the others express their various points of view. Besides i need more coffee and time to chew on this. Drop us a line any time.
Dec 31, 2011 9:15 PM
Jan 1, 2012 12:15 AM
Along the way we will need accommadation in exchange for our hard work
The best sensible advice (which you can follow without needing to make the mistakes first) is to ground your dream in the practicalities of being in a foreign country, visas, permits, etc. Many people in your position end up spending their first 'jump' just travelling because they need that basic experience of just being somewhere. And living in a foreign country is no walk in the park either and your wish
Now, about volunteering and
So,overall, nothing wrong with the dream of lifestyle change .. it's possible. The trick, however, is to keep hold of the dream while you get yourself educated in the ways of the world.
Jan 1, 2012 12:52 AM
5Again i said they are dreaming ! Harsh words and that is what is needed in this case. Your chances of surviving on the first try are about nil. I forgot to mention about the one way ticket. Really bad idea. One you might be asked when you arrive for a return ticket. Also i forgot to give more details on some other issues. sorry not enough coffee nor sleep last evening. ( Had nightmares of a drunken tezza pounding on my door.) You will learn soon enough who this guy is. Has some good advice but at times i think he enjoys watching newbies walking right into a trap. This is not some fantasy land out of the movie The Beach or The Quiet American You had better have a very good plan B. You are in for many let downs if you think you can survive cheaply and trading work for room and board. That is not going to happen period. Don,t burn your bridges back home. To be very honest I give you a less than 10% chance of making it here on your first try. As i mentioned spend a month OUTSIDE of a typical tourist slum and see if you can make it. There are expats who have lived here for years that can barely speak more than a few words of thai and still do the LP spin (lost) without either a thai bargirl or by some huge stroke of luck a thai girlfriend. Even then his chances are good of having his bank account cleaned out in the end. Just too many scams to deal with,visa issues,being seen as an outcast, etc, etc, etc. I don,t wish to totally ruin your fantasy. I am not saying its impossible just not very likely. I have taken numerous chances in my life and have made it. Also i have had some failures but even then i had a escape plan. Its hard enough just coming here on a short vacation. Many are taken advantage of within a very short period of time and then their screwed. So really think this over before you take a leap. At the very least if you don,t trust my words listen to BthDth. I don,t want to see your guys get hurt. What ever you do don,t listen to these guys who say oh don,t listen to him just go for it and don,t worry about anything. You will regret it. Again read The Phuket Wan article written today about what can go very wrong in a short period of time. Hope this helps.
Jan 1, 2012 12:59 AM
6Bth Dth has is spot on and may I say a great way of putting it gently ! Many of us have the have the dream of giving up on Western life and seeing where the road leads us and it can be feasible for a year or 2 but for the rest of your lives ? 20 years ago I hopped from job to job around the Pacific rim, working for various language schools, cruise ships and then tourism offices around SEA. All salaried and with work permits but after 5 years I needed a sense of permanence, I got fed up of dragging my life round in 20kg of luggage. I stuck it out another 2 years but then ended up back in the UK for a while. Never underestimate your beginnings, your roots and your subconscious need for something you can relate to. The vagabonding will become jaded after a while, the hassles and the disparity of cultures will grate. Give yourself 5 years and revert to Plan B...either return to the UK, or settle somewhere permanently. You'll know when you have found your place ! (Ive been living in Turkey now for 13 years)
Seriously take bth pths advice of the last 2 paragraphs especially ........... I wish you luck and a great 2012.
Jan 1, 2012 1:26 AM
7#3 While I agree the OP will need a visa of some sort to get on the plane, strictly speaking even volunteer work is prohibited on a tourist visa. A better option might be an O-ED (education) visa and a thai language course, because they will need at least some basic thai language skills for their dream.
OP, you don't say what sort of qualifications you have, but if you have a uni degree consider doing a TEFL course and working as an english teacher in some of the poorer parts of thailand (or cambodia or elsewhere for that matter).
Plenty of teachers want/need to work in the islands or bright lights of the cities, not many want to go live in Nakorn Nowhere.
Jan 1, 2012 2:03 AM
8Whoa, some pretty harsh replies there... I wonder what motivates people to write this way? Perhaps they think you need some Tough Love to correct what they perceive to be mistaken ideas.
Anyway, my only advice is material and practical: There are certain things that you can buy in the West that you won't be able to find here. In particular, I'm thinking about high quality goods, where high quality matters: sunglasses (polarized), sunblock (it costs about 3x the prices back home), shoes. Everything else like luggage, toothpaste, hats, clothing, can be acquired on the road reasonably easy.
If I had to boil it down even further I'd just say to bring 3 pairs of good sunglasses because you will inevitably lose/break a pair or two and be sad when you can't find a good replacement.
Other than that, good luck!
You'll figure it out - don't let the curmudgeons here get ya down, but also do as much research as you can before you leave, esp regarding visas, costs, and cultural norms.
Jan 1, 2012 3:56 AM
Jan 1, 2012 4:15 AM
Also just bought genuine Fila and Nike basketball shoes for around $60/pair in Chiang Mai.
Sunblock - just hide from the sun like Thais do. Point being you can get pretty much anything here at a reasonable price (except good cheese and wine).
To Chobandshnooph: You can live a decent life here for as little as $500/mo but depends on your lifestyle and knowing where/how to find deals / local price. Knowing some Thai and being polite/clean will help. Plenty of people spend long periods of time roaming SE Asia and it's fairly safe as long as you know what you're getting into and keep your head screwed on. Main things to be aware of are visas, work regulations, and of course a source of funds. Work prospects are limited to things like teaching English if you have a tefl and experience or other specialised work if you have exceptional qualifications and an offer of employment. As for "scams" you have to exercise common sense and read some situations smartly. If you get a Thai girlfriend and entrust her with your savings and she runs off with it, yep, your mistake. How involved you want to get with local people when it comes to essentials like money is up to you. Unfortunately though, this "vagabond" thing is looked down on by Thais and other SE Asians. You really do need enough money to pay your way and opportunities to "couch surf" exchange labour for room & board are very limited in this neck of the woods. See my other reply on SE Mainland which might sound more harsh. I like the concept of not setting limits - we have the rest of our lives, etc. but you do IMO need to get real on a few things. Happy new year.
Jan 1, 2012 4:36 AM
Jan 1, 2012 8:46 PM
Jan 1, 2012 9:31 PM
13This post seems to have attracted some quite harsh replies, and while I do agree with some of the points raised (ie. Checking out the visa situation and learning some Thai), I'd like to point out that there still are some options available for somebody looking to get away from the tourist ghettos and willing to work.
You could contact The Ratchathani Asoke Community, a self-sufficient Buddhist commune who allow visitors to stay in their community in return for work.
Try The English Crazy Club or Learn2Give. Two free grassroots volunteer programmes run by Thai undergraduates, that find positions for volunteers to teach in rural schools in return for food and accommodation.
There are also a couple of temples where you can stay and meditate for free(a donation is willingly accepted).
Anyway, I hope you guys have fun on your travels and while your ideas do sound a little "dreamy", don't let the harsh comments put you off. Research your trip well and travel safe, travel free.
ps. If you are interested in reading more about unusual things to do in Thailand, maybe you could check out the article I wrote:
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