Some of you may find it confusing that I even consider returning to live back in the UK. Others – well versed in my blogs – will be less surprised as I have mooted this point consistently through a series of vlogs and blogs over the years. In my heart I still believe and want to be back in the UK at some point, the only question is when.
Often I even question my own continual contemplating of such a move as I have created a wonderful life here in Thailand, but that burning ambition never really leaves me. I have lived in Thailand since 2006 and yet it never really quite feels like home – regardless of the life I have created, I am all to often reminded that I am just an alien in this country (two-tier pricing, 90 day reports, unable to get a credit card etc).
On the surface my life in Thailand is the envy of most. I love the work I do, I love Thai culture, food, beaches and climate. There is not much I would want to change. But I actually like change and think it is healthy and keeps life interesting and stimulating.
A few years back when on a visit to the UK I took an early morning walk with my youngest brother and his dog. I asked him what his next steps were in life, keen to understand my brothers plans. He surprised me when he said he was quite content with his life – his house, job and all round life. He had no plans. The shock was more compared to my outlook. I am more than content with my life, but that doesn’t stop me wanting new things or to change my life again at some point.
This longing to change has probably meant knock backs in my careers along the way. I walked away from a very decent job in London when I was 29 years old to come to Thailand. Again, it was nothing to do with running away from my life – I loved my job and life in the UK – I just wanted a change. It meant I had to rebuild again, but I did and I am better off for it (although sometimes I do wonder what I would have gone onto achieve if I had stayed).
The thought of never having the chance to live back in the UK, surrounded by my brothers again, is not something I would want to miss. A chance to explore the UK and Europe again with increased frequency and reintegrate back into a country I always loved. The only difference is I would go back on my terms and make a return back to a different area rather than the one I left. Otherwise it would feel, to me at least, like a step backwards.
Work Hard, Play Hard
Truth be known I have never worked so hard, harder even than my corporate days in London. It’s not that I am addicted to work, it is just that I know in order to progress and succeed – more so in an alien country like Thailand – you have to put in the graft.
I have seen so many Expats over the years come and go, unable to make it work in the Land of Smiles. In most instances individuals are forced to be entrepreneurs and go it alone, often working in channels poles apart from their experience and skill set. You also need to be massively adaptive and monitor the market trends on the horizon. Unlike in your domestic countries there are bigger market fluctuations and overhauls. Take tourism where we saw the Europeans become marginal and new nations like the Russians, Koreans, Japanese and Chinese start to dominate certain regions over the years.
It means to win you have to work hard, adapt and be brave. I may be living the dream in one respect, but in other ways I am working flat out. It’s not uncommon for me to work 7 days a week. Needs must.
A Return to the UK always interests me
With all these battles of work – combined with the highs of boat trips, island hops, walks on the beach, basking in the sun and enjoying a drink on a Bangkok rooftop – life can be full on. I am no retiree in Thailand but a full time working expat. I think strangely this intensity gives me a mindset that I need to target a new horizon – location – at some point to aim for! Today I am still in my wealth building stage of life, I don’t want to get caught short when I am older and retired.
The UK would not interest me if I were to return to a more predictable rat race, but if I were able to return more financially secure and live and operate on my terms that becomes very appealing. To enjoy all that attributes and beauty the UK and neighbouring Europe has to offer without the burden of having to work hard anymore.
One thing is clear – even if cliche- life is short and we should all make the most of the time we have, surrounded by loved ones and happy environments. We live in a big and fascinating world yet most of us never even scrape the surface.