Interview with an Expat: Michal in Bangkok, Thailand

Smoggy Bangkok

Czech expat “Michal” (a pseudonym), tells me all about his experience living in Bangkok, Thailand’s densely populated capital city, from 2014 to 2015. We’ve all probably heard that Bangkok is a single man’s paradise, a food paradise, or even a shopping paradise, but Michal is here to let us know what he thought lived up to the hype and what didn’t. Read the full interview below to see what Bangkok looked like through the eyes of a young Eastern European man (Ness in bold font and Michal in regular font):

Could you start by telling us your age, nationality, hometown, ethnicity, and what kind of person you consider yourself to be (personality-wise)?

I’m 27 years-old. I come from the Czech Republic. I was born in the capital, Prague, which is where I spent the first 25 years of my life. I’m a white guy. I guess I’m not what you’d call a people person, though I can be. I have to make a special effort to be outgoing or friendly. They don’t come very naturally to me.

Do you consider yourself introverted?

Yes, I do. That’s pretty accurate. I can also be fairly shy.

So how long did you live in Bangkok?

One year and seven months to be precise, and I have plans to return in the near future.

Do you have experience living in or traveling to countries other than Thailand and the Czech Republic?

While I was living in Thailand, I had a chance to go to Vietnam. I spent several days there, mostly in Ho Chi Minh City. I also went to Myanmar while I was in Thailand. I needed a visa stamp, so I was only there for a short period of time. Prior to coming to Thailand, I went on many “regular” holidays – Egypt and Croatia twice, as well as both Italy and Germany.

That’s quite a wide range of places. Three continents. Not bad!

Yeah, there’s a lot of variety there. I went on many of these trips when I was in my late teens, so I wasn’t all that conscious of most things, such as the local culture. I have fond memories of Egypt. I was really fascinated by the ancient aspect of it. I saw the pyramids and the Sphinx, and I also took a boat trip on the Nile River. That was really nice.

Out of all these countries you’ve been to, do you have any favorites or least favorites?

It’s not so easy to say. For short-term travel, I prefer exotic places, so I really enjoyed Egypt and certain parts of Thailand and Vietnam. I can’t say that there’s a place that I regret visiting.

I also never regret going to certain places, and I will give all places a second chance, even if I didn’t enjoy them the first time. But if I don’t like a place a second time, then I probably won’t go back there for a long, long time.

That’s a pretty good strategy. I also believe in second chances.

How much have you seen of Thailand beyond Bangkok? Any favorite or least favorite places?

I’ve pretty much traveled all over Thailand. Prior to coming to work and live in Bangkok, I made several trips to Thailand, sometimes looking for work. The first time was in the summer of 2012 with a group of seven guys. It was a very “all-male” style of vacation. We went to Phuket, which is one of the most expensive and touristy places in Thailand. The second time I stayed for two weeks in Pattaya, a small beachside town an hour and a half’s drive from Bangkok. Pattaya has a pretty notorious notoriety surrounding it. I went there with my best friend, and we had a pretty good time.

Soi Post Office in Pattaya, Thailand

The third time I went to explore Bangkok, and I also revisited Phuket. This time I visited different parts of the island than I had visited the first time. Once I was working in Thailand, I visited even more of the country – Krabi, Chiang Mai, Kanchanaburi, Suphanburi, Ang Thong, Hua Hin, as well as others. I really liked Hua Hin and Pranburi. Pranburi and Pai (a small town about 150 kilometers northwest of Chiang Mai) were my favorites.

I’ve been to Hua Hin and Pattaya several times. I’ve also been to Nong Khai up on the border with Laos, as well as Suphanburi and Amphawa. I personally despise Pattaya, though I understand it serves a certain purpose. Don’t get me wrong, Pattaya’s a fun place, but I’ve really got to be in the right mood for it. But I really like Hua Hin and its atmosphere, though I admit it’s a bit touristy.

Have you ever been to Khao Takiab, the large hill there in Hua Hin with all the monkeys?

Yeah, I’ve been there twice. I’ve taken several photos of the place.

The monkeys are really aggressive there, and they were jumping all over me and my girlfriend when we rode a motorcycle through there. They pick-pocketed us and stole a bunch of stuff from our bags. Pretty rude!

A Macaque at Khao Takiab in Hua Hin, Thailand

Haha, yeah, they once stole a bag of coconut water from my group! But Khao Takiab is still a fun and unique place.

Hua Hin is a nice counterpoint to Bangkok. It’s really the opposite of everything Bangkok stands for. Bangkok is an overcrowded metropolis full of contradictions. On one hand you have all these super modern skyscrapers, but on the other hand you have all these dilapidated shanty towns. And they’re all right next to each other.

Whenever I traveled to Hua Hin from Bangkok, I could always immediately notice the differences. The people in Hua Hin, such as the 7-Eleven store clerks, seemed so much nicer and patient. I could tell the people in Hua Hin weren’t “big city people” like those back in Bangkok.

People traveling to Thailand need to keep in mind that Bangkok really doesn’t represent what Thailand is all about. Bangkok is a world unto itself. Bangkok has become westernized more than any other place in Thailand. Part of it is the architecture, but it also translates into the local culture. For example, just take a ride on the BTS and look around at all the people absorbed into their smartphones. That’s just one aspect of how Bangkok has become westernized, but I don’t find this kind of behavior to be as extreme in other parts of Thailand.

I’d say many countries in developing Asia are this way. That is, their largest cities are kind of mini countries of their own, and those cities don’t necessarily represent their respective countries well. Shanghai in China, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, or Manila in the Philippines. Sure, they represent their respective countries, but at the same time they’re kind of their own little mini countries. I guess you could also say that California in the United States is its own little mini country. The same with Guangdong province in China. But I understand your point about Bangkok, and I agree with you.

How did you make a living there in Bangkok? Was the pay any good?

I worked as an English instructor at a school located near Siam Square in the heart of Bangkok. It’s considered to be the best secondary public school in all of Thailand. I taught 17 to 18 periods per week, and each period was 50 minutes. My salary was 35,000 baht per month. It was a decent salary. Bangkok has become inundated with private language schools, so there are plenty of other opportunities to teach private classes as well. Some schools pay as high as 1,000 baht per 50-minute period, which is not bad at all for 50 minutes, especially if you need the money.

Prior to being an English teacher, did you work in any other industries?

The bulk of my experience is in English teaching. Prior to my arrival in Thailand, I had about four years of experience teaching English. While I was finishing my degree in Prague, I worked as an English teacher, as well as an interpreter and translator. I also did some telemarketing as a summer job in my late teens.

What were the best aspects of your job in Bangkok?

Looking in retrospect, one thing I really liked was the students. They were mostly 16 to 17 years-old. Since my school is considered one of the best in Thailand, it’s highly competitive, and it’s not easy for students to get accepted there. The English level of the average student was fairly high. They could understand about 90% of what I said to them. I liked that I didn’t have to “dumb down” my lessons too much, which is something I had to do with students in Prague.

Many of my students were smart and really eager to improve their English. Students would often come to me after class for tips on how to improve their grammar, and they were also quite interested in Western culture. Though there were some exceptions, I generally felt respected as an English teacher in Thailand.

Class of High School Students in Bangkok, Thailand

I also liked that I had a lot of autonomy when it came to my curriculum and the content of the lessons. This granted me a lot of freedom to do fun activities in class.

I also got four to five months paid vacation time per year. The students had long breaks from school, and there were also many holidays where we didn’t need to come into work. That’s a lot of vacation time, so that’s definitely one of the perks.

The food in the cafeteria of the neighboring university was also very good and cheap. Some of the women in the university were hot as hell, too! If you’re into uniforms, then you’d be in heaven there.

Of course I agree with you about all the hot girls! I really miss Thai cafeteria food too. I got tired of eating it every day for three years in a row, but I have to admit it was really good and cheap. Better taste and better value than most of what I’ve found living and eating in China and Japan.

So what were the worst aspects of your job in Bangkok?

What I didn’t like was the average classroom size – 40 to 45 students. That’s a lot! It’s hard for students to learn efficiently when they’re sharing the classroom with that many other students. The classrooms were also very poorly equipped, nor did most of the classrooms have air conditioning. Bangkok is hot and humid, so be prepared to sweat!

The students had five to six English lessons a week, and only one or two of those were with a foreign English teacher. I saw each one of my classes only once a week. Because of this, it was very hard to form any kind of relationship or bond. And it was pretty much impossible to remember any of their names. The students were also very aware of the fact that my class didn’t matter too much in regards to their overall grade. Sometimes they wouldn’t even show up at all!

A Thai Classroom

As far as remembering my Thai students’ names, I could only remember maybe 5%. I felt guilty about it, but I just can’t remember 600 names every new school year. That’s way too many! Especially super long Thai names. And let’s not forget that most Thai people also have a nickname that they prefer to go by, so you’re supposed to remember that on top of their regular name.

I understand you have a CELTA. I myself once debated getting one, but ultimately I never did. After your teaching experience in Bangkok, do you feel the time, money, and effort you put into getting the CELTA was worth it? Are you glad you got it or do you regret it?

That’s a really good question, and I’ll answer it very directly by saying yes, it was definitely worth it. The CELTA is a four-week intensive course that focuses on teaching practical teaching skills. Some of the teaching techniques and methods I learned from the course I definitely had plenty of opportunity to use and implement while I was teaching in Bangkok.

I was also briefly enrolled in an English master’s degree course at a university in Bangkok, yet I felt the CELTA offered me far more valuable information in only four weeks than the master’s course did over a whole semester. The master’s course was very focused on theory, while the CELTA was mostly practical. If I were to be thrown into a classroom after taking the master’s course, I wouldn’t be that much better of a teacher. Whereas after the CELTA, I felt much more prepared to tackle what was ahead of me.

That said, nothing can replace actual teaching experience, as you’ll never know what a classroom environment is really gonna be like until you are in one for the first time. But having had both experiences, I felt the CELTA was the better investment. It made me a better and more effective teacher. And from my experience, employers look far more favorably at a CELTA than a basic TEFL certificate. The CELTA carries a certain prestige.

So it sounds like the CELTA is a pretty worthwhile investment. I’d still consider getting one some day. How was the cost of living to income ratio there in Bangkok? Do you feel your salary offered you a good lifestyle?

I think I had a pretty good standard of living. I also had plenty of opportunities to increase my income. My main income of 35,000 baht (about US $963) might sound like a pittance from a Western point-of-view, but it actually affords you a decent, above standard lifestyle in Bangkok.

What did you find to be exceptionally cheap and exceptionally expensive in Bangkok?

Local fruits are very cheap, and there are many different kinds of fruit available. Local Thai food is generally cheap if you stay away from the touristy places. But cheaper local food is generally true for anywhere. Obviously imported products and brands are more expensive than the local stuff. I also found milk to be comparatively expensive to what I’m used to paying in Europe.

Hotels in Bangkok are a bit pricey. The price you pay and the quality you get don’t match up very well.  I can get equally good or better accommodation here in central Europe for cheaper than what I would pay in Bangkok. If you want to stay somewhere nice in Bangkok, be prepared to pay up. The situation is just as bad if not worse in Hua Hin and Phuket.

I feel the BTS skytrain is expensive when compared to the average local salary. I’ve been to Asian cities just as developed, if not more developed than Bangkok, and where the average local salary is even higher – i.e. Shanghai, Beijing, and Taipei – and their respective metro systems are about one half to one third cheaper than Bangkok’s.

Chongnonsi BTS Station in Bangkok

That’s a really good point, and I totally agree with you. Both the Bangkok skytrain and the subway system are relatively expensive. They’re both more expensive than what the metro system costs here in Prague, a capital city in a developed country. But on the other hand, I feel Bangkok taxis are very cheap. But the problem with taxis in Bangkok is you often get stuck in traffic, which is counterproductive.

Bangkok just isn’t a convenient city to get around. There’s no one method of transportation that trumps them all. Buses and taxis are susceptible to traffic jams. The skytrain and subway are crowded and overpriced, and of course sometimes you’ve got to walk a long way from the station to your destination. The boats are crowded and not very user-friendly. The motorcycle taxis are dangerous and not good for long journeys. Bangkok is a frustrating city to get around, and you often have to take multiple modes of transportation to simply get from point A to point B.

You’re right. I hate having to climb all the steps up to the skytrain in the scorching hot weather. I also hate waiting in the line to get change from the coin machine, and then waiting in the next line to get a ticket. Admittedly, the skytrain was pretty nice one you got up on the platform, though. I think the subway beat all the other modes of transportation in terms of efficiency. I liked taking it.

I agree that the subway’s the best overall in terms of getting around, though of course it has its flaws. But once I bought a bicycle to get around Bangkok, I never looked back. I stopped bothering with the skytrain, subway, buses, and taxis, and just started to ride my bike everywhere. Bangkok definitely isn’t a bicycle friendly city, though! But seeing the city on a bike gives you a unique perspective and more opportunities to stumble into the unknown, which I think is a good thing.

I had a bicycle to get around Bangkok too. Having a bicycle puts you at the bottom of the traffic food chain so to speak. You have to be assertive to get around, or else you’ll always get stuck behind all the cars, motorcycles, and tuk-tuks. But cycling is a great way to get around if you’re not going too far, and if you don’t mind the risk of getting run over.

What everyday items do you feel were the most difficult to find in Bangkok? Any rare items you feel newbies to Thailand ought to bring with them from their respective home countries? I personally recommend people bring stick deodorant with them, as its availability fluctuates in Bangkok. You don’t want to get stuck without deodorant for months at a time!

Certain kinds of bread, like rolls or buns, can be hard to find or are prohibitively expensive once you do find them. But other than that, I can’t think of any specific items that I couldn’t manage to find in Bangkok.

I give Bangkok a lot of credit for having so many everyday items readily available, at least those that a Westerner would want or need. Bangkok had just about everything I needed. Sometimes I had to look in very specific places for certain things, but at least they could still be found and for an acceptable price. Can’t say the same about China or Japan.

I also recommend people buy most of their name brand clothing while back home. For example, I personally like Calvin Klein products, and they’re anywhere from two to ten times cheaper in the USA than they are in Asia.

And this goes mostly for people from Europe, except for maybe the Italians, but it’s hard to find traditional European food in Thailand. Thais have very peculiar tastes in foreign food. Things like goulash and certain European groceries can be very hard to find. I didn’t miss traditional European food all that much while I lived in Bangkok per say, but I’m just letting other people know that these kind of foods aren’t going to be easy to find. But as you said, most of the things you need are available in Bangkok, and I consider that a plus for living there.

And now moving on to a much different topic. How was your love life in Bangkok? Do you feel being a European guy there helped or hindered you in regards to romance? I know that’s a big question.

I’m someone who finds Asian beauty generally more attractive to what’s available here in Europe. I also think there’s less cultural baggage to deal with in Thailand. For example, I’m not required to own a house or a car to date Thai women. With Thai women, I’m expected to be a man, and she’s expected to be a woman. I’m appreciated for my masculinity. It’s just implied. You don’t even need to discuss it. I believe relationships are much smoother this way. There’s less gender role friction.

There’s a certain kind of Thai woman who actually prefers Caucasian foreigners over local Thai men. There are multiple possible reasons for this. Thai society is very classist and racist. People who have lighter skin are generally considered more beautiful than those with darker complexions. And by virtue of beauty and superficialities being at the top of the Thai priority totem pole, as a white guy you have all these doors opened to you. You’re more likely to be a successful person. This gives you a head start in the Thai dating scene, especially compared to men of other races.

Thais are not particularly fond of Indians or Middle Easterners. Of course that doesn’t go for all Thais, but it’s a noticeable pattern. I worked in Bangkok with an African American guy who was intelligent, well-traveled, and good-looking. He had traveled to at least 15 different countries across Europe and Asia, and he strongly felt that Thailand is the most racist country he’s ever been to. He experienced a lot of discrimination just on account of him being black.

This cliché belief that Thailand is full of easy women who will unconditionally respect and take care of you is a fairy tale. I found two different types of women in Thailand. First, there’s the kind of Thai woman who wants you to come to Thailand and pay for all her things and to financially support her family. This type doesn’t require much effort, and she’ll probably give you easy sex. But there’s also the kind of Thai woman who’s steep in Thai tradition, and still believes that sex should only happen after the wedding. It’s just a totally different ballgame than what you’re likely to encounter in Europe.

Lots of good information, but I still want to know if you consider yourself successful with women in Thailand? Were you satisfied with what you had, and did you find what you were looking for?

Thai Girl Wolf Graffiti

I guess you could say yes. I’m satisfied. But readers out there need to ask themselves what it is they’re looking for in Thailand. Are you merely wanting a relationship based on mutual respect? Of course you can find that in Thailand. Are you just wanting cheap or easy sex, or maybe even paid-for sex that doesn’t feel too much like a business transaction? They have that in Thailand too, but they also have that in many other places in the world. China, Korea, and even the Czech Republic have affordable sex industries.

Many Westerners only view Thailand as a place to find cheap sex with plentiful brothels where you’ll receive royal treatment. Those places exist in Thailand, both inside and outside of Bangkok, but that only represents maybe 1% or less of what is actually available in Thailand. I detest getting asked when I’m back home about why I went to Thailand. They often assume I went because I was rejected or couldn’t get laid by Western women, but that’s not the case, as I had plenty of relationships before ever living in Bangkok.

There are many decent, educated, and even intelligent women available in Thailand. Thailand’s not all about the sex industry. Relationships don’t have to be all about sex and money. You can meet decent Thai women in bookstores, the library, or even in coffee shops. Sure, there are some sharks out there, but you’d have to be pretty stupid not to see right through them. Thai women aren’t any more calculative or manipulative than Western women (not that I’m calling Western women calculative or manipulative).

The bottom line is yes, I found myself more successful and more satisfied being in relationships with Thai women, both short-term and long-term, than with the women in the Czech Republic.

I respect that answer, and I agree with you. Are there any comments you can give us on life in general as a European guy living in Bangkok?

Being white in Thailand, I’m obviously conspicuous and for better or worse stand out in a big way.  The locals have a lot of preconceptions. Some think that I’m rich or at least have more money than they do. Some Thais even try to keep a distance because they believe I pose some kind of “danger” to them as a foreigner. I’m different. I’m someone else.

But at the same time some Thais will automatically grant me a certain amount of respect simply because I’m white. Thais also give me my space and don’t meddle in my private business. Some Thais are certainly nice and polite to me, but that only goes to a very shallow or superficial extent. That’s where the “Land of Smiles” slogan comes from. They’ll smile and be nice, but that kindness and generosity has a limit.

And Thais generally just don’t speak good English. Some younger people of university age can speak decent English, but most other people can’t. So not only are there cultural barriers to living in Thailand as a foreigner, but also linguistic barriers. Thais often allow foreigners to get away with certain “no-no’s,” as they just don’t want to deal with the hassle of communicating with a foreigner in a foreign language.

I find it difficult to make friends with Thais. Sure, they’ll meet up to have lunch or dinner, or even invite me to meet their family, but there’s always limits and boundaries placed on those interactions that cannot be crossed, even if we’ve been acquainted for several years.

Just like in other Asian countries, I feel I’m treated in a very polarized way. In some ways I’m treated better for simply being white. White is a certain standard of beauty in Asia, and that leads to more dating opportunities than men of other races. I’m also given the benefit of the doubt that I’m a person worthy of respect since I’m from a developed country.

But in many I’m treated worse. A lot of trash foreigners are attracted to Thailand, so I get lumped into the same group with them. When I lived in Bangkok, I didn’t like those kind of foreigners either, but some Thais just can’t tell the difference (or they just don’t want to tell the difference). For example I often got “spammed” on my daily walk to work through Silom Road. I was solicited for massages, tuk-tuk rides, knick-knacks, and all that other BS, all because I’m a white dude in Bangkok. And the way those solicitors saw it, I was obviously only in Bangkok to fulfill all my hedonistic urges.

I also found that Thai bosses often looked down their noses at foreign staff. Whether those staff members were Asian, African, American, or European, it didn’t matter, as seemingly all foreigners were viewed as uncultured, or at the very least inferior to “supreme” Thai culture.

But on to the next topic. What did you like most about life in Thailand, and what did you like the least?

I like that Thais are generally more appreciative of life, therefore they’re generally a happier society. They’re very relaxed and positive. We could speculate as to why that is, but I think it’s due to their religion, Theravada Buddhism, and the fact that they’re a simple people. And I use the word “simple” in the best sense of the word. After all, the phrase mai pben rai – no problem/ don’t worry about it / just let it go – is a way of life in Thailand.

Thai Teachers Lunch

As for what I liked the least, I didn’t like how many obstacles I had to tackle in order to get anything done or to fix a problem in Thailand. Thais are anything but straightforward. You’re not supposed to be direct with them. This is extremely frustrating. A lot of time is wasted on nonsensical and trivial tasks, yet people can be so disorganized or careless when it comes to the important tasks at hand.

Do you have any tips concerning how to have a more enjoyable experience as a newbie in Bangkok?

Bangkok is a not a city for everyone. It’s very dirty, loud, hectic, and rushed. It literally never sleeps. You need to have an adventurous and flexible attitude to be able to harness the best that the city has to offer.

You’ve also got to be flexible. Thais have different priorities and expectations than you. In order to circumvent this, sometimes you just gotta go and do things yourself and not delegate things to other people. If you absolutely have to rely on a Thai to get something done, then just be ready for things to happen slowly.

Also lower your expectations. That’s one way of protecting yourself from frustration and disappointment. Be polite and smile a lot. I’m not really a person who enjoys putting on a mask of fake positivity or emotions, but that’s what you’re expected to do in Thailand. Be humble and modest. Thai people don’t respond well to bragging. Don’t openly talk about how much better your home country is compared to Thailand. Every country has its good and bad sides.

Don’t be one of those foreigners who tries to change Thailand. It’s just not gonna happen. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment. For better or for worse, Thai people are set in their ways. It’s better to focus your efforts on making a contribution. You’re not gonna change anything in Thailand.

It can also help you immensely if you visit Thailand before you make the move there. The more the better. Do your research not just online, but also in the field. I visited Thailand three times before my move, and then I came up with a plan on how to live there. Sseeing a place from a tourist’s perspective isn’t exactly the same as actually living there, but it’s certainly better than nothing, and it helps you get acquainted with the culture.

I also studied Thai on an almost daily basis for one year prior to moving to Thailand. I was at a conversational level before I made the move. It was a worthwhile investment for me to learn the language, and it helped me big time. Outside of Bangkok, the English situation is even worse, so it’s even more worthwhile to learn Thai if you plan to live outside Bangkok.

These are really good tips that can be implemented in practically any country. As for the food, what was your overall impression of Thai and local Bangkok cuisine? Any favorite or least favorite dishes?

Thai Food on Surawong Road

I really like pad thai (Thai-style stir-fried rice noodles) and khao pad (stir-fried rice). Pad siew (rice noodles stir-fried in soy sauce) was one of my favorites when I first arrived in Thailand. And let’s not forget som tum (green papaya salad).

The bad stuff? I didn’t like the food served at my school cafeteria, that’s why I always went to the neighboring university’s cafeteria for lunch. I just didn’t like how the food was put on display. It looked like it had been sitting out for days. I also didn’t like some of the weird foods available at 7-Eleven. Some of the food combinations, like sausage and pineapple, just struck me as odd.

My personal Thai favorites are pad kra pao gai (basil chicken and rice), gai yang (Issan-style grilled chicken), khao soi gai (crispy noodles with chicken in a curry broth), and pretty much any other curry-based dish. I also love Thai sweets, especially the coconut-based ones. They’re some of the best sweets in all of Asia. But I couldn’t stand any of the pickled fruits, like pickled mango. They’re a popular snack in Southeast Asia, especially Malaysia. If I take one bite of pickled fruit, I can’t help but spit it out.

How was the expat scene in Bangkok?

There’s quite a lot of foreigners in Bangkok, so there are lots of chances for networking. But I can’t really say that I ever became part of what is called the “expat scene.” I found that a lot of foreigners in Bangkok tended to keep to themselves. You would think that more foreigners would want to stick together simply because they’re outnumbered and a minority in a foreign country, but they don’t. In fact I found that foreigners stuck to themselves more in Bangkok than they would back home. There were of course exceptions to that, but that was generally the case.

What was your absolute favorite thing to do or place to go in Bangkok?

I really liked the sky bars. The perspective of the city from high up, especially at night, was very interesting. Chinatown was interesting, too. Lumphini and Queen Sirikit Park were also great.

Vertigo Grill & Moon Bar

Can you give us any comments on the weather in Bangkok? Everyone knows it’s hot year-round there, but did you enjoy that kind of weather? How did you cope?

For the first year, the heat, the humidity, and the rarely changing weather were certainly things that I had to get used to. In the Czech Republic, the difference between summer and winter are huge. But once I acclimatized to the weather in Bangkok, I kind of liked it. I certainly prefer Bangkok’s weather over the weather in Central Europe. I just don’t like cold winters.

For me, I’ve always been a hot weather person. Growing up I always enjoyed summer the most, and I still do to this day. But after being in Bangkok for a couple of years, I started to view the heat in a negative light. But all it took was one trip back home in the cold to remind me of how much I prefer year-round hot tropical weather over seasonal weather with a frigid winter.

Of course now you are living in the Czech Republic again. Was it difficult readjusting back to life in the Czech Republic? What was the most challenging aspect of relocating back home?

It’s definitely challenging being back. It’s radically different saying your final farewells to a country and moving back home for good, than just having a quick visit back home for a month or so. The biggest challenge is being able to integrate my experiences abroad into my new life back home. Having to tell all the different people back home again and again about what I did while I was abroad gets repetitive, and I hate having to repeat myself over and over again. And the longer I spend abroad, the more of a disconnect that happens with me and the people back home.

And as for working again back home, not many employers are impressed with my time spent abroad. You really need to have a plan before you relocate back home.

I find the biggest challenge of any trip back home is the fact that nobody can relate to my life or my experiences abroad. Some people just flat out aren’t interested in my experiences abroad, while others just don’t get why I’d wanna do what I’m doing. I mostly have to keep all of these experiences to myself. But I’ve been living in Asia for over six years now, so it’s hard to keep quiet about the last six years of my life. They’re American and so am I, so they wanna talk about American politics, American TV shows, or American music, but I’m totally disconnected from most of those things.

People also need to remember why they left their home countries in the first place. It’s not like all these things you disliked just suddenly disappeared while you were gone. They’re gonna be right there waiting for you once you get back.

Agreed. Where would you like to be, location-wise and career-wise, ten years from now?

It would be nice to be teaching English in a different setting, like maybe in a university. Or better yet, it would be nice to work in a different trade all together and maybe become self-employed with some reliable passive income.

I’m gonna be returning back to Thailand again soon, but I can’t imagine I would be living in Thailand ten years from now. Maybe China or Japan? I just don’t know.

After it’s all said and done, would you do it all over again? That is moving to Bangkok? Any regrets or things you wish you did differently?

I would do it all over again, although I don’t want it to be the single most defining experience of my life. It was certainly one of the most profound experiences of my life so far, so I certainly don’t regret it. Living in Thailand helped me become completely independent for the first time in my life.

Next time I’m gonna give myself an attitude makeover. My attitude was too narrow-minded while I was there. I didn’t give Thailand a fair chance. I’m gonna be more easy-going and stay in the present, as opposed to always worrying about the future.

When you leave a place for good, all you have left of it is memories, and you want those to be positive memories, not nasty ones. So while you’re there, you might as well have some fun.

A big thanks for sharing your time and words with us! There’s a lot of really good information here! I hope my readers found your words as insightful as I did. I wish you the best on your second attempt at a life in Thailand. Good luck to you!