Q1. Where did you move to and when?
I moved back home to Los Angeles in July of 2018, so I've been back for almost a year now.
Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?
I think it was about three years. I started off at a government school in Bangkok and did some part-time language school work on the side. Then I fancied a change of scenery and went to work for a school in Nongkahi, right up there in the far north-east. What a big mistake that was! Then I came back to Bangkok and got a job at a very good college in Nonthaburi. I had to think about all that for a moment.
Q3. What was your main reason for moving?
I met and fell in love with a Thai girl who worked at one of the companies where I did some evening corporate work (hopefully I'm not the first guy that's happened to) and to cut a long story short, we got married and when I suggested moving back to the USA, she was happy to give it a go. I wanted her to experience life abroad as well even if was only to aid her personal growth because she was in a bit of a dead-end management position where she was.
Personally I hadn't fallen out of love with Thailand, but I was getting a little bored with the daily routine. I still think Thailand is a wonderful place for a holiday but I'm not so sure about living and working there for an extended period.
Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?
Well, I went back into the retail food profession and make much more money than I ever did in Thailand. My wife is doing well too and works for a small fashion company, helping them with marketing and improving their online presence, etc. She's settled into the American way of life very quickly. She's put on quite a lot of weight as well but hopefully she won't be reading this :) We've managed to get our own place and we have a car and a few mod-cons. It's not the lap of luxury by any means but we're happy with our lot at the moment.
Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?
I really miss just hopping on a cheap flight to other countries in Asia for a short break. I did a lot of travelling while I was there and got to see Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia and Myanmar. Had some great times - especially going with a bunch of other guys. There are some wonderful places in Thailand too if you can get off the beaten track and avoid the usual tourist destinations that tend to wear thin very quickly.
Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand?
I'm really not sure what my answer is to that question. I wonder if Thailand has had its day as an Asian TEFL destination and other countries in the region have more to offer these days? I would love to have given teaching in Vietnam a try but it just never happened. It certainly seemed to pay more than in Thailand.
It's a well-known fact that salaries in Thailand have hardly moved in the past 20 years or more but it's become considerably more expensive to live there. I always found that Thai people earn a lot more than you think plus they have that family security net and welfare, etc.
Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?
We're planning a trip in October mainly so my wife can see her parents and brother. I feel largely indifferent about going back, especially during what will be the rainy season. And I don't think a single one of my teaching colleagues is still around. They've all moved on to other countries or returned home. I'm not really sure what I'm going to do with myself for three weeks actually.
Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?
Thailand isn't for everyone. I once heard the country described as 'organised chaos' and I wouldn't disagree with that. If you are the kind of person who likes everything to be either black or white and organised how you like it or perhaps how you are used to, then Thailand is possibly going to push you to your limits. I met a lot of teachers who started off with good intentions, but Thailand kind of got the better of them in the end and they just couldn't handle the day-to-day living. You have to go with the flow in Thailand and not let all those minor annoyances wear you down.