Living the Dream
How teaching in Thailand was the key to an authentic travel experience
When I first arrived in Thailand, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was having a really long, vivid dream. Every day I was doing so many things that were completely out of my comfort zone it was as if my brain could not process all the new things I was experiencing.
Eventually after about a month, Thai life settled into a routine, and it became the new normal. It’s amazing how quickly we as humans can adapt to change.
I had a lot of spare time after school and on the weekends. The workload was manageable enough that I could get all my lesson planning done during school hours. This meant the weekends were my own and I could explore to my hearts content. Myself and one of the other teachers who lived in the same accommodation would often spend one day relaxing and unwinding at home and then the other day exploring our town or travelling to the nearest city to find a new restaurant or visit some temples.
Getting My Feet on the Ground
Our first visit to the city was a lot of fun. We caught one of the local vans and struggled our way through giving directions to the taxi driver on the other end as our Thai was as limited as his English. We made it through with the help of Google maps. Then after we had gorged ourselves on pizza (a treat after eating only Thai food for almost a month) we made our way down a dusty street to a beautiful golden temple. We had never seen such an elaborate structure in our lives! The outside was white with gold trimmings and the inside was almost completely gold.
Other weekends were spent exploring the town we lived in, marvelling at the temples, and sitting down by the river, having long, elaborate conversations about everything under the sun. One weekend I went for a solo scooter adventure down some farm lanes and discovered a beautiful lake. Another road lead me to a line of large golden Buddha’s peacefully existing in the middle of a paddy field.
Curious, I drove a bit closer, until I discovered a series of farm buildings each containing more Buddha’s. There were a few buffaloes and piglets wandering around and not another person in sight. Another road took me past some quaint farmhouses which all had chickens and dogs roaming around outside and sometimes even boasted a well tended vegetable garden. Life here looked tough but also kind of idyllic.
Rural Area is the Gem
This rural lifestyle was my first impression of Thailand. When I finished my contract I spent a couple of weeks exploring the more well worn tourist route and discovered an entirely new side of Thailand. The Thailand on all the tourism posters.
I was very grateful to have had the opportunity to see both sides of Thailand. I would recommend anyone looking for a genuine taste of Thai life to give teaching a go. It is a wonderful way to be fully immersed in a new culture and to explore parts of this beautiful country that not many travelers get to see.
That’s an experience you just can’t put a price on.