The Story of My Thai Street Cats

Thai street cats
If you would have seen me the day I dropped of my two cats, Keeley and Jezebel, at their new home, you would have thought someone I loved had passed away.

Seriously.

I hadn’t cried like that in a long time.

There’s something exciting about starting a new life as an expat. A thrill. That ‘world is my oyster’ feeling. But, being an expat comes with sacrifices. Namely, having to part ways with people and animals you love.

Initially, I had considered bringing the cats with me to Thailand. But, everyone talked me out of it. And, thank goodness they did. Being a new expat, in a country in SE Asia with no home, no idea of what kind of resources were available, would have caused a lot of undue stress. Not to mention the stress for the animals I loved with all of my heart.

So, I left them in good hands and embarked on my journey.

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Reawakening in Spain

Spain

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons: Matias Negrete-Pincetic

“Tonight, can you please take me on a tour of my new barrio?” I ask my friend, Tobi, who has been my unofficial tour guide of all things awesome in Madrid since the second week I moved here.

“Yes,” she promises.

And then, we’re off. It’s early evening (by Spanish standards) and the sun still hangs high above the terra-cotta tiles of the magnificent colored buildings in Lavapies/Embajadero.

I’m fightings the ghosts of Chiang Mai and questioning my existence in Madrid when we head out. I’m numb. Our first stop of the night is La Inquilina, which serves up 1 euro tapas along with their booze. Tobi knows what I’ve been going through since I moved here, and tonight I am fighting past those demons in my mind. Tonight, I promise her, I want to live in the moment. To embrace my new home. And, that’s exactly what we do.

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Getting a Student Visa for Spain as an American

Step-by-step tips on how Americans can get a student visa to live in Spain via www.dtravelsround.com
For most of my adult life, I have dreamed of living in Europe. But, as an American, actually living in Europe beyond the Schengen visa limit of 90 in/90 out in a 180 day period makes it pretty much impossible (unless I get hitched to someone with an EU passport, which is never entirely out of the question).

So, what is a girl to do when those dreams of residing in this bubble of history and culture can’t be achieved without an EU passport? Answer: she gets creative.

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The House Hunters International experience

Chiang_Mai_Fair_Lady_House_Hunters_International_Experience
If you haven’t been following along lately, I recently filmed an episode for House Hunters International — Chiang Mai Fair Lady — which airs tonight. If you’re new to d travels ’round, welcome! I hope you find this as the place to motivate you to get up, follow your dreams and see the world (or at least live vicariously), and to take a stand and help Asian elephants.

My goal with this site is to share my experiences traveling the world solo, shed light on life as an expat in various places I rest my head, highlight cool and off-the-beaten-path spots that are worth checking out, and promote responsible tourism.

Keep reading to learn more about what it was like to film House Hunters International, as well as for a look at life as an expat in Thailand, my push to make people more responsible tourists, and what’s next for me.

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10 signs you are a local in Chiang Mai

being local in chiang mai
After living in Thailand for more than two years, I like to consider myself a local.

Although, let’s face it: as a westerner in Thailand, I will never be a real local. Certainly, I can adapt. I can learn. But, I am not Thai and never will be.

However, I am decidedly more “Thai” than I was when I first arrived in 2012.

So much has changed, and if you’ve been following my life as an expat, you know it isn’t all easy. It isn’t all pretty. But, it is all worth it.

Asia Blog Expat Life Thailand

The British panto experience

The British panto experience“He’s right behind you,” my friend writes via message.

“No,” I type back furiously. “Don’t tell me anything else. I need to be surprised.”

And, thus begins my first British panto experience.

If you asked me a month ago about this holiday cultural phenomenon, I would have stared blankly at you and then imagined that “panto” was mimes, you know, pantomiming.

Let me say this: it most certainly is not.

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Re-entry into the western world

re_entry
At night, I’ve taken to closing my eyes and imaging my teak bedroom. Waking up and wiping the sleep from my eyes, moving my legs slowly so Lucky and Penny don’t get kicked from their spots on the bed, unfolding myself from the Tesco blanket I’ve had since I moved into my house, walking and then standing at the top of the wooden stairs and looking down into my blue-tiled kitchen.

I see it all so clearly.

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The world of expats: more of what you need to know

expats need to know
So … you want to be an expat? Making the decision to leave your home country and experience another country is one which should not be an impulsive decision. After being an expat for nearly three years, there are a lot of things to consider before packing up your home life, quitting the job and booking that one-way ticket to the world of expats. In early 2014, I compiled a list of  questions to ask before becoming an expat. Consider this Version Two, packed with more information you need to mull over before booking that plane ticket.

I know most of my readers are passionate and excited, but becoming an expat isn’t a decision which should be taken lightly. It needs to be well thought out and planned (at least a little, for all you lovely non-planners like me).

Expat Life