Submit your own Great Escape


Brendan

Q1. Where did you move to and when?

I moved back to England in late 2021.

Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?

I worked in Thailand for about five years. Prior to that, I did a one-year stint in Japan. That was a total disaster but I'll save the details for another time.

Q3. What was your main reason for moving?

This is a strange one to explain but I got up one morning and I was overwhelmed with a feeling of 'homesickness'. You wouldn't expect to have such emotions after being away from home for six years, but my mother had suddenly become very ill, my nieces and nephews were all growing up. I just felt like I didn't want to be away from 'home' any longer. I carried on through the day think that perhaps the homesickness would go away - but it didn't. If anything, the urge to get on the next flight home just got stronger and stronger.

Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?

I was very lucky inasmuch as a relative had passed away and been very generous to me in her will. Add to that a bit of money I had stashed away during my time as a teacher, and I returned to the UK with a fairly nice financial buffer. I was able to use that cash to set up my own small software business and it's now doing quite well in just a few short months. I would have hated the thought of returning to the UK with no money and a five-year gap in my CV and kipping on someone's sofa until I get myself sorted out. Fortunately that was never going to be the case so I was lucky in that respect.

Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?

Thailand was a great adventure. There is so much I miss about the place but mainly the warm weather I suppose. Standing at bus stops in February with an icy wind howling around your eyes brought me sharply down to earth I can tell you. I go out for a couple of Thai meals every month at various Thai restaurants and I suppose I'm trying to recapture some of the old Land of Smiles magic or at least keep some kind of connection. Alas, the Thais who run these places are all very westernized. They never want to chat about home. It's surprising how quickly Thais turn their backs on Thailand once they are settled in a new land. It's quite comical in a way.

Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?

Oh, absolutely! You'll have the time of your life. But I would give serious thought to doing it for more than one or two years. I never met that many people who had made a career out of teaching in Thailand but I did meet many folks in their 40s and 50s who just seemed to survive from paycheck to paycheck. I didn't want to end up like that.

Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?

Hopefully I'll come back for holidays. In fact I've already pencilled in a trip for next January.

Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?

Thailand has its downsides for the foreign teacher (and we all know what they are by now) but it's very easy to get complacent and stuck in a rut. Looking back - and hindsight is a wonderful thing - I would have liked to have done two or possibly three years and left it at that. Five years was a bit too long. I'm glad I pushed myself and got on the plane home. If I hadn't made the effort on the day that homesickness kicked in, who knows how long I would have stayed.

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