Readers' Submissions

One Smile Can Change A Life

  • Written by Tony
  • July 18th, 2014
  • 4 min read


Black Pagoda Patpong Bangkok


I am reader of Stickman for a few months now. I spent a lot of time reading readers' submissions and I really enjoy them.

I usually don't like to share my experiences or ideas on the internet, I never post anything on Facebook. I have a Twitter account but I've been stuck at 2 tweets for a few years now. But with this website it's different. I really want to participate – maybe because Thailand has been a big part of my life since 2006.

So here I am, in my tiny apartment in Farangland, on a Sunday afternoon still a bit drunk from my last drinking session with my mates, trying to write an interesting article.

My first trip to Thailand was 15 years ago. I went for a two-week vacation with my parents in the beautiful island of Koh Samui. I was 14 at the time, so I didn't see any of the nightlife. But I did all the daily activities such a fishing, jet ski, scuba diving etc. Samui is really a beautiful place and if you are traveling with your family or your wife I really recommend you go there.

My father rented a motorbike for me and we used to drive around the island for hours. I loved that!

One day, we were in a gas station and I saw her….the girl who has made me come back to the Land Of Smiles since then. I didn't talk to her,. I don't know her name. I saw her for only 10 seconds, maybe less. I don't remember if she was beautiful, young or if she was wearing something special.

I only remember her smile, a beautiful smile, the type of smile that can make every men fall in love in a minute. I'm sure that if I see this girl again and she smiles at me exactly the same way she did that day, I wouldn't even notice it. But I was a young and that smile had an effect on me. I'm pretty sure I caught yellow fever that day.

In my country, every man as to do mandatory military service for few months. I did it before going to university and the only positive thing is that you are paid to do it. When my service ended, I was 20 years old with few thousand Euros in my bank account and it was three months before the beginning of classes.

A friend was going to Australia and he asked if I wanted to go with him. Of course I said yes.

We went to a travel agency and booked a flight for Sidney, with a stop in Bangkok.

When the girl working in the agency said Bangkok, I immediately remembered the smile and I convinced my friend that we should stay a bit in Thailand too.

We were supposed to do 2 weeks in Thailand and one month in Australia, but at the end we did 6 weeks in Thailand and only 4 days in Sydney.

We had the time of our life, and I am not exaggerating, that was the best time of my life. A lot of fun, drinking and girls. I was young, fit and apparently pretty handsome for the Thais. The girls never asked me for any money and I didn't sleep alone the whole month. (Not paying the girl was a rookie mistake and I learned the hard way few years later. Gentlemen, if you are in Patong, Chaweng or Pattaya, always pay the girl even if she doesn't ask you for anything.)

When I went back home, I was completely depressed, and the only thing I wanted to do was go back. And I did! I have been back every year since then, sometimes for a week sometimes for a few months.

I have had great times during my visits, made a lot of friends, seen beautiful places, fell in love with a bar lady, smiled and cried. Thailand is the only place in the world where I really feel alive, where I can really be myself, I know it's a bit clichéd, but it's really how I feel about the place.

Home is where your heart is, and I truly believe that I left mine in Thailand, in a small gas station in Samui somewhere between Lamai and Chaweng.

I don't know why I am still living in Europe. I should leave, I really should.

Even if teaching is not an option for me, I should be able to open a company. I have some savings and I graduated from a major business school so I should be able to manage a small import / export company or something like that.

But I stay in Europe and I don't leave. I am afraid to leave. Why? I don't know. I have nothing special here – no wife no kids. I have a nice career going on, but I don't really care about it.

At this moment of my life, Thailand is like the most beautiful girl in a club – you know you have your chance because she smiled at you, but you don't go and talk to her, you don't move and keep looking at her with envy, but you do nothing….