This is it. It’s February. I’ve been dreading this since I stepped off the plane last June. I have to move on, either out of Dan Chang or out of Thailand.
Thailand has been great to me, and it’s very easy to see how people end up staying here forever. I really want to stay and move to Bangkok, but I’ve made the executive decision that I want to do Spain next; and as much as I love Thailand, I won’t make enough money staying here to comfortably make the move to Spain.
I studied Spanish in college and desperately want to improve my proficiency. I also miss Europe, studying abroad in Italy was the best semester of my college experience.
Studying abroad is still great, it serves its purpose very nicely. It’s a nice way to get introduced to traveling and living in a foreign country, complete with a lot of hand-holding. But I don’t think it gives you the same insight and perspective that backpacking or moving abroad does, at least the way I did it. So I’m hoping to get to know Spain a little better, and maybe squeeze some serious backpacking time in between.
Benefits of living in a foreign country v. traveling:
- You get to know the people better – I have all my favorite food vendors in town that smile at me and remember my order every time I visit them
- You get to know the language better
- You try things that aren’t the same things that all tourists try – there’s much more to Thailand than elephant pants and mango sticky rice
- It makes you appreciate things you have at home more, ex. a big comfy bed and being able to drink tap water
- You learn more – dealing with a bank that doesn’t speak English alone has taught me a lot
Living in a small town in Thailand, although it was not my first choice, it gave more first-hand insight into real Thai life. If you’re considering teaching abroad, that’s definitely something to consider when deciding where you want to live.
From personal experience, the people here in Dan Chang are a lot friendlier than people in Bangkok. Even just today a monk started a conversation with me while I was picking up my papaya salad for lunch. He wanted to practice his English – something that usually doesn’t happen in Bangkok, where they’re both used to and sometimes annoyed by foreigners.
What I’ll miss the most from Dan Chang will probably be:
- My awesome boss
- Stopping to get Jok before school
- Running at the GORGEOUS reservoir every day
- My fried banana lady
- Driving my motorbike
- Corny, but my students
What’s up next?
I’m blowing the rest of my Thai salary and bonus on 2.5 months of backpacking before I head home for a 3-month interim before Spain. I’ve got:
- 10 days in Myanmar
- Pumped – Myanmar is the hip spot to go backpacking in Asia right now. It just opened it’s doors to tourists in 2011; therefore it hasn’t been poisoned by Western influence yet. It’s supposed to be the most untouched & traditional country left in Southeast Asia.
- 2 weeks in Vietnam
- Kolour Music Festival in Bangkok
- Fingers crossed(still waiting on the reservation confirmation) – 18course tasting menu dinner at the #1 restaurant in Asia for the THIRD year in a row at Gaggan in Bangkok.
- Have you seen the first season of Chef’s Table? I’m kind of a food nerd, so this is REALLY FREAKING EXCITING!!!
- 3 weeks in Northern India
- Trying to do a work-away at a yoga center in Rishikesh for a week? We’ll see what happens.
- Thai island time
- Songkran in Chiang Mai, Thailand (Thai Buddhist New Year)
Time flies when you’re traveling, especially here in Thailand. Word of advice – if you’re traveling somewhere you want to get to know it well, travel long and travel slow.