All you need is love…
But a little help from XploreAsia doesn’t hurt either!
We have had so many wonderful people come through our program to teach in Thailand or elsewhere, and often we get couples! Those few brave enough to pack up everything and travel elsewhere with their significant other. We also have had many people come and meet their significant other while here on course or during their placement. Just call us cupid! Here are some of our favorite love stories from the road:
Andrew and Nicole (South Africa)
My wife, Nicole and I have been together for 9 years; she is my high school sweetheart. We met through a mutual friend when I was in grade 12 and Nicole was the year below me. Our relationship grew stronger over the years through school, gap years, university and work. Eventually eight years later we were FINALLY married! I worked at a golf course and she worked as an interior designer at a fancy design firm. One day, an ad popped up on Nicole’s Facebook feed which peeked her interest. Teach in Thailand? She decided to speak to me about it, and after much discussion we decided to apply and see if we’d be accepted. Very soon afterwards, we were packing up our new home, saying our goodbyes and were on a plane for Thailand. It all felt so surreal.
In life, it’s not where you go, it’s who you travel with. – Charles Schulz
We completed the TESOL course in Hua Hin (October 2017) and moved to Phatthalung. A small, very quiet province in the south of Thailand. Our experience so far has been both incredible and challenging. Fortunately, I have Nicole every day in a town where there are very few foreigners. We can talk through our frustrations and missing our families. The best part though is that we are able to experience all the many and amazing things that Thailand has to offer and we get to do it together!
Thailand has brought us closer together as a married couple. We tackle challenges together and get to experience life everyday in the way that most married couples don’t get to experience. We’ve gone from one extreme where I only got to see Nicole for a couple hours a day to going on an adventure together in a foreign country and spending every waking minute with each other. Living in Thailand with Nicole has been an absolute dream come true
Tayler and Spencer (The United States)
We met at a nature immersion camp for inner city kids in Austin Texas called El Ranchito about 5 and a half years ago. We helped show kids how beautiful nature is and how much fun it is to play in it. Eventually, we were almost at a point in our relationship when we were about to find a place to “settle down.” We had already traveled through South America together and had lived out of our truck, which we had renovated into a tiny, tiny, tiny home, for a year and so we thought maybe we should settle down? No, we decided not to and to go LIVE in a different country.
We were so lucky to have been placed in a town in the south of Thailand called Trang. It’s a hip city with lots of markets, coffee shops, places to hear live music, and no matter what road we turn down there is always waterfalls, caves, and temples to see. Living in Trang gives us easy access to the beach and the islands! We couldn’t have asked for a better placement, a better town, or a better school. We both teach primary kiddos.
The best part of traveling with your partner is having someone to share the adventure. My favorite day is Saturday mornings when we wake up and we go have dim sum and then head out on the scooter to see something new. We love to cruise and get lost. We have found so many Thai treasures hidden down country roads. It is also nice to have your partner there when you run into situations that make you feel unsure because then you always have someone there who can help or support you.
Be prepared for things that will challenge each of you personally and you as a team. But be prepared for one of the most awesome times you could ever experience together. Seriously. I can’t tell you the amount of times I have literally thought to myself “What did I do to deserve this life????” and the fact that I got to experience this with my partner in life and in love made these past 11 months ones I will cherish for the rest of my life.
Love is a gift the universe gives us and travel is a gift we give ourselves. If you are lucky enough to have them both live in their moments, appreciate every single second, and know that you DO deserve them.
Heidi and Riaan (South Africa)
Riaan and I met at school and as time went on our love only grew stronger. After I came home from working on a cruise liner as a photographer we decided to move in together. We were happy, but never truly satisfied with the “rat race” life, and my heart yearned to travel and explore again. One evening my partner came home and simply asked “When are we leaving, and to where? I am done with the rat race!”
The following day I started doing research on opportunities that we could do long term abroad, and most importantly TOGETHER. After carefully looking through all our options we decided that we wanted to do the program through Xplore Asia and we made our plans to start saving up to make it happen. That was the night my partner proposed, and three months later we were married in a small family ceremony.
Four months after our wedding we arrived in sweltering Bangkok. Our first placement was at the same school in a super small rural town down south called Thung Yao. It was quite an experience as we were the only foreigners! After the first semester I received a job offer from a school in Ayutthaya so we decided it might be a nice new experience so we decided to make the move. That was truly the best decision ever, as we ended up spending a year and a half there and met truly fantastic friends there! I was offered a position with an International school in Korat, and we decided to make the move yet again. Whilst there my husband decided to start studding toward a degree, as it is actually really affordable here in Thailand, and as a result we had to move to Bangkok. My school actually offered me the Art teacher position at their Bangkok campus, and I think I have found my true passion for teaching now.
Making such a big life decision with a partner is both easy and hard, because you know you have someone there with you but doubt will always creep in. The only advice we will ever have is “Just do it! Regretting missed opportunities is far worse than learning from a few failures!”
Kayleigh and Pu (The United States and Thailand)
In September of 2015 I took a leap and moved to Thailand. My original plan was to stay for one term and then move on, however, I realized after my short stay I needed more time with this fantastic country.
In May of 2017 I was in a small village about 20 minutes from Prakhon Chai, in Isaan region of Thailand. I was visiting a friend in her hometown for a school holiday. She invited me to a party for some friends of hers that were becoming Monks. While we pranced around the village followed by a large truck with a local band blasting music around I was introduced to Phatcharakamon, or Pu. With my new group of friends, I spent the day enjoying the local festivities. I was not certain I would ever meet Pu or my other new friends again. I returned to my home in Hua Hin and as fate, or rather Facebook, would have it, Pu came up as a suggested friend. We became Facebook friends, but I never expected much out of it.
About a week later I received a message from her, as it turns out her cousin lives in Hua Hin and she was down visiting. To make the world even smaller, I taught at the same school with her cousin’s boyfriend. Our paths crossed again. . . then again. . . and it went on like that.
Now nearly nine months after our first meeting we live together in Hua Hin. I have continued to teach and she manages the guesthouse that we live at. We have been able to spend the holidays traveling both Thailand and South East Asia and we are working on obtaining Schengen and American visa for future travel. Life with Pu has been wonderful and full of fun. Looking forward to our future adventures.
Cassidy and James (The United States and South Africa)
James is from Durban, South Africa and I am from Pennsylvania, The United States. I used to teach in the Chonburi province and James taught in the Rayong province. Both of us came to Thailand to take some time off from our home countries and to have an amazing new experience.
James and I met the weekend I went to Koh Samet with some friends and actually met him on the boat ride over to the island. At first, I didn’t really understand him because of his accent, but we got there in the end. He had come with friends who knew the friends I was with, so we ended up hanging out together all weekend on the island! We were able to stay in contact even after heading back to our respective towns and managed to see each other on the weekends. A year later, James moved into my apartment and found a school to teach in close by.
We loved teaching in Thailand but wanted to head somewhere new for a while. Since James is a surfer, we moved to Bali, Indonesia and I found a job teaching there. While James spent his days surfing and teaching English online, I taught at an international school, and on weekends we would spend all day at the beach surfing together. We loved living there but I decided my time as a teacher was ending. I secured a job at XploreAsia and now both James and I are living in Hua Hin together.
I really enjoy getting to live in a new country and travel with James. We like to explore new places and eat all the new food we can! For those who meet people while traveling, there is always this question as to how long it will last since you don’t know when either of you will be going home. Luckily for us, and living in two different countries together has proven this, we get on really well and as long as we are enjoying our time together and are happy, that’s all we need! (Though some surf in Thailand would definitely be appreciated!)
Love will travel as far as you will let it. It has no limits. – Dee King
Lo and Nui (The United States and Thailand)
I came to Thailand seeking adventure and culture, my love life was probably the last aspect of my life I thought I would end up developing! It happened quite quickly though after moving here, where I found myself the apple of a Thai gentlemen’s eye. I was on a semester break from teaching in my small town near Cambodia and was in the popular destination place, Krabi. I was the usual vacationer among many others relaxing on the beach, watching sunsets, etc. I was then approached by this rather cute man riding a 1966 vintage Vespa motorbike while sitting on a wall near the water. He came up to me and began chatting me up. He told me he ran a popular bar on the main strip. I totally thought he was trying to give me game but I decided to go check it out. He was absolutely right, and not only did he run it, he was this ‘Bob Marley’ phenom to not just all the other vacationers, but even with the local people. My five day, four night trip to Krabi turned into a 28 day stay and a true love story that continues to live on.
This was that seeking adventure love story, where I found myself gathering coconuts and sanding a handmade long tail boat in the village he is from. It was not only an eye-opening experience but I also felt that my already once open mind was expanding even further. I found myself in prayer with this selfless guy and the people of his village. Praying in a whole different setting, in a whole different language, with people I had never met before! It has been such a wonderful ride.
Things got sad when I finally had to get back to teaching in my small town about 18 hours away from Krabi. On my travels back, I decided to take a leap of faith and seek a teaching position nearer to Bangkok to I could be more accessible to go back to the south. And that’s exactly what I did. I moved to Bangkok, set up my new place and we continue to see one another taking alternate trips to one another.
Since then, I have seen our two worlds collide in the best of ways. The hardest part of being here in Thailand and finding love with a non-native English speaker is much like I have learned through my students; there are certain virtues that are shown and felt nonverbally. And these virtues make good people and you never know where on the globe that person may be. It can be a struggle when there is just not the same expression in my language as his, but we make it work. We try and teach each other. Local Thai people are amazed on how well I speak Thai now, not to mention a huge plus with the students’ parents too!
There you have it! The lucky few who get to travel with their significant others and those who met theirs while teaching and traveling! Lucky ducks! So, what do you say? Ready to take the plunge and teach abroad? Who knows, you just might meet that special someone!