Go Thailand: Day 4 – Perspective from a Local ExPat

One of my favourite aspects to travel is meeting new people. What crosses my mind with each of these first encounters is whether the person I am meeting is actually the person they say they are. I’m as guilty as anyone else telling tall tales of a life that I have not led to see how far I can get in a conversation with a stranger. And I’m quite certain it’s been done to me on a number of occasions. Still others, you know you’re getting the truth. No matter what – truth, lie or dare – I find their stories fascinating.

Our buddy introduced us to the owner of a bar/restaurant/hotel in town. He was originally from Los Angeles, and thru the Navy, had traveled to forty countries. I asked him why did he settle in Thailand. His wife of 29 years who is Thai I’m sure had a lot to do with it. Though originally he was interested in Baja Mexico, he found through all his connections in Thailand, he could navigate fairly easily through all the protocols of starting a business. He wanted to be here cos he liked the idea of a slower life, a simpler one than what he was used to in the States.

I found him fascinating. He had no phone, no computer, no FaceBook. He grew up living in a large house with lots of things. But he decided a long time ago to downsize. His bar, which is famous for the quality of their food (not just Thai but other cuisines), sits on a corner lot, rents the rooms on the middle floors and he and his family live on the floors above it. Though he is not allowed to be seen working there (since he is not Thai), things are, in many ways, easier here.

He gave us a tour of his establishment. Like our experiences in India meeting business owners, I’m always in admiration of the pride these people have in their craft or with their establishment. And this gentleman was no different. I could tell the pride he had in his voice when describing that he had built every inch of his space himself – his ideas, his designs, his drawings. I could notice the pride when he discussedhow he and his son came up with the name, the open kitchen (which was a rarity in Thailand), the perfect heights of his bar stools and ledges for patrons to set their arms and drinks, the quality of his marble countertops, his water tanks, the floors, etc.

I thought to myself, this man seemed very happy with the choices he had made. He had children. They had children. He had a place to call his own. He had a business. For the most part, he seemed to own all of his decisions.

I wonder if the decisions I am making today will afford me the same level of freedom and satisfaction as this man seemed to have.

Only time will tell.
Until then, I live one day at a time.
Living and to live the dream.

Go Adventure. Go Travel. Go Live

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