Adventure And Novelty
For most people; home is the area encompassed within a twenty-five mile radius of where they were born. For some; home is where the heart is and for others the world is their home. Some people run away to escape; some people run away to join the circus;
some people leave home searching.
I direct these thoughts to those family and friends who seem mystified by my travels and my decision to settle in Thailand. Also I direct this to those who believe a love and fascination for the Kingdom somehow indicates being dysfunctional or that an individual cannot achieve their full potential as a resident here or lacks the abilities for success in their home country.
I will not address the positives and negatives of living in the Kingdom or wherever home may be; doesn’t matter; every place can generate a long list of both.
For those of us that work for a living, no matter where we reside, the majority of our time is used pursuing basic survival. We work, we sleep, maintain a home and relationships. What time is left; for some minimal, for others more, can be expended in realizing our potential through education, hobbies, personal interests and cultural activities.
My typical day for many years has been twelve hours of work, seven days a week. I get up at the same time; go to bed at the same time. I choose to sleep as close to eight hours each day as I can which leaves me with about two hours of free time. I enjoy those two hours reading. Why have I continued this existence? Two reasons; one is that I receive a total of sixty days holiday each year and two; my work locations are novel.
The holidays allow me to indulge my penchant for travel which more than any formal education has enriched my life and enhanced by potentiality as a human being. Working in exotic locations and being a part of historical endeavors has produced similar results. There is a wonderful novelty being surrounded by historical architecture, famous places and artifacts as one goes about their daily routine. Being two blocks away from some event being broadcast on CNN adds a bit of excitement to one's day, as does cowering under a table as mortars land nearby.
I have always enjoyed travel. Being the son of a military professional afforded me the opportunity to see different cultures at an early age. I put my interest in travel on the back burner while I raised my children; but when the youngest turned eighteen; I was off.
During those years; reading books, watching movies and later surfing the net for overseas jobs; I fantasized about being an expatriate. The very word conjured visions of adventures in exotic locales. Being an expat meant belonging to a fraternity of artists, photographers, authors, soldiers of fortune and adventurers. Individuals transcended from the mundane life of the likes of Walter Mitty; actually living their dreams. What an interesting group comprising a miniscule percentage of humanity. Captivating conversation is never lacking when naturally charismatic expatriates gather.
Why Thailand? Bottom-line…I am happy here. While I have traveled to many countries and I suspect most expats have before deciding to settle here; Thailand is, well…exotic! Walking down the street is an adventure. Going to the supermarket, to the mall, to the countryside heightens ones sensory awareness. Thailand is mysterious! Thailand is a riddle; maybe without a solution. In some inexplicable way, understanding Thailand seems relevant and key to understanding my country and the rest of the world. I have little doubt that it will be many years, if ever, for the novelty of living in Thailand to wear off.
I read everything I can about the Kingdom. I surf the net for information and love to talk about Thailand as well as listen to others relate their experiences. Is this an obsession? Hardly. It is education. Is my love and fascination with Thailand an affliction which must be gotten over? Perhaps…give me thirty years or so.
Expatriates are a resilient and resourceful bunch; most having achieved a measure of success in their own country allowing them to travel. We got ourselves here and if the novelty wears off or greener pastures beckon; we will move on.
There is a vast expat community in Thailand representing many nations that is responsible, socially conscience and contributes positively to their adopted society. It is within this community where an individual can find fellowship while crafting a life for oneself in the Kingdom.
It is disappointing that so many people make ignorant assumptions about Thailand in general and the reasons an individual emigrates here. Fortunately I am not looking for anyone’s approval and as I have discovered; I share at least one Thai attribute…I really do not care what the rest of the world thinks.
I really liked this submission.
While Thailand may not compare to the West in certain criteria, it cannot be denied that life here can be downright invigorating at times!