Why We Can Only Go Home For a Month

Guess what, friends and family back home? For those that do not know yet, we are excited to be coming home next month! Mark us on your calendars – we can’t wait to see all of you! We booked our flights and exactly one month from today we are hopping on a 1st class flight home to Tampa. Yep – you read that correctly. We are flying first class this time, but more on how we pulled that off in a later post 😉

In a way it seems like just yesterday that we were booking our flights back to Thailand and saying our goodbyes to everyone at home to return to our expat life in Thailand. On the other hand, so much has changed over these past 6 months. We realized we’ve kind of kept everyone in the dark about what has been really going on in our lives in Chiang Mai. The blog has been fairly quiet, other than some updates here and there – with a spurt of posts from when Brittany’s brother visited us and we sat down the laptops to travel around Thailand for two weeks.



The thing is, we have been super hard at work and focusing on our online businesses, therefore, the blog has kind of been pushed to the side. We’ve even been slacking on keeping in touch with friends and family back home which is unnecessary and we feel a bit guilty about. We realize you are probably left wondering, what happened to those two? What in the hell are they doing everyday? We get these questions all of the time from our parents and we know they aren’t the only ones thinking it. So we’ve decided it’s time to catch you up on what’s been going on with The Trading Travelers.

Let’s just start by saying expat life this time round has been a lot different than our first leg in Thailand. It started out with finding the perfect condo – well, maybe not perfect, but pretty damn close to it. We really love the place we are in- so much more than the house we were in last time. The house didn’t make sense for us. It was too big, too much maintenance, too many cracks for the bugs to get in and no air conditioning in the living room which made for very miserable afternoons. The condo is where its at. No maintenance issues. Its very modern. We’ve actually been doing some cooking, which makes it feel even more like home. And the mountain views from our balcony are pretty amazing. We just can’t get enough.

chiang mai mountain view

Secondly, we’ve met so many people and made some really great friends which has made all the difference in the world. There are tons of tourists, backpackers and digital nomads coming in and out of Chiang Mai at all times so its really easy to meet people, but its not always easy to meet people that you truly connect with. The ones you know you will stay in touch with long after you leave. We were lucky enough to have our friends Adam and Hannah @ Getting Stamped and Florence and Carlo @ Next Stop Who Knows settle down in Chiang Mai the same time as us. While we love and miss our friends back home, its nice to connect with others that are living the same lifestyle with the same mindset and goals. Having them has really made Chiang Mai feel like home – going out for dinners and drinks, going to the cinema, evenings of badminton, and road trips together. Brittany can go out with the girls for shopping or massages which is nice for her to have some of her independence back and not have to rely on Charlie for everything. But the longer we stay away from home, the easier it gets and the distance from our life and loved ones back home just seems to grow.


For those of you that follow us on Facebook and Instagram, you probably recall that just a month ago we were filming an international TV show here in Thailand. This was really exciting for us and just an awesome experience overall. We haven’t divulged which TV show it is yet (although many of you have guessed!), but we promise to give you more details on that in the near future! (And no, Drew, it was not I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant. Good guess though 😉 Lol.)

Lastly, our online businesses have really taken off in the past 6 months. It was just last summer when I wrote Struggles of an Un-American Dreamer (our most popular post to date), and we were second guessing everything. We were considering throwing in the towel and going back to the 9 to 5 corporate lifestyle with a secure paycheck. But here we are today, so amazed at everything we’ve accomplished and dumbfounded how things literally just seemed to turn around overnight. You might even be surprised to hear that Charlie has put trading on hold to focus on our other businesses because they are doing so well. Yep – The Trading Traveler traded trading for SEO and Affiliate Marketing. We are so glad we didn’t give up on our goals and ultimately our dream. We kept going – working our asses off – and it paid off. If you are wondering what our days in Chiang Mai are really like, it is essentially us on our laptop from 7:30 am to 8:30 pm grinding it out at a coffee shop. We definitely put in more hours than we ever did before we left, but to us its worth it to live this location independent lifestyle.

digital nomads chiang mai thailand

And that brings us to the question everyone is asking…”what do you mean you’re only coming home for ONE MONTH?!” Sorry mom and dad…I know it doesn’t seem like much, especially after spending all summer with you last year. But here’s the deal. This year it makes sense for us to apply for the foreign earned income exclusion.

What does that even mean???

We don’t want to pay taxes! We are living in another country for most of the year and we are earning money in said country, so why should we be paying taxes to the US government? Unfortunately, the only way for us to be eligible is pass the physical presence test. That means we have to be physically present in another country (or countries) for 330 days of a 12 month period. The way it works is on a sliding rule, so since we left in October 2014, our 12 month period would be Oct 2014 – Oct 2015, meaning we can come home this summer and then it starts over again in October. The way we look at it, we are making enough money that we could live an entire year in Thailand on what we would be handing over to Uncle Sam, or we could use that money to meet our parents somewhere really freaking cool in the world, forcing them to get their naked passports stamped!

So while our time will be short, we will have to make the most of it. We will be road tripping with Charlie’s parents the first two weeks of June and the last two weeks will be spent seeing as many friends and family as possible. After we leave, our plans are kind of wide open for the time being. We might return to Thailand for a bit, but we are hoping to finally take advantage of this digital nomad lifestyle we’ve set up for ourselves. Maybe we will head to Bali? Vietnam? Eastern Europe? That’s the beauty of being a digital nomad…I guess we don’t need much of a plan 🙂

As we are finally turning our attention back to the blog, these are some things you can expect to see in the near future! Make sure to click here to subscribe if you haven’t already so you don’t miss a post!


Commenting area

  1. It’s been absolutely brilliant having ye guys here in Chiang Mai to hang out with. We get the feeling that 2016 will see us all hook up in a new city the other side of the world 🙂

  2. Looking forward to seeing yall!

  3. Whoop! Can’t wait to see you guys!!

  4. So going to miss you guys…have an amazing time in Langkawi! See you in 8 months time or sooner, going to miss our girls days!

  5. Hi Guy’s, you really are lucky buggers! I am glad things are working out well for you. I have always even though I have been objective thought those bloody rich yanks living the life of rilley. Well I still don’t know what you do for money and it is not my business good on both of you for trading a check for a different life style. Kind regards Ian. P. S. A fervent reader of your blogs, thanks.

    • Charlie and Brittany April 29, 2015 at 2:53 pm · · Reply

      Thanks for the kind words, Ian! And thanks for supporting the blog 🙂 We really appreciate it!

  6. Thanks for sharing this post! I too am in the phase of working all day trying to get my location independent business off the ground and get back to the digital nomad lifestyle, so this is inspiring to read! In fact I’m doing the opposite of you guys — going back home for some free room and board for a few months while I focus on my work, then heading back abroad. Maybe that foreign earned income exclusion can come next year 😛

    Good luck and safe travels!

    • Charlie and Brittany August 24, 2015 at 8:02 am · · Reply

      That’s awesome Jakob! And not a bad way to go about it at all 😉 Thanks for the comment and good luck to you. The hard work really does pay off! Keep us posted!

  7. I was actually just wondering about this tax question! Good to note for the future.

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