Just this week I was with my media team for a night away at a beach-fronted, five star resort in na-Jomtien. The weather was a bit overcast and it was threatening to rain. As I strolled onto the beach my overall opinion was the resort looked a bit tired and that I had seen better.
The following morning, just after a buffet breakfast – which I again thought was only average – I sat around the pool for a quick relax before I driving back to my office to start the day proper.
As I lay back on a sun lounger I watched a few tourists walk past me, either on their way to breakfast themselves or heading down to the beach. There was a mix of Russian families and Thais. Many of the Russians sporting red skin from over exposure, but all looking pretty chilled and relax. Exactly what you would expect from anyone away on their holiday break.
For me, I was planning my day and the work I needed to catch up on having lost a few hours the day before bringing the team away for a mini-break. I was in every sense going through the motions of a working expat, whilst those around me were enjoying their vacation in paradise.
Whilst they would have been loving the resort and holiday, grumpy old expat – me – could merely muster average opinions on the venue. I realised at the that moment what I had been doing and so this time I opened my eyes, this time with vigour and interest in my surroundings. What I really could see was a version of tropical paradise – yet I had failed to see it before. The resort in reality looked splendid.
What was apparent was that I had become complacent for the life Thailand gives me and my family every day. My friends in the UK would, on the whole, only dream of the life I have created here. I have no idea now – and have now forgotten – what going to work in the dark and freezing cold feels like. I cannot remember the last time I saw a radiator in a house – normally I see a swimming pool. It is a stark contrast in living conditions.
Was it just me or have other expats also become complacent of their life in Thailand? I guess it has to be expected that over time things normalise and so we can’t expect to walk around continuously amazed by what we see – but we do need a wake up call at times.
Do Expats experience more extremes than others?
In an earlier post I looked at how expats suffer more mental health problems than their stay at home counter parts. It initially surprised me – yet other expat posters commented that they were not surprised at all by these statistics. It cited loneliness, anxiety and missing friends and family as likely issues.
If we take this as true then it would suggest us Expats really do stretch things to the limit and are tested by challenges of living abroad. But – and this is a huge BUT – at the same time if and once we get through any issues, then our life can become something others can only dream of. Becoming complacent of this after working so hard to get to this position is therefore a crying shame!
Yes we know the exchange rates have made Thailand more expensive for many retirees, we can see how the Western market is becoming smaller and that there are fewer Western working expats than in previous years. What ever the challenge, we should just rise to the task. I mean, do you really want to go back home or to another nearby country like the Philippines or Vietnam? It is doubtful anyone, through their own freedom of choice, really does.
Never become complacent with living in Thailand
The average Thai is nice, the climate is wonderful, the beaches are world class, the infrastructure is excellent, Bangkok is cosmopolitan and very interesting as a location, Thailand is a great gateway to other Asian locations to visit… I – and you – could go on.
I don’t ever again want to walk through a terrific 5 star resort and think my life is ‘only OK’. It is daft, but I am sure I am not the only Expat who has ever done this.
Thailand is a wonderful country to live and after 14 years I am not bored quite just yet! This doesn’t mean Thailand will be my home for ever – that would be missing out on further riches which is a blog for another day. For now, I just need to learn from my reality check whilst at the resort last week and never be complacent again as an Expat in Thailand.