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Why Did Spending Time In Thailand Change Me So Much?


ukme

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I'll do my best to articulate my thoughts. Briefly, in 2001, I went to Thailand for the 1st time. I was 25 years old at the time. I quit my job and returned later that year for 9 months straight and I've been back a couple of times since. I am now 33 years old and have spent about a year in Thailand made up of 5 seperate trips.

Growing up and living in a small town in England for the 1st 25 years of my life Thailand was a HUGE adventure for me. My trips have revealed a lot about my small town life here in the UK, particularlly how tedious and boring it is.

Family and Friends have noticed significant changes in me too. A friend said that I'm like a totally different person since I've discovered Thailand and my sister recently said that since returning to the UK I "Hate everyone and everything". Hate might be a bit extreme but I certainly have become averse to lots of things here. I just can't figure out why? It's like my travels changed my whole belief system and outlook.

People seem narrow and "small - minded" here. It's like I went away on these massive adventures, returned home and nothing or nobody has changed.

Although I was lucky? enough to be born in The West and should be happy with my lot I feel like I just can't identify with life here anymore.

I've develpoed an aversion towards so much that it has almost become a neurosis - Cultural norm's, values, expectations, the materialistic system, celeb culture, mortgages, cars, British women (sorry girls!), sporting events etc

I feel like one of those Gi's unable to assimilate back in their American Hometown after Vietnam - "Every time I wake up I think I'm back in the jungle"

My friend recently bought a new car and brought it round to show me and I had to fake it, I had no interest in the car whatsoever. Same with my Sister showing me her newly decorated house - not interested.

Maybe it wasn't Thailand per se, maybe just experiencing life outside of the West. I thought my travels would have settled my restlessness and that I could then just plod in with life here in the UK after getting it out of my system, but my experiences have had the opposite effect and I am more restless than ever! The thought of spending the rest of my life here feels me with dread.

Any similar experiences??

Left the UK in 1986 for Thailand on a one way ticket with 50 quid in my pocket. Am still here 23 yrs later. Best move I ever made!!!!

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torrenova writes:

> I am really sorry but in this life you have to be selfish.

Do you? But there's a big difference between mere selfishness and

prudently following one's own self-interest. The latter is likely to

be the more rewarding.

> I was not and in parts am not and I have paid and will forever pay a

> heavy and sometimes seemingly unbearable price for that.

So, if you're selfish then you're exempt from wrong choices? Sorry,

pal. It's just a given that poor judgement, no matter how selfish or

benevolent, will be punished.

Pattaya provides ample evidence.

> Most people

> do not have the "balls" to step out of the mainstream.

You'll need to define "mainstream." But, assuming you're on topic, one

has to ask, "Is there any way possible to have 'balls' without moving to

Thailand?" Why not? Richard Branson didn't move to Thailand. Is he a

eunuch then?

Another question is, "Why can't one have 'balls' yet remain in the

mainstream?" Trouble is, we can all think of countless people in the

mainstream who handle risk, danger, and tremendous responsibility with

incredible courage and success. And many are so very wealthy and

happy, with loving families, free to travel anywhere.

You wanna get really macho, join the mainstream military where you

have access to the heavy weapons. In Thailand, as a farang, you're

mostly limited to brass knuckles, ninja stars, and the ubiquitous

knives, or, at most, small-caliber pistols--kid stuff.

Well, what we need now is a representative example of someone who's

achieved the kind of success that you've defined. Someone from, say,

the UK, where there is nothing at all to do, who has there perforce been a

eunuch but has now acquired "balls" and indeed proven their existence to the

world--proven them by the only way possible: by coming to Thailand.

This won't take long. Ok, here we are: Mr. Kevin, an Englishman in paradise:

post-14882-1232952527_thumb.jpg

WOW! WHATTA MAN! Showed us all, 'e did, but especially that other English bloke who was tryin' to grab the same "bird."

It would have been TOO unselfish to have let 'im 'ave 'er, 'cause that bird was SO special 'e 'ad to keep 'er to 'isself.

It's as good as it gets! SO MUCH BETTER than anything he might have had back in blighty! BALLS! Nothin' like 'em! (Seems he

has a bladder as well.)

No doubt this reminder will cause an upsurge in Thai visa applications.

Edited by JSixpack
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great post, i can so relate to the OP. I also come from a small time in the North West, dont get me wrong it wasnt the worst place on the world and it was quite an affluent area but there was nothing to do and everyone was in a time warp. The only form of entertainment was get as wasted as possible on booze and drugs.

I returned back to the UK in March 08 after 3 months travelling in Thailand and Oz and as soon as I got back I knew the only thing I wanted to do was move as far away as possible. 9 months of hard work back in the UK and i had enough so finally got back on the plane to Thailand in December after quitting my job and renting my house and said my goodbyes to all my mates.

Currently trying to make a few BHT here and fingers crossed it works out as the exchange rate is so bad, but at the age of 28 it was certainly time to leave my hometown as it was all going downhill and seeing some of my best mates turn into alcoholics was not my idea of fun. If it all doesnt work out i still can go to Oz to work or even Singapore wih a University Degree so I have a few back up plans.

My advice to the OP is set yourself a time period of when you want to move away and give it a go, what is the worst that can happen? move back? At least you can say you gave it a go. As many people have said in other posts its not all about the materialistic stuff we can buy and own but all about lifestyle. and as far as we know we only live once.

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those women don't love you, they just want your money. stop sending them money and wake up to the reality...thailand is not as good as you thought it was an there is no such thing as paradise.

Where did this one come from?

probably wrong thread reply! But that does remind me of when I was still peaking in Thailand and some hater tried to tell me that. My response was "I don't love them either!!!" Long story short, I lasted longer than that guy did. Oh, he went back to England then back to Thailand to the same boss he thought was ripping him off. I moved on to bigger things. It is what you make of it.

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...People seem narrow and "small - minded" here. It's like I went away on these massive adventures, returned home and nothing or nobody has changed.

Although I was lucky? enough to be born in The West and should be happy with my lot I feel like I just can't identify with life here anymore.

I've develpoed an aversion towards so much that it has almost become a neurosis - Cultural norm's, values, expectations, the materialistic system, celeb culture, mortgages, cars, British women (sorry girls!), sporting events etc...

Depending on where you are in Thailand, a lot of that can be the same and sometimes even worse. Materialism, shopping fanatics, celebrity obsessions, cars, cars, cars and then some more cars. Fascination over uncensored pictures of accidents and dead people in newspapers and on TV. Lack of care that the siren of an ambulance means "Move out of the way!". There's lots to dislike or disagree with if you want to. Thailand really is not better overall in this sense than most other countries. Just different.

Like mentioned earlier in this thread, once you really start living a regular life in Thailand, you will most likely come across difficulties. A friend once said that a lot of people that move to Thailand are completely happy with everything for the first six months or so. After that comes a period of frustration over all the cultural differences and all the little things that are different. Altogether these make everyday life a bit harder than in the home country, where most things work as expected. They didn't care about this in the beginning, very much in the same way as in the beginning of a friendship, where differences matter little. However, those that adapt and learn the new culture and it's differences, that embrace these or simply let them be, they will come out a whole lot stronger than when they first went in.

And as also mentioned earlier in this thread, "happiness come from within" (although I do think it can get some help on the way).

For me, when I came back to Sweden after working one year in Bangkok, my hometown Malmo felt very empty, lonely and hollow. I loved to meet my friend and family, I had missed them dearly, but that was it for me. I felt like I would never be able to move back to Sweden again. I'm now at the end of my second year in Thailand, and although I still feel the same, I have also come across difficulties here that I would not have come across at home. For example, I've been very sick a couple of times and although there are a lot of really good hospitals in Bangkok, one better bring the cash along - and lots of it. In Sweden we have free health care. Now... one could of course go on comparing pro's, con's and differences and probably come up with some kind of conclusion as to where would be the best place to live. But for me it's not about that. I just feel more alive here. More in touch with people and surroundings, despite the huge cultural differences. I don't understand everything and everyone, far from it, it's just a vibe. Can't really put words to it. However, I don't think that I would not be able to move back to Sweden anymore, because wherever I go, I'm sure I will take this with me.

Cheers

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... but responding to ukme took up enough space ....

Yes, yes it did but an exellent post, Nail - Head - Hit. :D

Your are good, could you fit me in on Tuesdays,

shouldn't take long for a break-thru, :o:D

Edited by cobra
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JSixpack, excluding the unnecessary anti-English snide sneering, an excellent post in reply to ukme.

It has always struck me that people can pass those sort of comments about English people and genuinely not think they are being snide, sneering or ill-mannered, in fact it seems to be almost obligatory.

Otherwise like I said, very readable.

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I thought GH's reply was spot-on and helpful- the first time you see greener grass on the other side of the fence, it might be helpful to be reminded that once you hop over you may see some green patches back on the first side, too.

You have to pass the troll first though. :o

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The essence of this thread isn't so much how coming to Thailand has changed one, but how leaving one's home environment has changed one's perspective of the world. It is a healthy thing to make a move, to experience cultures with a different set of values and lifestyles. In my case I was a graduate student in California and then the Vietnam war was in swing and one day I got the letter from the government that they thought it was a better idea for me to fight Vietnamese people than study sociology. My back was against the wall, so I looked for any alternative and found the Peace Corps and not much latter I was living in a small town in India. So my conversion was forced. I lived a different life with a different set of values and environment. I had to adapt to this new world. After a year we had a 3 week vacation and I went to Thailand in 1968, during the R&R days of the Vietnam conflict. Bangkok was wild then too, and Chiang Mai was almost a village, and, believe it or not, Pattya had one or two small hotels. Hooking up with women was very easy then too. After than I lived in Japan for a year. Then I came back to the states and was a major fish out of water. My life became a series of jobs-for-money-to get back to Asia. Thailand seemed the best trade off of a place to live, less money more fun. I kept this up for 10 years, then I married a Thai and we moved back to California with her two young daughters. Now they are adults and have little desire to go to Thailand. My wife and I divorced and she went back to Thailand. Now we are still close and are growing back. I find Thailand a better place for me to live than the western world. Why? As so many have stated, the average person in the west, the friends who don't travel, the dead end jobs are all factors. I spend half the year in the states making money and half the year in Thailand spending the money. It works for me.

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When a person stays foreign country too long, he will lose something. He will become a person without nationality, with a feeling of homeless. When we stay in foreign countries, it's hard to follow up the developing steps of our nation, such as the thoughts trends, pop things and fashion. We will don't know what our relatives thinking about, what they care in our country. Another side, if we can not speak the foreign language of the country we are staying, it is the same situation that we are out of their culture and their life.All of this make people out of any country to become an international person without nationality. It's free, full of freedom. So we start to touch the most basic thing of human life.

We will be out of the culture, money, bias, and we will never follow the stupid thing such as try to get high position in company and do something anti-ourselves to get more money..... We start to enjoy the real life, sea beach, sunset.....really leisure.

Out of the social attitude. we are lonely, but we have more meaningful thing than those people hard working everyday in our hometown.

It's very common to get such a feeling.

somebody will go back, somebody will continue life a simple life.

I face the same feeling to, i don't know what i will do in the future.

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When I read some comments in this topic, I get the feeling that some people did not reay prepare themselves very carefully to move to LOS. Its seems like they run away from something, even from themselves sometime.

And I ask myself if this a good reason to leave your home country. Its also seems that people who wrote

Why Did Spending Time In Thailand Change Me So Much?

are young people with not much experience in life when they went the first time to Thailand, and of course the are impressed by the complete different lifestyle, climate and culture. And all of this make them loose some sense of reality. Its like small children who go for the first time to Disneyland, and think its the reality they saw.

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WoW! Some great replies. In a way I wish I'd never left life as I knew it in the UK as I'd probably have less of the conflict/neurosis that I have had since spending time in Thailand and then returning "home".

As I said in my original post I discovered Thailand at 25 years and now I'm 33. The discovery/experience's of life in a TOTALLY different culture resulted in profound changes in my world view and a weird kind of conflict (which I'm still unable to really identify) took hold. It's like everything I learned in the 1st 25 years of my life was wrong. For a while I even felt angry at my own country/culture for "deceiving" me for so long.

I even began to observe the "learnt" behaviour of my fellow countryman/woman and lose respect - Like I exposed people (in my mind) for being unable too see life beyond the experiences in their homecountry, how everybody just copies the next person etc

A whole heap of difficult/conflicting feelings plagued me for a very long time and still do to a certain extent. I'm not a person of great intellectual ability and feel a bit frustrated about not being able to give good word to by thoughts/feelings, some of the replies to my original topic have been excellent and pretty much hit the nail on the head.

Call it a reverse culture shock if you will. Maybe it wasn't Thailand herself that altered my perception of things - But life outside of the UK/West. It's like everybody is playing a game here, there's just too much bullshit, I find myself looking past other people, skirting around personal questions and feeling generally indifferent.

Since quite a young age I was always aware, my expereinces oversea's seem to "confirm" that I was right and then I returned back to the UK and here I am, back in the thick of it.

I'm not saying the UK is bad - It's safe, democratic, affluant (for some), civilized, no (?) corruption etc It just seems like a very different place after returning from my travels.

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Hi ukme I have been to thailand 6 or 7 times spent the first 3 times in phuket loved it but said to a mate this is the last time .I then met my now wife who is from issan country we have a small boy 6 weeks old aand as strong as an oxe but just to let you know as soon as I visited her country near Loei it changed me for life I love visiting there as often as posible this to me is the real thailand where I believe I will eventually retire with my wife the people are friendly and it is such a layed back place and there is enough farang there to have a conversation with if need be

All the best ukme I hope you work out what you want to do

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ukme :- I'm not saying the UK is bad - It's safe, democratic, affluant (for some), civilized, no (?) corruption etc It just seems like a very different place after returning from my travels.

UK safe? Last time I visited (2008) there was nearly gang warfare outside my local Spar shop, but then again that was Salford Manchester where stabbings seem to be the weekly norm now adays... I feel much safer in Thailand :o

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UKME,

I even began to observe the "learnt" behaviour of my fellow countryman/woman and lose respect - Like I exposed people (in my mind) for being unable too see life beyond the experiences in their homecountry, how everybody just copies the next person etc

If you are planning to run away from that attitude, you should not go to thailand because this is 10 times worse in Thailand.

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I like this topic lets keep it going!

I am also one of those guys that went to Thailand at 22 years, now 26, have spent only 3 months back in the last 2 years.

I don't have that "hate" at all like the OP for my native country. I love my home country, but I just can't imagine spending my life there, for one it's insanely cold and dark, and you have to slave to maintain a decent living. Let's be honest, rampant consumerism has destroyed a lot of good things about the west.

It's like when I talk to my friends about Thailand or travelling and they all say "I wish I could go..BUT I just can't afford it". Then I look at the HD plasma screen, the surround system, the overpriced condo that they struggle to pay off. If you base your life happiness on material possesions you will never be happy, thats my opinion. There will always be something more shiny and newer. Always another promotion, a new payscale but we will still work "for the man" and then retire at 80!

Nah, I agree with muaythaist, learning good people skills and how to get girls, that will keep your life full of adventure and excitement, no matter where you are.

Let me just finish by saying I honestly believe that people who have travelled and lived abroad are more interesting, even the most stubborn have to become more tolerant and open minded when in a new culture. I prefer to spend time with people like that. If I ever were to marry a girl outside my race I dont think it could happen if she knew nothing about my culture.

Edited by MrHammer
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  • 3 months later...

I used to be liberal, everyone's the same etc. etc.

It came as a nasty shock to learn that the Thai's don't see us as remotely equal, and are interested in nothing but our money!

I still find it hard to get my head around it!

Coming to Thailand has certainly changed me - I'm far more distrusting and suspicious!!

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I used to be liberal, everyone's the same etc. etc.

It came as a nasty shock to learn that the Thai's don't see us as remotely equal, and are interested in nothing but our money!

I still find it hard to get my head around it!

Coming to Thailand has certainly changed me - I'm far more distrusting and suspicious!!

You sound like a typical expat whose experience of the local population is limited to those who wait on you in restaurants or serve you in shops/markets and perhaps your cleaner. I'd be willing to bet you have not one Thai friend. I mean 'friend'. Someone you go out shopping/dining/drinking with, call up for a chat, have round to dinner, am I right?

On another thread you're berating a poster for being rascist when referring to immigrants in the UK. The words 'motes' and 'beams' spring to mind.

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I used to be liberal, everyone's the same etc. etc.

It came as a nasty shock to learn that the Thai's don't see us as remotely equal, and are interested in nothing but our money!

I still find it hard to get my head around it!

Coming to Thailand has certainly changed me - I'm far more distrusting and suspicious!!

""bump""

too many reasons to mention

but the 7-11 really got me focused on living here

only Brits would understand

7-11 vs (paki) corner shop!

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Being in Thailand has certainly changed me. Its reminded me of the difference between living and holidays.

Its reminded me of the importance of standards, and discipline. Things that you can forget, when you can take them for granted.

I am always amazed when I go back to the UK how well travelled everyone is, how broad-minded, how easy it is to get Thai or Japanese or whatever food there - not like when I left more than ten years ago. SOmeone mentioned to me how depressing it was that so many cities now look the same; I said yes and no. They look more different, but just the same as each other. NOw go back to your home country and say you dont want Indian restaurants, Thai restaurants, Chinese restaurants, goods imported from China, etc. Well of course, people overseas want the same... WHat is amazing now, is how much diversity there is WITHIN every city worldwide. Even my hometown in UK has one or two indian restaurants, two different dialect chinese restaurants, and italian chip shop... the supermarket has vegetables from all over the world, and my local supermarket here in Thailand is a Tescos that sells potatoes...

I think that the reason that people find returning to their home countries depressing is that they have lost interest in the details of life there, and have learnt interest in details of life somewhere else. But for the people who have never left UK who cares what life in Thailand is like? WHat relevance is it to them? I report a conversation below from the local pub in UK:-

"How are you doing?"

"OK. I've been living in Hong Kong and Bangkok for the last ten years"

"I thought I hadn't seen you for a while. Did you see the football on Saturday?"

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I met my Thai wife in England 1987 and first visited Thailand in 1989 at age 33.

Made my mind up than that this is where I want to live but the time wasn’t right.

I had a good well paid secure job in London. So I suffered it out, continued working and paying in to my company pension, managed to buy a property by mortgage as an investment. My wife and I had a daughter born in 1989.

I was made redundant in 1992 but continued working and paying into a pension. In 2003 at age 50 my house went up in value. So decided now is the time to pack up and leave for Chiang Mai, Thailand. Sold everything within 2 months and made a good profit, so we all left England for good.

2 years ago at age 55, took early retirement and began claiming my company pension.

Have savings in the bank both in Thailand and England, a company pension and in another 8 years my state pension is due. I don’t have to work, or be a loser such as the real person behind a Thai name in a beer bar or massage parlour. No need to do visa runs, can apply legally to Immigration for a yearly visa extension and can meet all the required terms imposed by Immigration. No worries about anything.

My message to the OP is; Rome wasn’t built in a day. Hang it out and make the best of it until the time is right. Your moment will come and it’s amazing just how quickly the years pass by.

Living in Thailand these days, one needs dosh and lots of it. Better to plan ahead and come over without worries and security.

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I think a large number of people end up abroad because as they grow up they begin to question the identity that's been formed for them by the family and the country that they've been born to. Living in a foreign country is liberating because it allows you to see who you are without all those external forces that define you as a child and young adult. In our home countries we are often labelled (subconsciously at least) by those who we meet who define us by criteria such as accent, dress, education (to name a few) which all become quite meaningless when you're in a foreign country and the people who live there can't read the same ques and therefore seem totally non-judgmental. I think that goes for travel full-stop. You step outside of your normal life and away from those who know you and it can be quite intoxicating. The further removed from your normal life it is, the more intoxicating it can be (refer to original OP who said a week in the Costas just doesn't do it). So, if your life abroad is going to be one big holiday then that feeling of complete liberation can last indefinitely. If it's not just going to be one big holiday then I'd refer to JSixpack's posts which are so spot on I laughed out loud while reading them!

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