I should start by telling you that I have always felt that Victoria is the motor in our relationship, she's been traveling and living abroad practically since she was 16, and I had never lived anywhere else but my island until I was 30, when we started dating 12 years ago.
To live in SE Asia has been always her dream, and if you add to the equation that both of us were getting a little bit tired of the rat race in NYC with a new kid, after a few years, the idea grew big.
We wanted to wait until Oliver was 3 years old and make the move. The original plan was for us to quit our jobs and once in Cambodia Victoria would try to get some translation jobs to pay for the expenses. We had savings to pay for a whole year of Oliver’s school and if necessary, to help if Victoria had a slow start with projects.
The layoff letter from my agency pulled the trigger and in April we started executing our moving plans. The original plan regarding who would be working changed with the offer I received to stay with the agency.
We had some disagreements. Cambodia, in the beginning seemed crazier to me than to her, which neighborhood we should try first, schools for Oliver, etc. We did as much research online as we could and came up with something in the middle if possible or somebody convinced the other.
We made sure we were prepared if the visa situation didn’t work, we didn’t like the city, etc. but it didn’t seem too scary either if we “failed.” We could find another place or be back in NY or Spain after a few months instead of our few years’ plan but after a probably nice adventure. This fact was a very comforting one for us.
We researched which country would be best for us based on a few factors. We didn’t want to go to a too developed, expensive city in SEA, or to a country with a difficult visa procedure for our situation. We didn’t want any major political/military instability either. Phnom Penh is safe and looked great for us.
Victoria quit her job 1 month before we left NYC so she could continue getting rid of stuff at the apartment. Major task by the way. We sold some stuff on craigslist, but we gave for free most of it to our friends, from beds to clothing, kitchen stuff, etc. We went to Atlanta with a full rented mini-van and left to Cambodia from Spain with 5 suitcases.
We changed banks to avoid international ATMS fees and to be able to keep my account in New York; we just redirected the bills that we needed to keep to the new account. It wasn’t too difficult. We are keeping a mailing address in the states to facilitate things.
We started some vaccinations in NY with Oliver, and we had our first shot of the remaining ones few weeks ago here. It’s always cheaper to get the vaccines abroad though if you can wait.
Instead of renting before arrival, we decided to go to a hotel the first few week/s while looking for apartments in the neighborhoods we wanted to check. We knew we needed Internet and a nice expat-y area for that first week, so we could slowly ease into the new chaos that would soon make sense to us.
We have been here for 5 weeks now, and so far we like it very much.