Home Sweet Home: 7 Tips for Setting Up Your Living Space in Thailand
Moving to Asia is hard. I figured it’d be the safest bet to not beat around the bush in telling you that if you are considering traveling here to teach English. There can no sugar-coating when it comes to the abnormalities in relation to the accommodations you’ll be presented with: the dirty water, the electric bills in Thai, the ant population, the odd (sometimes ever-present) smells….etc.
But, and there is ALWAYS a but, there are glorious tricks and reminders for how sweet and rich this experience can be for you.
As you maneuver your way through the creating a temporary home phase, take into consideration these 7 tips to create a comfortable living space:
- Buy nice sheets and a comfy pillow. Do you know we spend ⅓ of our lives in our beds sleeping? The pillow you buy will keep you sane when the bed springs begin to jab into your spine.
- Bring pictures! And notes. And Christmas cards from 2012. Bring all the small things and leave all the big things. Hang everything everywhere. Remember who you are loved by back home. They still love you. They’re still there. Pictures and words will help to remind you of this. Breathe.
- Water bottle. Nalgene. You need one. Or seven. You are constantly buying plastic here. You DO NOT need to buy eighteen water bottles a day; bring a refillable one. It will save your life (and maybe the planet on this side of the world as well).
- Smells. Buy the candles. The air fresheners. Seek out familiar scents. Spray them. Buy a diffuser. Light the incense. Burn the candles. Aromas are VITAL to survival here because smell is actually the quickest and easiest way we return to our memories. When I’m homesick? I light the same candle I would in America and I read next to it. Magic.
- Coffee or tea. You fall into one of those categories. Find the means to brew your own cup in your place. You shouldn’t rely on always needing to go out to survive here. The morning is my favorite part of every day because even though I don’t have a kitchen, I have a coffee maker, and that’s kind of the same thing right?
- Clean. Clean. Clean. Thailand can be dirty (comparatively). Your apartment doesn’t have to be. If you sweep every day, you will feel a million times better for it. Promise. Also, you’ll be able to sit on your floor cross-legged and feel poetic and artsy rather than dirty and distracted by the sticky spot your leg is situated on.
- Bring books. Buy books. I’m either watching Scooby Doo in Thai (which is awesome), or reading. I recommend doing both.
- My best advice always and forever: buy the wine. It’s worth it. Every time.
You’re a brave human. I know this for sure because the non-brave humans aren’t interested in moving to Asia in their free time and they also aren’t interested in reading articles about moving to Asia, and to be honest, they probably aren’t all that interested in anything unfamiliar at all because unfamiliar is a tad bit scary and uncomfortable.
The bravest humans know that you need a bit of fear and a bit of discomfort to explore new depths; both in the world and in yourself, and with these tricks you can now enjoy a home base while enjoying your incredible travel adventure.