I’ve been back home in England for just over two months exactly now, and the longer I’ve been at home amid this pandemic, the more I think about my time in Thailand. I often find myself thinking what if I’d stayed? Of course, there’s no real way of answering this question. I’ve played multiple different possible scenarios in my head of how things could have been if I was still there… but there’s no way of knowing for sure.
As far as I know, the school I worked at hasn’t re-opened its doors for the students yet. Of course this is understandable given the times we are in. So if I had stayed, there’s no guarantee that I’d have any work, or any means of getting paid. However, I know that the school needs English teachers so I would still *technically* have a job, and some kind of security.
I had already decided that I wanted to just do one term long before I left Thailand, and as I’ve said before, I felt that I was very out of control in making decisions about flying home early, or continuing my life in Thailand until the date that I was supposed to leave. It was incredibly stressful, but I think at the back of my mind, I felt it was right for me to go home when I did. I didn’t want to be stuck anywhere with no means of getting out, or getting stuck somewhere with no money. I’m very lucky that I was able to afford the flight home, and in many ways, everything worked out in the end.
I am now safe, I am at home with my family, and yes, I am happy. I’m glad I’ve been able to spend lots of quality time with my family; I’ve Facetimed and Zoomed and Skyped so many people; more than I ever have before in this time period! Even more than when I was in Thailand for 5 months! It’s been amazing catching up with people this way, and for the most part, life in English lockdown hasn’t been all that bad for me. But as time goes on, I find myself thinking more and more about whether I should have stayed in Thailand. I really do miss it.
I think it’s safe to say that, had I stayed, I would have the exact same thoughts but in reverse. I would be wondering about life at home; I’d be thinking about my family and friends the whole time; I’d wonder if I had made the right choice in staying. But, like I said, there’s no way of knowing what my life would be like right now, if I had stayed in Thailand. I still have friends who are there, and they seem to be doing okay. I wonder if I would have been able to spend time with them, since the restrictions in Thailand are quite different to the UK. I wonder if I would feel safer from the virus, as it doesn’t appear to be as bad in Thailand as it is in the UK. I have so many questions, and not enough answers!
It’s safe to say that, looking back on it now, I really did enjoy my time in Thailand. It’s possibly one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done, emotionally, but I would definitely do it all over again. I think this is why I really want to go back; Thailand will always have a place in my heart, as I learnt so much while I was there, in more ways that one. I became more independent; I learnt to love spending time by myself; I went and accomplished things I never thought I could. I know it’s one of those places that can be incredibly touristy, and sometimes it’s frustrating being surrounded by tourists. But I am so glad I spent time away from these crowds for the most part, because I think I got to know what Thailand is really like, and the beauty it really has to offer.
So, to answer the question: do I regret leaving Thailand? I don’t know, in all honesty. I feel like I’m sitting on a fence. Part of me regrets leaving, because I felt like there was so much more to explore. Part of me is glad I left, because I know for a fact that the 40 degree heat was not something I enjoyed, and I’m glad that I’ve left that behind! But, regardless of how I feel about having left Thailand when I did, I do know that I want to go back one day. Whether it’s to work, or just travel, I’m not sure yet. But I do want to see it again.