Everything is going well and falling into place for our return to the US. We took our required COVID-19 RT-PCR tests early yesterday morning at Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok. By 6pm results were ready to be picked up and we’re happy to say that they were both “Negative”. So now we are ready for our flight back to the US tonight (Wednesday, 23rd). We also met with our landlord and officially closed out of our condo but we will be able to stay here until we leave for the airport tonight. So, by my next update, we should be back in Tampa, Florida (arrive Thursday, 24th afternoon).
Over the last month or so, Kanchana and I have been trying to determine what our next move will be. Before COVID-19, living in Thailand was a wonderful experience but since then (16-18 months), the country has really struggled. They did so well manage COVID-19 for the entire year of 2020, but all of that came to an end in the beginning of 2021. All thanks to people becoming complacent and the UK variant (and now the Indian variant).
With on and off lockdowns (over the last 16 months) and no international tourists - all businesses, hotels, restaurants in all cities and towns across Thailand are closed, boarded up, and falling into disrepair. The government is making attempts to reopen but it's not been going very well. Also, the lack of vaccines has really hindered the progress (shipments of Pfizer & Moderna not likely until the end of the year). Yes, with time it will get better, but recent reports suggest it's likely to be 3 to 5 or maybe even 10+ years away before things really improve here (businesswise).
At first, we thought we could just wait things out (which we could easily do) but "life" would be severely limited here. We could come back to the US, but where would we be able to live – trying to achieve the same lower cost of living and minimalist lifestyle.
Well, a few weeks ago after talking with my brother, it just so happens he has a small rental house coming available in the mountains of North Carolina! We couldn't believe the perfect timing! This was exactly what we were hoping for!
It was not life or death, but it was one of the hardest decisions we ever encountered - we went back and forth for a couple of weeks. We had done so much work to get to Thailand, we just didn't want to give it all up. But in the end, we decided it was probably the best decision under the circumstances.
Are we disappointed with this change of direction? Sure, to an extent, but who would have ever dreamed that something like a COVID-19 could come along and change the world as it did? In the “life is full of surprises” category, this was about as big as they come! But, by already living a minimalist lifestyle and always keeping our mind and options open, we have the freedom to change direction when something like this happens. If one can overcome their fear of change and embrace it, it can open up a world of wonderful surprises.
Now that we've excepted coming back, we are quite excited about it, especially living in western North Carolina. We'll keep our options open for the future, but it could be a while before international travel (and living in Thailand) could become a reality again. We are carrying forward the same travel plans as we had for Thailand but now, we will be focusing on the United States. Now will be the time to visit those places we’ve always wanted to see in the US. This will include taking some extended road trips across the country.
So, we fly back to Tampa on June 24th. We'll be in Florida for a good while, quarantining, getting our 2 doses of vaccine, buying a car, etc. Right now, we are looking to get to the mountains of NC around the end of September to early October.
We are a bit nervous about flying back unvaccinated but plan to carry out all the necessary safety protocols (masks, hand sanitizer, and social distancing, etc.). We're very hopeful that everything will work out.
— Dean & Kanchana
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