Where Would You Go After 5 Years In Thailand?

5 Years In Thailand

We recently announced on our social media that we are planning to leave Koh Phangan and Thailand after 2020. After next year, we’ll have spent 5 years in Thailand, and we feel that we’re ready for some new scenery and a new adventure.

5 Years in Thailand

5 Years In Thailand

You might be thinking, “why would anyone want to move from an ideal life of living on a tropical island?” Honestly, our life is amazing. The best case scenario of what we thought our life might look like when we set off on this adventure has been exceeded.

The plan was always to insert ourselves in Thailand and find a resort where we could establish our yoga program. Our wildest expectations have been surpassed.

At the time of this post, I have trained 200 yoga teachers from 40 countries. I have been the lead trainer of sixteen 200 hour trainings that I designed, and one 300 hour training. I’ve collected more experience at this than most other teachers I know. Ali has come into her own as a teacher, and her holistic courses are a perfect compliment to my own. We’ve created a worldwide network of friends, students, and contacts that will easily drive our teaching business for the next twenty years.

After 5 years in Thailand, I will have taught over 20 teacher trainings altogether, and will be approaching 300 graduates of my program.

Despite all of that, life has become a little routine. The thrill of being on an island isn’t what it once was for us. We’ve started to lose our enthusiasm for being here. It’s time to move on and try something different.

We started this website as a place where we could blog the experience of our travels and life abroad, but we actually ended up being so busy running our yoga programs that we literally didn’t have the time or energy to keep up with travel blogging. 

Instead, this site has become a sort of hub into our other websites, and where we can discuss things that maybe don’t fit into those places specifically. It seems like the perfect place to outline what our next plans will be.

So after 5 years in Thailand, what’s next?

Italy, You’re Next!

Palermo
Palermo

We’ve had a number of places that were on the shortlist for our next possibility. We talked about Ecuador, Panama, Portugal, and Belgium. Most of these places were on our radar because they offer comparatively easy paths to residency or citizenship. One of our biggest challenges in Thailand has been the ongoing hoops that you have to jump through in order to maintain visas that allow us to work and stay long term. So a country that allowed a streamlined process for dealing with this was ideal.

As we were doing our research, the idea of obtaining another passport became really appealing to us. It seems that there’s a degree of freedom that opens up for you if you’re not reliant on one country for your ability to move and travel.

As this idea resonated, we looked into it further. We are more than 90% certain that I’m eligible to obtain an Italian passport through my Great Grandfather’s lineage, as my great grandparents immigrated to the United States from Italy in the early twentieth century and did not become citizens until after my grandfather was born.

Some people we have told about this move have expressed concern about the economy in Italy. We can hold our courses anywhere in the world, so the location where we call home doesn’t necessarily need to align with our business. Aside from this, we don’t entirely rely upon the local economy for our courses in Thailand. People travel to us here specifically for our course. We don’t consider the people already on Koh Phangan to be our target demographic, and it can be this way in Italy too. 

We will start in Sicily, as this is where my Great Grandparents are from, and the cost of living here is low. We’re excited about the possibility of being able to access all of the European Union, and as Americans we’re especially excited about access to the Italian healthcare system. The World Health Organization lists it as the 2nd best in the world.

Sure, if you talk to an Italian about it they may have a lot to complain about, but living internationally for the past 4 years, I have yet to meet a European who would trade what they have for what exists in the States.

We think that we have a reasonable and solid plan to make this work, just as we made moving to Thailand work, and just as I made owning my studio in Portland work. We’re already thinking about the food, easy access to the rest of Europe, healthcare, the Mediterranean, and hello it’s freakin Italy!!! 

Our 3 Year Plan

2020

2020 Will be a busy year for us. I have five 200 hour trainings and one 300 hour training scheduled in Thailand, a 200 hour training scheduled in Germany, and we will be announcing a destination retreat soon.

Aside from this, we will continue to acquire all of the documents and paperwork that we will need for my Italian passport.

2021

In 2021 we will move to Palermo in Sicily. It will be easier for us to process our documents when we’re actually in Italy. Here we will get a feel for the way of life and the country, and start to explore outside of the city for a location we can make a permanent residence.

As my teaching schedule has been quite intense for the past few years, I do not plan on teaching anything for the first half of the year.

In the second half of the year, I believe I will plan one 200, and one 300 hour teacher training. I don’t know yet where those will be, but I am interested in doing something in the Western hemisphere. Mexico is on my consideration for that. It’s also possible that we will do a destination retreat somewhere in 2021.

2022

In 2022 we hope to have a permanent residence in Italy, meaning some place we intend to stay for a long long time.

I’m kicking around the idea of acquiring a villa in the countryside, near the coast. I envision a barn or a stable that I remodel into a yoga hall. We’ll have a few accommodations on-site, and access to several apartments nearby. Here we’ll host our own trainings at our home.

Maybe in the months where we don’t personally have anything scheduled we could rent the space out to my students who are interested in hosting their own retreats and trainings in Italy. Anyway, it never hurts to project these ideas out to the universe. Everything that I usually plan has a remarkable track record for coming true.

Johnny and Zeus
Johnny and Zeus
Family Pic
Family Pic

By the way, if you’re curious, Zeus the cat will be joining us wherever we go. He’s part of our family, and we wouldn’t dream of leaving him behind.

What do you think of our plan? Do you have any favorite stories about Italy you would share? Maybe we’ll see you on the yoga mat at one of our courses soon. Ciao

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