Q1. Where did you move to and when?
I moved back to England in October 2019.
Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?
I was there for three years. I worked for two years at a government school in Kanchanaburi and then moved to Bangkok and did a year there at a private school.
Q3. What was your main reason for moving?
I started to get homesick and a couple of my close teaching colleagues had decided to call it a day and head back home as well - one to the south of England and one to rural Ireland. I guess I got caught up in the moment and when I heard my colleagues making plans for the future, I became slightly envious. I longed for a pint down the pub with some of my old mates.
I was still enjoying Thailand to a certain degree though, and I knew returning home was going to be a gamble.
Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?
There aren't any at all as far as I'm concerned. I was inspired to do this survey by reading Mark's story and how he returned to live on The Isle of Wight in that lovely flat overlooking the sea. You lucky blighter, Mark, is all I can say.
I'm living back at my parent's house in Blackpool, which has to now be one of the most depressing and deprived places in England. It really is grim up here and the virus situation is only going to make things worse in terms of unemployment, etc. Actually, I'm sleeping on a make-shift camp-bed in the garage. The Winter was murder with those icy draughts coming in off the North Sea. I would've had my old childhood bedroom back but it's now occupied by my younger sister, who has also moved back home following a failed marriage.
My Mother and Father have just the two children. I'm not quite sure which one they consider to be the biggest fuck-up in life.
Work-wise, I've drifted from job to job since my return. You take what you can get in this part of the world. I've done some labouring, some painting and decorating and some driving for a parcel delivery firm. UK companies really want their pound of flesh from you these days - and all for not enough money. I've just turned 46 years old and I can't see any kind of future here for a TEFL teacher / carpet fitter.
Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?
On Saturday nights, when the four of us are gathered around the idiot's lantern watching Strictly Come Dancing and the rain outside is lashing against the windows, my Mum will say 'anyone fancy a Mr Kipling apple slice?' (a pound for six from Costcutter) and I will feel like bursting into tears. My life in Thailand feels so far away in some forgotten and distant dimension and I've barely been back half a year. The answer to what do you miss about life in Thailand is 'everything. Absolutely everything'.
Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?
Don't think about it. Just do it! Treasure every second. Like every other country in the world, Thailand has its faults but I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be right now, even under partial lock down.
Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?
As soon as the flight restrictions are lifted and I've got a bit of money together, I'll be straight on to the internet for a one-way ticket. And I'm outta here!
Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?
The grass isn't always greener on the other side. Before you consider returning home, just take a moment to look around you and appreciate what you have where you are. I was doing a comfortable teaching job for 40,000 baht a month (more than enough to live on) and I had a decent apartment with a large circle of Thai and foreign friends. And I gave that all up for what? It worked for Mark but it won't work for everyone. It was certainly a bad move for me.