There are very few places in life that I have called home. Liverpool has and always will be my home city, and I of course counted Lancaster, my University town, as a home for 3 years. Neither of these could have prepared me for my time in Thailand, and I’m glad that the experience was so different. I have made some awesome friends, seen some amazing places, and had some fantastic times that have left me looking back with fond memories, and looking forward with high expectations, and an even higher benchmark.
It all started way back in September 2014 when we landed fresh-faced, and excited in Bangkok. After 3 and a half weeks travelling around Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos, we returned to Thailand on a journey that would eventually see us travel from North to South, to beaches and rainforests, on all sorts of transport, and with some great people.
I don’t know what I expected teaching to be, or what I thought I would get out of it, but what I can say is I will never forget my kids there, or the time I had in Roi-Et. Language barriers may have been everywhere, and my inexperience may have been a hindrance at first, but I had a great time, I could see the progress that my students made, and I was genuinely sad to say goodbye, even to travel. I’m still not sure if teaching is for me, I will need to gain more experience when I get back to the UK, but it has certainly made me realise how rewarding and enjoyable I can find it.
I didn’t know that much about Thailand when I arrived that wasn’t obviously plastered around tourist centres. I preferred it this way, so I could experience the place on my own terms. It’s safe to say that many of my expectations, however few I had, were blown away fairly quickly. The place was so rich with history and culture and nature, features that are often lost when you think of the beach and full-moon party cultures. I think my favourite place there is still Chiang Mai, even after travelling through the islands and seeing all the different places we have been to.
We have met some really cool people with crazy stories and different backgrounds that have changed out travels for the better. Everyone on our tour group who were great to travel with, all the teachers that we suffered orientation with, that throughout our teaching time have provided us with a support network, and provided us with countless laughs. And of course to our Roi-Et friends who made our time in Roi-Et what it was, thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
It’s crazy to think that we’ve only seen a fraction of the places we will end up seeing at the end of this mammoth trip, but we have been in Thailand for such a big chunk of our travels. It’s definitely left it’s mark in my memory. I am going to miss this place an awful lot. That said, I am definitely ready to leave. I’m ready to see new places and see different people, and use proper toilets and have normal shops and food on hand.
Thailand, you were marvellous.