It’s not always about the destination, but how the story unfolds along the way. A year ago Trish and I left Thailand, exclaiming we’d never return. We’d had it with the complications of this unfathomable place. When asked why we were leaving this inscrutable country and I’d say…”It’s challenging”. There wasn’t one answer, there were hundreds. Thailand wasn’t the quaint little backwater we’d originally fallen in love with. The country seems to have lost it’s civility, people more grasping than ever before. Thai’s complain about each other having lost their sense of community. “Nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there….again”, I’d concluded. We wrote the place off.
Life in Thailand had pissed me off. Everything, under the simplest of conditions, was having to be wary of who and what we were dealing with far more often than I was comfortable with. I was tired of having some jerk off force me to negotiate for saop, ask me to pay more for toilet paper, a candy bar or a bus ticket…annoying.
A last negotiation with a property manager who’d taken over the building we’d called home for twenty years was enough to sour us . It wasn’t just these bitches trying to rip us off for our ‘security deposit’…complaints were piling up among ex pats that ripping off ‘farang’ was epidemic. Leo de Caprio floated an idea about an ideal place. ‘The ‘Beach’ movie attracted so many farang flakes, freaky fuck ups and burned out losers that the ‘coolness’ of Thailand evaporated and became dangerously soaked with a flammable criminal element….and everyone was running around drunk with burning matches.
So we left..”Fuck ’em”, we said on the way out. “We’ve got better ways to spend our money”. It wasn’t a blood sport, by any stretch of the imagination, as in a lot of other third world shitholes, just annoying. At 62 and 43 years of third world shitholes under my belt I felt I’d had enough third world bullshit.
Hell…we’re Canadian, our dollars never worth shit, so as a people we’re forced into third world shitholes if we want to travel at all. Canadians simply can’t afford ‘nice’. We have to work harder, accept a lower standard of living and travel, lower our expectations and dig deeper for the deals. You’ll only find Canadians in shitholes and toilets, it’s all we can afford.
There I was sitting next to a warm fire in our tidy home in Canada, a place I’d bought my wife to underwrite her retirement…dreaming about our time in Texas, thinking we’d spent enough time ‘on the road’. It occurred to me that in the past dozen years we hadn’t spent more than a few weeks in our ‘home’. We’d come back from business trips and intermittent stops in Asia to check how the place was, who our kid had turned out to be, and file our taxes. We started thinking ‘renovation’.
We’d spent our lives traveling the world, on business and pleasure… and speaking for myself, I was getting old. The guy in my head and the image reflected back from glass windows weren’t in sync. I didn’t feel old…but I was looking my age…..pot belly , grey hair and all. In the past dozen years we’d been to more countries than an average person would need to visit in a lifetime to call themselves ‘well traveled’. I was ready to retire. My wife wasn’t. She won.
Originally our lives had been designed around ‘Plan A’….a balance to work enough to save for the ‘fuck you’…more travel and to bugger off in a six month rotation. It was the perfect plan when we were younger, but younger minds designed the plan. Young people are blessed with never having to plan ahead…thirty years and more, down the road for people who’ll be alive when you’re dead.
Nine months passed, and here we are, back again, a few kilometers from where we left, putting up with the same bullshit, camped out in an Air B&B Bangkok high rise, living day to day, with no intention of ever going back, it just isn’t in the cards. This lifestyle has it’s ‘challenges’, but I wouldn’t trade it for a set of golf clubs and a rocking chair. This ain’t tourism friends, this is ’till death do us part’.