Q1. Where did you move to and when?
I returned to my home town of Hastings in the UK in March 2020.
Q2. How long did you work in Thailand?
I was there for just under two years, working at a private school in Bangkok.
Q3. What was your main reason for moving?
I just had the feeling that life was going nowhere and teaching was not really what I wanted to do. I mean, it was something I wanted to try while I was still in my twenties so I basically stuck a pin in a map of Asia and thought 'Bangkok, why not?. Perhaps things may have turned out differently had I gone for somewhere like Japan or China.
I had a real love / hate relationship with Bangkok. There would be days when I'd be on a boat going down the Chao Phrya River with the wind in my hair and thinking wow! this is such a great city, but this would be negated by standing at the side of a busy road in the rainy season, soaking wet, and trying to flag down a taxi. I think Bangkok is a wonderful place to spend part of your vacation but as for working there, I'm still not sure how I managed two years.
I never seemed to have any money either. I used to get paid 40,000 baht a month but could never budget properly and often ran out of cash before the month's end. I made a circle of girlfriends who all earned considerably more than I did and it was difficult to keep up with the Joneses. As for the dating scene, don't get me started. It felt hopeless for Western women.
Q4. What are the advantages of working where you are now compared to Thailand?
Well, with the Covid situation, work hasn't been that easy to come by, especially in a sparrow fart town like Hastings, which relies heavily on seasonal tourism. I've done some office temping and bar work (I've even done some cycle courier work to stay fit) but it's all been zero hours contract stuff. I suppose like many other young people in the same situation, I'm waiting for the world to get back to some sort of normality.
Q5. What do you miss about life in Thailand?
Not much at all. It would be far easier to write a list of what I don't miss. The Thai people are nice I guess in a non-confrontational way but I generally found Thai friends very hard to make. There was just too much of a culture gap there. I guess I miss the warm weather but certainly not the rainy season!
Q6. Would you advise a new teacher to seek work in Thailand or where you are now?
I worked with teachers who had been there ten years or more and absolutely loved it. Thailand will either suit you or it won't. I noticed that the happiest foreigners I worked with were those who never let things get them down; the positive, go-with-the-flow folks. That's never been my personality and I probably let too many minor issues affect me.
Q7. Any plans to return to Thailand one day?
No. If I returned to that part of the world to look for teaching work (and that's very doubtful) I would probably try Japan, although I would do a lot more research before taking the plunge.
Q8. Anything else you'd like to add?
I didn't find Bangkok that cheap at all. As I said earlier, a 40K salary wasn't really sufficient to last a month and I was only paying 10K of that for rent. I would say you need double that salary amount for a decent lifestyle, especially if you like your evenings out. I'm sure other parts of Thailand, in the smaller towns and cities, are much cheaper though and 40K would be plenty.