Disneyland for Men
It has been just over a year since my one and only trip to Thailand, but I still remember it clearly to this day and, needless to say, reminisce often.
By way of background, I am a man in his early 40s who lives in Farangland. A professional white collar worker with an honours degree, a house, sports car and (well into) six figure income, one would think I should be generally happy with my lot in life.
Well in the main I am. However I do not think I would be as happy if it were not for my trip to Thailand. Thailand has given me a new perspective on life and one that I will always be grateful for. I will explain further, but first some more background is required.
In my twenties, I married a Farang girl my own age, and we were married for ten years. In those ten years, I probably aged something closer to twenty years due to the stress involved during the marriage. Some examples of the poor behaviour I endured at the hands of my wife, all for the sake of me trying to keep a family together for my child:
· Threatened with a knife.
· Accused constantly of being with an imaginary (but very real in her mind) mistress.
· Accused constantly of stealing things from the house to provide to my imaginary (but once again very real in her mind) mistress.
· Being constantly reminded of things from the past that one could not even remember happening. As the alleged event was so long ago, there was no way to defend oneself against the accusation.
· Despite being faithful, wife believing it was entirely acceptable to have a boyfriend on the side (send / receive text messages late at night, go out for coffees, etc).
I could go on and on, including her complete and utter hatred and contempt for my immediate family, but suffice to say this has put me off getting married again for life, and certainly not to another entitlement princess in the West. Yes there was sex in the early years, but it is very hard to desire a woman (despite how attractive she may be on the outside) when she treats you in ways as described above. The sex petered out in the end to the obligatory once a week or once a fortnight of “quick, get it over with” routine. This I understand now to be fairly normal in a long term marriage in the West.
To make matters worse, after saying enough was enough and calling it quits, I pretty much had very little to show financially for my ten years of work during my marriage. This mainly due to the wife being a stay at home mother for all of that time, and the anti male divorce laws that exist in the West, none of which I need to elaborate on for most of your readers.
However on a more positive note I am now rebuilding, both emotionally and financially, and my career has gone from strength to strength since my divorce. It is of course much easier to stay back late in the office, or travel for work within country at a moment's notice, without the wife calling you every 30 minutes to check up on your movements.
So what does Thailand have to do with all of this, you ask?
Well, when I was brought up, the clear message from my parents, family and society in general was that in order to be a success in life, you generally had to follow the following rules:
· 1. Study hard.
· 2. Get a job.
· 3. Get a car.
· 4. Get married.
· 5. Get a house.
· 6. Have children.
· 7. Work hard to earn even more money for the family.
After going to Thailand, I think the message that I would like to give to all young Western men out there is that in order to be a success in life, you should skip numbers 4 and 6 above, and the rules should be more along the lines of the following:
· 1. Study hard.
· 2. Get a job.
· 3. Get a car.
· 4. Get a house.
· 5. Work hard to build up a good retirement nest egg.
· 6. Travel or expat to SE Asia and enjoy all that it has to offer.
Effectively what Thailand did for me was open up a whole new world that I did not know even existed. One where you can live your dreams, whether those dreams entail living like a rock star or sports star, or living the quiet life in the countryside. Sure there is poverty, and the infrastructure can sometimes leave a bit to be desired, but the low cost of living, general friendliness of the people, and good weather (love the heat, hate the cold) are good enough for me.
And the girls! Well what can I say that has not already been said about Thai girls. They are attentive, considerate, sweet, demure, small and thin – pretty much the exact opposite of what you can get in Farangland when you hit your 40s and beyond.
Most importantly, what Thailand offers for me is a light at the end of the tunnel. I know that if I work hard now, save and invest, there will be something at the end that would have made all of that effort worthwhile. I am not even sure what inspired me to book my first visit to Thailand. It was very much a spur of the moment thing (none of my friends have been – most of them are married), but I am sure glad I did.
At this stage, much of my thinking related to Thailand surrounds what age I should retire. I know that if I retire at 50, sell everything and move to Thailand on a retirement visa, I could live well on the income from my assets. It would be difficult however for me to return to Farangland after liquidating all of my assets.
Alternatively if I continue to work through to my late fifties, I will well and truly retire a multi-millionaire (in farang dollars, let alone Thai baht), and could maintain a nice home in Farangland, probably upgrade my sports car to a near new Ferrari or Porsche 911 Turbo, and travel to SE Asia at my leisure. I still have a few years yet to decide, and any constructive thoughts from the readers would be welcomed on this matter. It is fair to say that my preference changes from week to week, depending on how good a day (or otherwise) I had at the office.
Another option I have considered is expating to South-East Asia during my working career. A well paid job in my profession is not likely in Thailand, but Singapore probably offers better prospects (but at a higher cost of living).
Anyway, I thought I would give back to the readership for all of the stories and insight that I have gained over the past year or so since returning from Thailand. I am a regular reader of the Stickman site as well as other internet forums. Reading the stories allows one to live the life vicariously, if you like, and allows one to keep the dream alive. My work for a variety of reasons does not allow me to travel (other than within country) or holiday regularly, hence why I have not been back since my trip. So to all those that contribute to this site, please continue to do so and keep the dream alive for the rest of us.
The question of when one should retire in Thailand is starting to get VERY interesting. I have touched on the subject a number of times recently and I really, truly, absolutely am convinced that if you wish to enjoy Thailand as you know it now, you'd better retire soon! I won't regurgitate what I have said a number of times, but there's a tsunami of Western humanity who have Thailand on the retirement radar and there is no way in the world this place is going to stay the same when they arrive en masse. I know that this is probably not what you or many others want to hear. The country will remain a fun place to visit, but I think in 10+ years from now it is going to be drastically different – and perhaps most succinctly, I think what many people seek from it will be somewhat harder to find.