Top: Near Ottawa, Canada/ Botom: Ayuttaya, Thailand
You cannot hurl a pebble into the virtual blue-skies of cyberspace without hitting upon the idea that in order to be truly happy, one should quit her job and hit the road.
More than a decade ago, we did just that. In our case, we didn’t quit high-paying, pressure-cooker jobs and sell all of our worldly possessions. In fact, we didn’t have any worldly possessions. We both chose, right from the beginning of our professional lives as educators, to live overseas. Why?
- We were young and it seemed like a very good idea at the time
- There were few teaching jobs in our home province of Ontario, Canada. (Ironically, this is once again the case!)
Separately, we lived in Colombia and, as a couple, we’ve lived in Mexico, Spain and Thailand. I have (almost) never regretted our choice to become global nomads. Our lives have been richer for the people we’ve met, the places we’ve visited and the amazing things we’ve learned. There is absolutely no question that we’ve been transformed by living and traveling abroad.
But right now, it happens that we’re just plum tuckered out.
Until recently, I have lived to travel. I’ve shared stories of some favourite places here and here and here. Until recently, I couldn’t wait for our next trip. I would research for hours, obsessively compose lists of things to see and do and buy, and pack my bags weeks in advance. I was always dreaming, dreaming, dreaming of elsewhere.
Now, not so much.
DP is hard at work finishing his last year of MFA course work and he’s tired too. Ask him… he’ll tell you. I know that he’d far rather write or edit video and photographs at his gorgeous teak desk than board yet another Air Asia flight.
The bottom line is that wherever you choose to open your laptop – in an office or on the beach – you are going to need to work hard and pay taxes and find a good dentist. There are going to be days when you drag yourself home after a twelve-hour work-day, settle on a bowl of cornflakes for supper and fall asleep before most eight-year olds. And so life becomes life whether your mailing address is in Canada or Thailand. Although I find even the most mundane aspects of life beautiful, I acknowledge that it’s not always sexy. Oh no, it is not.
While it is true that you can lead a pretty decadent life in Bangkok, there are also some serious stop-you-in-your-track challenges. I’ll confess that I haven’t ironed anything in a year but before you begin to hate me in earnest… let me also say that not one of my friends here feels safe walking along Bangkok sidewalks. (In fact, our Bangkok friends would say, “What sidewalks?”) With every new home-city, you get something shiny and pretty and new but you’ll also need to give up something lovely. That’s the way that it works. If this has not been your experience, you’re either incredibly easy to please or not paying close enough attention.
DP and I are in Bangkok for another year… perhaps more. What we know for certain is that our suitcases will stay, mostly, in the storage closet this year and that we will live a larger, richer life within our own city. A year at home in Bangok.