My 20s in Phuket

I arrived here in October 2012 having just turned 23 years old.  I’ll be 28 in August and have essentially ‘grown up’ in Phuket.

I’ve had a few tins so stick with me on this… I am eternally grateful to have spent almost 5 years on this rock.  The experiences I’ve had here will stay with me a lifetime.  Having initially signed a 6 month contract and hating every minute of my first 6 weeks here I knew I’d be done by February 2013… It’s now April 2017 and that says it all.

Doing a bit of Facebook reminiscing this evening, just looking back from 2016 to now I pinch myself reminding myself of the life I’ve lived up to this point, the friends I’ve made and the places I’ve been.  I have been very fortunate in my young life thus far and really if the next 28 years are half as exciting as these 28 have been I’ll be a happy woman.

I am fortunate to come from a loving family who have supported each decision I’ve made (wise or not!).  My parents, when I told them I was moving to teach English in Thailand responded with ‘Yes! Just go and see it all!’  By no means has every day been a picnic in Phuket but the majority has been beyond what I ever dreamed of for myself.  What 28 year old can say they’ve had a chance to grow up in tropics and see half of Asia during their time off work?  I’ve been smart, I’ve saved and I’ve planned nearly every aspect of my life to enable me to do these mind blowing things.  Weekend boats to Koh Phi Phi, mad weekends in Patong, spontaneous beach camping in Khao Lak and living by the river on Khao Sok? These were random weekends!  Looking back on my time in Belfast, I barely got out of my jammies watching Jeremy Kyle on a day off…

This feels a bit self-indulgent writing like this but damn, reflecting on my years here fills my heart with absolute joy.  School holidays a month long, twice a year and so many public holidays with long weekends I can’t even count!  Cheap flights meant I’ve seen parts of the world I’d never even heard of.  Month long solo adventures travelling the length and breadth of a few countries with a 7kg backpack – Vietnam, Bali, Sri Lanka, Goa…

The people that have come into and out of my life during this time have made a huge impact on me growing here.  People come and go from Phuket.  It’s a transient place with a huge community of expats who come and go year on year so saying goodbye to people isn’t new to me.  What is a bit strange is that it’s me saying bye this time.  I’m the one who’s leaving.  Phuket and the people around me have made me who am I at this point and no doubt I’ll change a bit again in the next few years, but the foundations laid down now will stay with me.  Reflection time is very cathartic and I’ll never regret my time here in Phuket, anything I’ve done and everyone I’ve met.  While for me it’s not a forever place at 27, maybe at 67 I’ll come back and retire in this place I’ve made my home for the last 5 years.  I know I’ll be back here, for a little holiday, to see friends and the places I love.  It’s not ‘Goodbye Phuket’ it’s a ‘see you later, see you sometime’ and I couldn’t be happier!

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