Q1. Where did you move to and when?
Moved back to the USA (San Jose, CA) in October, 2016
Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?
Just shy of 4 years.
Q3. What was your main reason for moving?
Salary of course. Also, I am 33 years old and don't want to be an English teacher my entire life. It was never the long-term plan, but the years were tacking on one-by-one and I had to break the cycle. Regardless of several bargains, there is no denying that teacher salaries have barely budged in Thailand in the last 20 years, yet the cost of living is increasing everywhere.
Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?
Contrary to what a lot of foreigners complained about when they talked about "back home" and being tied down to a job they don't like, I actually have more flexibility with work, less overall hours, and a shorter commute, despite being in Southern California.
Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?
Meeting new people, especially Thai friends. I never understood my co-corkers who went to the British pubs on weekends to "get away and relax." If I wanted to be around the familiar sights of home, I would have just stayed in the USA initially.
I miss the cheap massages, street food, and exploring new places.
Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?
Have an exit plan and stick to it. I can't stress that enough. It was a lot harder to leave than I thought it would be initially, but once I committed to it and followed through with it, my quality of life has improved significantly.
Don't become a farang statistic in Thailand. Learn to speak Thai while you are in Thailand - It isn't too hard to learn if you practice. Make friends, but try to make more Thai friends instead of just surrounding yourself with fellow Westerners. Expect a low salary, and if you accept a position, don't whine and complain about the long hours, low pay, etc. It is what you signed up for!
Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?
Maybe. I would want to come again and visit new places and experience new things. Maybe scuba diving or rock climbing, or some new motorbiking routes. It would be pointless to keep revisiting the same country to visit the same places and do the same things over and over. It's a big world.
Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?
If you want to be an English teacher in Thailand, be committed. You need to have at least a little interest/passion in actually being a teacher and improving the lives of children. Too many teachers I worked with in Thailand just wanted to "live the dream" and became teachers because it was the only job available. So sad.