We all know our life can change in a split second. I'm not talking about the changes we all hope and plan for, like graduations, weddings, births. I'm talking about the kind you never see coming, that make you feel like the rug has been pulled out from under you, sending you tumbling into the unknown.
Frank was in the latest of many rounds of layoffs. That was our rug. Fortunately, Frank is the Yin to my Yang, the Glass Half Empty to my Glass Half Full. Frank’s vigilant planning for the worst case scenario prepared us to go the long haul. We set out to do what we could to maintain everything we are conditioned to believe is important, the house in the great school district, the career with travel, perks, car, etc.
While Frank prepares for the worst case scenario, I believe everything happens for a reason. I have made life-changing decisions by a gut feeling. In retrospect, these decisions added value and direction to my life, in ways that I could never have expected. After months of job searching, I knew we had another path, a completely different model than a six digit income and a mortgage. We struggled with how to keep our family afloat and set a good example for the girls.
The inspiration came from my friend Shigeko. Her daughter was in high school at The Woodstock School, a boarding school founded during British colonial days, in a remote part of northern India, with an extremely low cost of living. The model, low cost of living with a good school nearby, worked, but this location was too remote. We needed a logistic hub for Frank to get his business going.
Chiang Mai came up. A small university town in northern Thailand with a handful of international schools, direct flights to many Asian hubs, a family of four can live on a fraction of what it costs in the U.S., the NGO hub of SE Asia, good healthcare. It was worth further research. We booked our tickets.