Tim and Yunche Wilson, of Houston, recently packed up their two young daughters (ages 5 and 7) to make the move across the world to Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Despite making a six-figure income with the house and cars to match, they realized “The American Dream” wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Yunche was so stressed from work that it caused her to have panic attacks and a mock stroke while she was pregnant with their second daughter. After that traumatic experience, the couple quit their jobs to become full-time entrepreneurs.
The final straw was the loss they experienced trying to maintain their entrepreneurial life in addition to being affected by Hurricane Harvey. It was at that point that moving abroad became the better option.
We had the chance to speak with them about life abroad and how they are now raising their daughters in the process.
Travel Noire: What positives have you found in moving your family abroad?
The Wilsons: Everywhere we have visited (except Singapore), has been very nice for us financially. Being that we are working off of the U.S. dollar and exchanging it to the local currency, it has allowed us to truly enjoy our travel adventures without a great deal of penny pinching.
One thing our daughters love about traveling is that they feel like they are getting to see and do something new every new place that we visit. Whether it is going on a 3-day food tour in Penang or hanging out in Johor Bahru to check out Lego Land and Hello Kitty Land, being in Asia has allowed us to experience life, new cultures, and food in a way that was impossible living in the States.
TN: How do you educate your daughters while traveling and living abroad?
The Wilsons: We employ a hybrid education model based on homeschooling, world schooling and hack schooling our kids. For their basic schooling, the girls work with an online program called time4learning.com which provides the basic curriculum for each grade level. What I love the most about this is that the program does not stunt your child’s learning due to age. If they are excelling in reading but need more help in math, you can change the grade levels based on subject so that you can really focus on the areas that your child needs help in.
Our 4 year old (just turned 5 on September 27), is reading, writing and almost complete with kindergarten. She would not even be starting school until next year because her birthday is 1.5 months too late from the cut off date.
World schooling is a natural transition as we are traveling. They are learning about new cultures, new food, that country’s history, etc.. Hack schooling is where we focus on their likes and interests and combine them with life skills (i.e. understanding money, how to clean, cook, etc..)
Our education mantra is that you learn something everyday. Education does not stop when your nose is out of a book. No matter where you are, what you are watching, or what you are doing, you can learn something. If they grow up with this mindset, they will be prepared for ebbs and flows that life throws at them.
TN: How long do you plan to live abroad?
The Wilsons: Permanently. We enjoy being out of the rat race, choosing when we want to get up, having access to healthy, inexpensive food, and a community that understands the value in being happy. We don’t plan to live in Asia permanently, as we have our sights set on living somewhere in the E.U. in the future but for now, we are enjoying life. We are no longer tied to just surviving or solely working for stuff and money that we can’t touch until we are too old to enjoy it. Now, we save and invest with a clear purpose. We are working to enjoy life right now, not tomorrow. We enjoy the freedoms that we have here and will continue to do whatever it takes to maintain that freedom.
TN: What advice can you give to our readers with families and/or children looking to do the same as you all?
The Wilsons: Don’t over think it, just do it. You will never be 100% prepared for a journey like this but the rewards of traveling are more than worth it. Have a savings of at least $2,000 (that is what we started with), a travelers credit card (to earn points or help you get out of a tight situation), and do a bit of research on laws and customs before you enter into a new country. Life does not have to be put on hold once you have kids. Kids will adapt to whatever environment you put them in. Stability, is what you say it is, not what society says it is.
TN: Where can readers reach you all for more information or questions?
The Wilsons: On Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wanderlustfamilylife/