An Expat’s Guide to making life just that little more bearable

By Belinda Wilson

Being an expat invariably means missing things from an old home whilst enjoying what’s available in a new one. Living in the tropics – or even living anywhere in the world on a budget, sometimes means that you can’t always have the luxurious lifestyle you yearn for. However there are a few little luxuries that can help your day to day lifestyle and here are just some suggestions ……..

A hammock. There's nothing more luxurious than chilling in a hammock with a good book and if you can’t accommodate one then a good comfortable place to sit on a balcony like a small patio couch with a sunset cocktail by your side or a good cup of tea might be just the thing.

A good mattress or if that is budget prohibitive a mattress topper or even a really good pillow – any product which improves your sleep. Sleep is such an important thing yet it's easy to fall into the trap of getting just enough to get through the day but sleep has so many more benefits apart from merely giving you energy to get things done. I'm sure most people know this already but better sleep will boost your mood, boost your energy and lower your risk of developing mental problems.

Get some earplugs, or noise canceling headphones. Or if its you neighbours or the sounds from a local soi that are in danger of driving you crazy, find some time to block them all out.

Take yourself off for the afternoon …. If you’ve had a hard week or even a hard month or are just feeling a bit homesick or in need of a treat go somewhere that lifts your mood for a couple of hours. This could be a trip to the cinema or a mall for some window shopping, a massage, walk along the beach or a trip to Starbucks to sit and watch the world go by.

A dimmer light switch in the bathroom so nice when getting up in the middle of the night and don’t want to wake the other half or if you’re having to get up really early in the morning when you’re not quite adjusted to harsh lighting.

Clean and tidy your living space. You have no idea the impact a messy room is having on your psyche. You will feel like you're living in a hotel when you can see the floor, your shelves are all straightened, and there's no dirty dishes. Pick up after yourself so it stays tidy. Learn to develop this habit.

Enjoy locally purchased fruits that cannot be grown back in your previous home for example mangos, coconuts, rambutans the plentiful cheap supply will make you appreciate your new location.

Get your entertainment sorted ….. You tube, Netflix, and Spotify premium where you can access any song, artist, or podcast.

Bring the outdoors in… a few potted plants or fresh flowers can brighten the home.

Get a Pedicure Most men in Thailand have no problems going for a massage but often think going for a pedicure is far too feminine. However a nice foot soak and rub, and having your nails cut can make you feel like a king and literally put a spring in your step.

Spend as much on your morning coffee as you can afford…..that might mean getting a grinder and purchasing good quality beans, whatever you can do to make the first cup of the morning taste so much better.


Make a nostalgia purchase – occasionally we all need a treat and if we are feeling homesick then why not splash out on something you haven’t tasted for years. If you go to Villa Market and find your favourite chocolate bar or even better if you have friends and family visiting ask for tea bags and anything that you really miss – just to keep you going until your next trip back.