I think the older we get the softer we get towards other people, well for me this seems the case. When I first arrived in Thailand over a decade ago it was carnage, I spent more time awake when the sun had gone down. It was one big party. Now I am more focused and family-orientated here in Thailand. However in both instances, the foundation to this all was – and still is – the people around me.
Now you may wonder where I am taking this blog, so let me cut to the chase. Thailand has some of the most beautiful sites you can see anywhere on this planet from temples to beaches, yet would they count for nothing if we did not have friends around us to enjoy it with? Well, I think so.
I have lived in both Pattaya and Hua Hin during my time in Thailand. Firstly Pattaya, then Hua Hin for a year and then back to Pattaya, where I am now. When I moved locations, it was not actually the area and its proposition that I missed, but the people I left behind. Pattaya may have hundreds of restaurants and bars for me to choose to frequent, but when I left the city I merely embraced what Hua Hin had to offer. However spoiled I was by Pattaya’s weight of attractions, I never missed them once I had gone.
It’s an important point, I think, as perhaps we focus on the wrong things in life. You know, how could one possibly live in Hua Hin as it’s too quiet or the naysayers on Pattaya citing the abundance of bars; this kind of mumblings of discontent I hear when I mention both areas. Yet at the end of the day, it pales into significance if you are not with friends or loved ones – this is what counts on every decision.
As is the case with many expats, I often toy with the idea of a return back to the UK with my family. I have lived in Thailand for approaching 15 years, so a change can be as good as a rest. However when I think about it, it is not the lifestyle or the sunshine that I will miss, but the friendships I would leave behind.
We can often forget just how many friends we make whilst in Thailand as the expat scene is by and large a social place to exist. From work colleagues to people I meet at the sauna, gym to bars, right through to the businesses I deal with. Through familiarity, I have built a huge friend network.
As I get older I realise we can never get time back and all we are left with are the memories to cherish.
On Facebook just the other week a reunion of former friends in Pattaya met up together back in the UK. They had been living back in the UK for many years now but never let go of their friendships made whilst living in Thailand.
If my blog was to have a purpose, I guess it is to remind us all of just what is the most special thing we can all have, regardless of if we live in Thailand or not, and that is each other!