Thailand and England

A Tale of Two Countries: Thailand and England (Credits:,

I love change. I love going through possessions and choosing what to keep, sell or chuck, I love getting a new colleague. As a child I loved a non-uniform day, and I loved sports day. Change is the spice of life is a true cliché. But can change brought upon by choices we make lead to regrets?

I am in need of some spice to the three course meal of life I have in Bangkok. My private life is great, my social life and my work life are oh so bland. I’ve tried many recipes (final food metaphor) to make an awesome life here, and I finally admit it, I failed and I quit.

I have decided to end my time living in The Land of Dilly Dalliers this summer, I am going to change my life from living in a fast paced (ha!) city to a suburban town of London. I am moving from a spacious condo in the centre of a vibrant city to a detached house in the suburbs, occupied by my parents. I’m 33 this year! I am moving from a 24 hour, multicultural, sordid, experimental, chaotic, cheap, exciting, polluted, crazy, wonderful city to a place that recently got a KFC.

But I couldn’t be happier. It feels right.

I have am so grateful for the experience of living in Asia for the last three years. Having a degree and a British passport has given me opportunities that not everyone gets. Have I squandered this opportunity? Did I give anything back? Would my absence have been felt had I not come? Will any one miss me? Did I see all I wanted to see? Was I a good English teacher? All the answers to these questions are no (except, where a negative answer for me would be yes… I think).

I may leave Thailand glad of my decision, but will I regret it down the line? I don’t believe I will. I may regret not visiting the beautiful beaches as much as I should have or not diving the Similan Islands or not learning basic Thai, but then these are not really true regrets as I have other experiences that I did instead: Hong Kong for New Year, finishing my divemaster course, experiencing Thai culture, but I think living in Thailand, for me, was about independence and doing something to prove I could.

So here I am, making a conscious decision to leave, knowing full well it is beyond time for me to go (after choosing what to keep/sell or chuck) and I am starting to feel a tinge of regret.

Being fairly proactive I am looking for work now, even though I won’t be home for another two months. I am looking at renting an apartment, buying a second hand car, shipping stuff and flights. It is the job situation that is getting me down; I fully expect to find something, probably something entry level and as far removed from teaching as possible, as in I don’t want to see another child on a weekday. Ever.  The hard pill to swallow for me is that four years is a long time, five if you also count my stint around South America, and my colleagues have all been working, they have all had their nose down to the grind. Some have even changed grinds (not sure what a grind is in that metaphor. Wouldn’t it grind away their nose anyway?) and have progressed. Words like ‘executive’ and ‘assistant’ have been replaced with ‘manager’ and ‘senior’. It makes me wonder, did I do the right thing?

What have I done other than made choices leading to me going back to a level in my career that I attained in 2006?

It is going to be difficult going back but I have achieved my most important goal of living and working in a foreign country, something I have always wanted to do. If I hadn’t left the UK I would never have met the wonderful children, interesting people and , most importantly, the love of my life.

Or maybe it’s just daily access to a hotel-like  swimming pool that has made it all worth it.

So without those choices my career would be in a different place, but then I wouldn’t have what I have now.

Musings of an English Teacher in Thailand: Life, Career and the Choices we make

Memories of 3 years of teaching English in Thailand

What about you? Have you left Thailand or are you contemplating a major life decision? Feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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Written by Rob Dodding

Rob Dodding

Rob is a wanderlust, having visited and lived in many parts of the world. After a 3-year teaching career in Thailand, he’s now back in the UK to pursue less than trivial matters . He occasionally writes for the the Travel, Food and Culture section of Retail Plus Bangkok. Opinions expressed are his own and I commend his brevity in speaking out his mind.