Bangkok, Thailand

Writing dangerously. A Canadian expat — who is using a nom de plume for reasons of safety – gives an exclusive account of her experiences living in Asia. Here, Laura Fearn’s adventure in Thailand begins.


An Adventure Begins

The United Nations Population Division estimated that there were at least 200 million expatriates worldwide in 2010. The numbers are growing. A British Home Office study of November 2012 reported some 4.7 million Britons (350,000 a year) have moved overseas, the most in the OECD. The governments of Canada and the U.S.A. respectively estimate that 2.8 million Canadians and 6.6 million Americans have relocated offshore, but the numbers are probably higher. Many expats do not declare their foreign status because of ramifications on tax and health-care benefits.

Popular reasons for leaving hearth and home include more stimulating career opportunities, new adventures and a better climate. Growing numbers of pensioners, in particular, are being pushed out by high living costs and inadequate resources in their home countries. Experiencing many of these motivations, I decamped from Vancouver, Canada, to Bangkok, Thailand.

The annual HSBC Expat Explorer Report consistently ranks Thailand at the top of the global scale of expat satisfaction with work and lifestyle. Classified as a “newly industrialized country” (a state not fully developed but more so than one of Third World standing) with a rapidly urbanizing population, it has a relatively high standard of living at an affordable cost. And the kingdom’s position of being at a crossroads geographically as well as politically makes it an interesting perch from which to both explore south-east Asia and to observe national and regional geopolitical machinations. Bangkok – much to see and do but with most of the basic comforts of home enlivened with the exotica of the East.

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