My Middle-Aged Plan
Over the years I have read Stickman’s site along with numerous Thai based forums. I have really enjoyed all the tales, threads, and reports that have come from so many expats and travelers to LOS. Like so many Westerners I am intrigued, and drawn to Thailand for all the obvious reasons, but I also have that inner voice that tells me to take Thailand for what it is, an adult Disneyland for the senses. I feel I owe so many of you a debt of gratitude for helping me see through the smoke screen and realize that while Thailand is wonderful it is not the Nirvana so many have claimed it to be.
A bit of a background on myself: I am a 35-year old male from a mid-sized city in the USA. I have never been married, nor have any intention to marry, mainly for one obvious reason, I do not want children. I also have the belief that we as humans are not monogamous creatures and believe a life with only one mate is unrealistic, especially more so with all the rules and regulations placed on us by society and ourselves. More importantly is how one's life can be royally screwed in the event of a divorce, made even worse if children are involved. I believe now there is a 50/50 chance of this happening to all marriages in the USA, and I believe this percentage will go even higher in the years to come.
My occupation is that of a public high school teacher. While this affords me an average salary, with excellent benefits / pension, it also gives me something more important than money, that being my time. I have many friends in the States who have very lucrative careers; dentists, club / bar owners, entrepreneurs and various sales reps. While their salaries are 3 – 5 times mine, what they often lack is time. Time away from their work and the stress it brings. In essence they are a slave to their occupation. I currently work a 189 day contract, with a summer vacation that affords me 97 days off in a row. I will get back to why this perk is relevant in a bit.
Like so many other western men, I have become more and more uninterested in the western female. I also see my window closing on dating younger more attractive women, due to my age, and my occupation. Within a few years, I believe this will not be an option at all. So, where does this all come in. What is this submission about? Well, you dear readers / contributors, with all your wisdom have helped me construct an alternative lifestyle plan.
To say I am not completely in love with the American lifestyle would be an understatement. Yes, a majority of the people and women are unhealthy, living insulated car-lives, socializing at strip malls, and living in suburban cookie cutter homes. However, I realize I have a good career, a solid base of friends and family, and an active social life. I have often flirted with the idea of throwing caution to the wind, selling up, and heading to LOS to live the life of Riley. When I come back out of my dream state, I know that after some time, I would regret that decision, and would more than likely struggle with many things in Thailand, especially once the shine wore off.
So, I find myself in limbo, but fear not, all is not lost. I have adopted “my middle age plan”. This will be to uproot myself from my western lifestyle (temporarily) every summer and live 3 months on foreign soil. Over the year, I have set aside a summer fund, coupled with my western salary, this affords me a decent 3-month budget to live on. I plan this summer to find a serviced 1-bedroom apartment in Bangkok and make this my landing zone so to speak, my home away from home. I will enjoy all the city has to offer, and when I hunger for a break from the madness of Bangkok, off to the islands or Chiang Mai for a break.
While I realize this is not the same as living in Thailand full time, it is a long enough stretch where I feel I can meet some of the locals, relax more, and not feel like I am cramming everything in on a 2-week millionaire tourist schedule. More importantly, I think this time off will allow me to fill some of the voids that living in the USA full-time brings. I find at this point in my life I am very fortunate to have this possibility, and while there is always negatives with everything, in my observation I do believe this is the most practical and realistic “plan” for me to have the best of both worlds.
Again, thanks for all the submissions and Stick for all the years of running this site. I can not thank you all enough, for the endless hours of entertainment and more importantly the words of wisdom. Believe me they have not fallen on deaf ears!
I think this is an excellent plan you have and as you point out, you're very lucky that your work schedule allows such a long break. These 3-month stints in Thailand should also be enough to let you know if Thailand really is a place you'd like to live in eventually.
I am of the belief that many Westerners have lost the work : lifestyle balance. You on the other hand seem to have a plan where you will have a very nice balance indeed!