Telling family you’re moving to Thailand can be an overwhelming endeavor. It wasn’t always the case that our families supported our decision to move to Thailand. However, a healthy dose of planning and persistence helped us gain our families’ support to live the life we wanted in Thailand. Here’s how we did it.
1. Start Early
If you are dreaming about moving to Thailand, don’t hesitate to share with your closest friend and family the things that make you get the butterflies. It’s never too early to talk about Thailand’s amazing food, diverse city and country life, and the beautiful sites, even if it still feels a bit unattainable. The great thing about starting early is that there isn’t much pressure in when or how you end up telling family you’re moving to Thailand. Conversations should flow easily and be laid-back and lighthearted.
For us, it felt right to start talking with parents and siblings about a year before we wanted to make our big move to Thailand. We kept it casual, bringing up Thailand whenever we took a weekend visit to Angela’s parent’s house. About a dozen conversations on the porch with a few drinks in hand worked well for us!
2. Start Small
Plant the travel seed, not a tree. Before telling family you’re moving to Thailand, why not mention vacationing there? In fact, images of Thailand’s beautiful beaches and lush rainforests may have your family thinking to themselves, “Why don’t we do that?”
Taking baby steps gives friends and family time to warm up to Thailand, especially if they don’t know much about it. Your fun but short vacation can naturally evolve into a longer and rejuvenating sabbatical. It’s hard to argue with the idea of taking a few months (or even a year) off of work to de-stress and focus on self-improvement.
We first mentioned taking a one month vacation to Thailand. We gradually increased the length of our trip to a few months. Eventually, we felt that it was appropriate to leave our Thailand adventure open-ended and see where it took us.
There are thousands of world travelers documenting their experiences online. Show your family picture and videos that showcase the beauty of Thailand, provide current news reports, and send them online articles of monthly budgets of people who currently live in Thailand. Let them see and hear what it’s really like. Make it real.
Once your family sees life abroad through another traveler’s perspective, it may be easier for them to visualize you traveling. They can envision you being happy, healthy, and safe in Thailand after seeing someone else who has done the same.
Whenever our family had questions about what life could be like in Thailand, we always had pictures, videos, or articles readily available. Some of the most exciting moments we had together were showing our family photos and videos of Chiang Mai and seeing their reactions.
4. Put Your Family’s Worries to Rest
If your family is uncomfortable or against your move to Thailand, ask them, “What’s your biggest fear?”
- Are they worried about your health or safety?
- Are they uncomfortable with the thought of you failing abroad and coming back home ashamed?
- Are they afraid that you are putting your financial security in jeopardy?
- Do they feel you are missing out on long-term investments such as buying a house or contributing to a retirement plan?
- Are they offended that you are not following in their footsteps or living a life they define as “normal”?
- Are they upset that you are unable to help with family affairs while abroad?
- Do they worry that you will miss out on family time in general, or that you may never permanently move back to your home country?
After telling family you’re moving to Thailand, show them that you care about their feelings just as you would want them to care about your feelings about moving abroad. Letting them talk about their worries gives you a better understanding of why they may be anxious or upset. It also gives them the chance to come to terms with their own fears.
While Chris’s family wished him the best in his travels to Thailand from the beginning, Angela’s family didn’t always support our move to Thailand. We did our best to anticipate her family’s questions and had answers to how we would retain financial stability, handle safety and health, and stay in touch while abroad. By steadily showing them how prepared we were, we slowly put their anxieties to rest.
5. Tell Them That You Want Their Support
After telling family you’re moving to Thailand, they may or may not ultimately agree with your decision. However, we hope that you encourage your family to support your decision because this is something that will make you happy.
Too many people in this world worry about making other people happy to the detriment of their own happiness. We wholeheartedly urge you to follow your dream. This applies to everyone and everything!
Telling Family You’re Moving to Thailand is Worth it
We wanted to live a non-conventional life in Thailand, but it was important for us to have our family on our side. For those who want to take a similar path, getting over that hump of telling family you’re moving to Thailand may be the hardest thing you may ever do. In the end, it’s well worth once you’ve finally taken those first steps in your new home.
There aren’t many things better than to move to Thailand, and in doing so, inspire your family to make the trip out to visit you. As we write this post, Angela’s family is on their way back to the United States after two amazing weeks of exploring Thailand with us!