I often come across articles written by expats discussing what they miss from their home countries and what irritates them about life in Thailand. When I read these lamentations, my first thought is, “Why not return home then?” The subsequent question is, “Do I miss anything about home?” The answer is always a resounding “No!”
Truthfully, I occasionally get nostalgic for California wine and driving up the Pacific Coast Highway, but it’s a fleeting sentiment that lasts mere seconds. I’ve been in Thailand for nearly a decade, waiting for that elusive homesickness that others constantly complain about—the yearning for the motherland.
To put it bluntly, it’s a load of nonsense. Thailand excels in all the areas that matter. It’s more affordable, warmer, boasts picturesque beaches, and, most importantly, the people are wonderful. Many Thais have told me the ratio of good Thais to bad Thais is 50-50, but I’d argue it’s closer to 80-20, or even 90-10. After visiting 25 countries and working on three continents, I’ve realized no other nation even comes close to that ratio. As for women, my motto for the past eight years has been, “Once you go Asian, you can’t do Caucasian.”
In my twenties, I lived in a bachelor pad near Los Angeles, and my neighbor was a retired movie cameraman who filmed Rambo II in Thailand. He exclusively dated Thai women, and when I asked why, he simply said, “Because they’re the best.” At the time, I thought he was mad, but now I wholeheartedly agree and spend my free time figuring out the ideal number of girlfriends to maintain (six is my current theory). They’re beautiful inside and out, something I can’t say about Western women.
When I miss a Western country, it’s typically England. I have fond memories of record shopping in Camden and Soho, pub crawls, and museum visits. However, the recollection of the bitter cold, endless rain, and months with only six hours of sunlight quickly dampens my nostalgia.
Now, I observe from afar as my home country tears itself apart. This turmoil has persisted for nearly two decades and is reaching a boiling point. Yet, when I grow weary of reading the news, I can turn off my computer and escape to Nana, leaving the chaos of home behind. The thought of being there amidst the chaos is unfathomable; I’d probably lose my mind. Paying taxes to a government riddled with corruption is nauseating. Most of what you consume is potentially carcinogenic, and the police have devolved into a group of trigger-happy cowards. In 2018, simply speaking can be misconstrued as sexual assault.
Meanwhile, I’m burdened with what I call “Thailand problems.” Should I go for a burger or order pizza? Decisions, decisions. Should I invite Ploy over, or perhaps Oil? Or why not both? A tough choice, indeed. Do I visit Cowboy or Nana? Lighthouse has a fantastic happy hour, but Nana boasts the taco truck. The conundrums are endless. Should I watch the sunset at a rooftop bar, or start early at Paddy Fields? Even Stephen Hawking couldn’t solve this dilemma.
While some expats can’t seem to shake the grass-is-always-greener mentality, I view Thailand through a different lens. Not rose-colored, but rather beer-colored. No, that’s not right; it sounds like beer goggles. My vision is crystal clear, and I love Thailand. I will always prefer it to the West, and nothing will change my mind.