Why I Choose to Live in Thailand
by Kaila Krayewski, http://blondetraveler.com
I’m always amused by the look people give me when I tell them that I call Thailand my home. It’s usually a mix of confusion and wonder, surprise and disbelief, awe and doubt. That’s a lot of emotions rolled into one, but that pretty much sums up their facial expression. I’m a tall, blonde (not naturally, but that doesn’t matter), Canadian female, with a journalism degree and my own company. I don’t like teaching English, I dislike serving in the hospitality industry, and I’m terrified by the idea of diving. In many ways, I don’t belong here at all.
Many people question my desire to stay here, bringing up the country’s negative points - the rampant sex tourism and the inherent corruption being obvious major disadvantages. Yes, it’s true - the way some tourists behave put me off massively when I first arrived, and still does very much to a certain degree. Similarly, the corruption is a major turn off, especially when you don’t know when/if it will one day be turned on you.
Yet, I’ve been here for four years, and have no plans to leave. I have no desire to move back to Canada - a country I’m proud to call my home, but a place I find slightly too cold and slightly too boring to live in. Thailand, on the other hand, is warm, inviting, and exciting.
Thailand provides a life for women that most of us could never afford back home. A girl can walk into any beauty salon in Thailand and get her hair cut, washed, and blow-dried, a mani-pedi, a foot massage, and a facial, for slightly less than it would cost just for a normal haircut at any salon back home. And did I mention the shopping? My closet is full of gorgeous, unique dresses I bought for next to nothing.
OK, I’m not a total princess - it’s not just the cheap manicures that keep me here. I have learned so many lessons, met so many incredible people, and experienced so many new things that I would simply never have gotten the opportunity to do in Canada. I’ve had the opportunity to edit a luxury travel magazine with little to no experience in the industry at the time. I’ve had the chance to shoot a pilot for a travel TV show where I rode elephants and discussed Thailand’s culture from the tops of temples. I’ve gotten to interview some incredibly important political figures and Thai celebrities, just from the connections I’ve made and jobs I’ve been given. I even got a job as a professor at a university that normally requires a PhD from its teachers (I only have a Masters). I’ve made friends so close I call them family from all over the world: Germany, India, Indonesia, Britain, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, you name it. And it’s these things that have truly caused me to fall in love with this country.
Thailand is in that perfect sweet spot of development where there is just enough to make it comfortable to live in, with the modern conveniences us Westerners are used to, but still in an early enough stage that there are a ton of opportunities available to young, ambitious women willing to get their hands a little dirty and ride on the back of an elephant once in awhile.