Q1. Where did you move to and when?
I moved back to Newcastle in the north of England in February of 2020.
Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?
I was there for 7 years and worked all that time at a government school in Chiang Rai. I don't suppose you get many teachers who last 7 years at one school! I certainly never met many.
Q3. What was your main reason for moving?
My wife fancied giving life in England a try. After the death of her Mother in 2019, she no longer had any family ties to hold her back and living abroad was always something she'd wanted to do. She felt that at 40 years of age, it was now or never. I was perfectly happy to stay in Thailand because I loved the school I taught at and the staff and students, etc, but I wanted to give my better half the opportunity to fulfill a dream. Always at the back of my mind was that if things didn't work out in England, we could always come back and pick up where we left off.
Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?
Well, England is always home and Newcastle will always be my hometown I guess. Although I never planned to return, it's been great to be back among friends and family. And my wife has settled in really well, made plenty of friends and got herself a part-time job at a local supermarket. She loves life here and if she's happy, then I'm happy. I've gone back into the estate agency business, which is something I did before I left for Thailand. A lot has changed in England since I've been away and very little of it for the better.
Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?
Not sure where to start. The warm weather, the easy way of life, shopping for fresh fruit and veg at a local market, enjoying a coffee and a cake in one of Chiang Rai's numerous coffee shops, day trips and drives into the mountains and the beautiful scenery, the friendly northern Thais and their amazing hospitality. I could easily compile a list of a hundred reasons. Hold on, I'm beginning to wonder what the hell I'm doing here? LOL
Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?
Thailand 100% yes. Approach it with the right mindset and you'll have the time of your life.
Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?
If you asked me, my response would be 'without a doubt'. If you asked my wife you would probably get silence and a half-smile. I'm very much a go-with-the-flow kind of guy (probably why Thailand suited me so much) and I'll accept whatever the future holds. There's no real plan at the moment.
Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?
Thailand has its problems but it's a fabulous country to make a home in for a few years. There's something special about SE Asia in general. It's such a wonderful part of the world and hardly surprising so many foreigners find it hard to leave. It's easy to live within your means. There is no need to spend a fortune but you can still have a great lifestyle. That's what I love about it!