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Why Did Spending Time In Thailand Change Me So Much?


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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!

I think for some moving to a foreign country let's them "re-invent" themselves...for whatever reasons :):D


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Which isn't always a bad thing, depending on how you look at it and as long as you don't hurt anyone or trample over the rights of others when doing so. Nice to change things up a bit, even your self - image, certainly better than staying in the same spot all your life, be that phsyo/emotional or behavioural. takes a good dose of courage too.

One of the most successful people I know once said " I just kept re -inventing myself until I got it right"

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Great replies. I guess G/House is right about being happy wherever you are and if I focus on the postives in the UK, I guess it's not that bad. It's just that my time away prized upon my eyes to a whole new world, I then came home and well, here I am.

I am under no illusions about Thailand. The rose tinted glasses came off a long time ago - Personal experiences in Thailand and the reading of topics/posts on Thaivisa have been hugely educational.

Although a beautiful Country at times I felt fearful, insecure and uneasy whilst in Thailand, Although the UK has it's faults, as a general rule I don't feel like that here. I hear/read many posters say the exact opposite - Safer in Thailand.

I lost my Dad at the age of 23/24, just before my first trip, a lot of my grieving took place whilst on my trips to Thailand, maybe this gave me a different perspective, Thailand has this strange association with the mourning of my Father, at times I was in the grip of some very difficult emotions whilst out there. Maybe now that I'm healed it would be a different experience.

Admitedly my trips to Thailand were in part "running away" from something I can't quite define.

I think the acquisitive society can condition some of us to stay at home..how many times have you heard.."well I was going to Europe or wherever for a year or two but I decided to buy that new car instead".

I think 'adventure" is in the blood for many of the doers..if it wasn't the world and its demographics as we know it and history would be totally different. What would the world be without the explorers, East India Company, Hudson Bay Company etc do'ers. ( admittedly it was about the cash to the principles and government)

I know my late fathers' best and probably happiest years were in the army WW2 (not the fighting or the war itself ) ,

These days an alternative to travel under their own steam, for many, is usually an adventurous job, police, fire, services, ranger, whatever.

"....I want to be a lion tamer... accountancy is boring...."

I returned to the UK from SA when I was about 23 and encountered the same dull boring disinterested environment. One of locals at the neighborhood pub in Hertforshire looked up from his half of mild and asked if I was Australian. been going there for 2 years before I left.

As has been stated ..my "friends" talked about cars, girls, the pub , bloody holidays in Majorca..blah blah " ......"did you bonk any of them black girls in Africa" ..nudge nudge....

I left for Canada 2 months later.

Someone said you can never go back..maybe we never stop going forward either?

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My age and time frames are pretty much the same.I remember going back the UK after the first visit. Depressed for about 3 months,couldn't be arsed talking to the local birds and all I wanted to do was speak about Thailand with the lads who had been.

Travel broadens the mind :)

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"I don't go to places that are interesting, I go to places that make me feel interesting."

Can't find the author of that one (bloody useless Google), but it's true.

The other undeniable fact is that if you spend a long time in any country not your own, you will gradually begin to act more like the locals (I should avoid the phrase 'go native'', I guess).

A friend of mine who had lived for a few years in Vietnam would never put his mobile phone down on a table, and clung to his briefcase at all times like a baby koala to its mother, unable to shed the image of swift and efficient local thieves in bars and restaurants.

Edited by RickBradford
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Someone said you can never go back..maybe we never stop going forward either?

A very true statement.....variety is the spice of life and I actually feel sorry for those people who have never left the town they were born in or only ever travelled to Spain on holiday etc..

I have been very luckly to have travelled all over the world for varying lengths of time, some places I enjoyed, others absolutely hated, but all the travel has certainly broadened the horizons and given me a different perspective on life

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Yes. ukme. Same as that.

I could not take the;

  • Petty bureaucracy
  • Artificial authoritarianism from intellectual inferiors (or anyone)
  • Authority
  • Materialism, pathetic in the UK ("What company car are you having next, Charles?", "Oh, the BMW, lot's of toys, it's on order". W&nkers). These people were good for f-all by the way. They'll be stood in dole queues now.
  • Authority
  • House price ramping and unaffordable housing, portrayed by government as this was a "good thing". And now we know why!
  • Bent, corrupt, vile, obnoxious, twisted government and weak/complicit opposition.
  • The way everyone tries to get one over on each other in the most servile way, one-upmanship especially in office environments (most of the time I was on site anyway).
  • Being forced to work 16 hours a day without a break.
  • Being forced to work weekends, same hours. Greedy b@stards nearly killed me last year. Hospital for 3 days, took me 2 months to recover, no income.
  • Authority.
  • Their belief that their miracle economy was going to last forever.
  • Evil social injustice. People who'd paid tax and worked all their lives being turned away from the safety net of social security (a few friends this has happened to), whilst a million chavs with no intention of working sit there watching daytime TV drinking Stella, paid for by me. Economic gerrymandering.
  • Dealing with petty little quango people, out to f£$& you over just to justify their shitty little useless jobs.
  • The anger in the place. Everyone's angry.
  • Endless form filling.
  • Endless, remorseless regulation.
  • The tension.
  • The small minds.
  • Wasteful, corrupt local government.

I could go on . . . . but I won't, you get the picture.

This place is my refuge from all that. My little house and garden in rural Issan. It helps be get better, physically and mentally.

I know I'll have to face it all again soon. Quite enjoying the recession to be honest.

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MJP - anything you forgot to add to that list. :D

To OP -

Save up enough money so you can move out to SE Asia for a year at least. Maybe look at teaching English or learning Thai but do something productive IMHO. You'll have a better idea then of whether you want to make a long-term move. Experiencing Thailand outside of holiday mode will tell you a lot I feel i.e. was the source of your dissatisfaction your surroundings or you?

That's what I've considered doing. However, I'm earning a good living in IT in London so am concentrating on saving up from here. Having lurked on the boards for a while, a recurring theme seems to be the difficulty in earning decent money in LoS unless you are specialist etc. It's a bit different being a retired expat on a good pension to simply existing/getting by.

Cheers :)

Edited by MarkyM3
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Going on 11 years I've been coming here with each trip ending with me planning on how quickly I could return.

I've now been living here full time for a few years and though it's not a perfect life, and sometimes I do struggle not to choke out some of these people, I do bitch and moan like anyone else... but I am happy as can be whenever I leave and return. For all the bad, there is a lot more good. I think. :) But me saying that also depends on what nonsense I've gone through on any given day.

If I wanted the simple life I would have stayed in the USA. I've spent time all over Latin America and other Asian countries and while some of them do allow for a more stress free life, for now I'm here. I may someday leave Thailand and truth be told, I've started researching my escape for down the road, but it's only because of land ownership and visa issues.

I honestly have a love / hate relationship with Thailand. What side of the coin it lands changes from day to day and sometimes by the hour. One moment I'm thinking about packing my bags and heading for the airport, running over a few people a long the way, and other times I'm driving on my bike with the sea air blowing on my face thinking this is the greatest place on earth and why all the fuss?

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Something I've noticed, though, is when you first travel abroad or stay abroad for a long amount of time and come home for the first time, you do feel enlightened. Then you notice things about home that the other place or places do better. You comment on it. People at home haven't thought about it and you talk about how this could be done better, that could be done better, etc. The end result is often resentment of your ideas and then people think of you as someone who thinks he is better than everyone at home because you've traveled. I think it's important to recognize that, move beyond it and not give off that elitist "I'm a world traveler and you're not" attitude that is so easy to do without recognizing it. Important not to sound like a pompous ass to people at home, and I think probably everyone does this at first. But once you recognize it you're able to move beyond it and move into more normality, realizing that not everyone where you're from is ever going to travel as much as you, and temper your conversations accordingly. You can talk about being overseas and how they do things there all you want, but be sensitive to the way you say things.

I don't know, I've just moved beyond the whole thing where everyone but home is better. It's just not true. For the OP, perhaps it's because he's only really spent time in one other country besides home, and therefore still holds it up as better in so many ways. Broaden your horizons even more, mate! But when you start living in many other countries, you just realize that every place does certain things better than other places, but very likely does certain things much worse than other places. So you begin to look on the positive of every place you've lived, even your home. I just think it might be a lightbulb moment. I mean, you can say it, but you have to really come to realize it yourself, and then you can move beyond the whole "I can never live at home again because everywhere else is so much better." It's just not necessarily true.

You may very well not ever want to live long at home again, and that's fine, but it doesn't make it a horrible, boring place to be. You probably would enjoy visiting many other countries in your lifetime. You may find a place you like like to spend 9 months of the year and travel to new places the other 3 months. But once you live in Thailand for a few years, the facade of newness and excitement begins to wear off and you realize it can begin to get old and the negative things start to bother you more just like any place, perhaps just like your hometown. You may be one who just likes to move on and find another place at that time, but you should have at least have a place where you can always go back and feel home, whether that's your original home or even Thailand, itself. Even if you are one of the few who really feels Thailand is the place you like to live the most and enjoy the lifestyle here more than any other place, the whole feeling of it being the greatest place ever and a place you feel much more enlightened about the way things are done, that feeling will not last.

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