Thailand is a very popular tourist destination sure, but there are those individuals that have moved beyond calling it a vacation and have decided instead to call it home. The Neverland Post caught up with Andrew Jennings. Andrew is a semi-retired diving instructor, underwater photographer and Webmaster. Find out what he had to say about living abroad:
NLP: Out of all the places in the world that you could have settled, why Pattaya?
AJ: It just kind of happened, I actually came here on holiday and never went home, true story. I made some friends and in some ways a family a here. This played a huge part in my decision to stay. Also, due to the fact that Pattaya is centrally located and close by to Bangkok. As a professional scuba diving instructor and web designer I needed a location that that was both close to a major city and airport as well as the ocean. You might think that Phuket might seemed like a more obvious choice but I don’t like Phuket so much, it’s got an high-so (rich and snobby) attitude and cost of living there is a lot more for that reason.
NLP: How old were you when you made your first trip to Thailand?
AJ: I was 28 years young.
NLP: How many years have you been in Thailand now?
AJ: 8 years.
NLP: Do you have a business or are you employed? If so, what is the name of your establishment(s)?
AJ: Initially I worked more full time a scuba diving instructor for a major PADI dive center on Pattaya Beach Road for many years. I’ve since semi-retired from teaching diving to concentrate on my Independent web design business Interweb Dynamics.
NLP: What makes customers choose you over your competitors?
AJ: Regardless of what job I’m doing, I’ve always worked hard to position myself to be the best possible version of me. I’ve dedicate endless hours and sacrificed years in training to become an expert in my fields so that I am confident I am serving my clients to highest and very best of my abilities. Furthermore, I never stop. I’m always striving to learn more and stay ahead of myself. My customers and peers see this in me and respect me a lot for it.
Another reason clients choose me over my competitors is my attitude towards people. Attitude is a huge part gaining anyone’s trust, trust and honesty is a massive part of my life and my clients choose me because they realize they can trust me. Many people, friends and clients alike come to me for work, advice or help because they know I will always give them a straight forward honest reply.
It’s a simple thing but in this day and age a lot of people only think of their own bottom line when dealing with customers.
NLP: How has Thailand changed since your first trip?
AJ: For me, it hasn’t really changed. It’s all a matter of perspective. As you learn more about a place, you might convince yourself a place is changing around you. The fact is, in reality it’s your perspective that’s adjusting. The things you think are changes have always been there, you just hadn’t scratched deep enough to see them.
NLP: What would you say to the people believing the media hype that Thailand is a dangerous tourist destination right now?
AJ: I’d say open your eyes, really try and see the world for what it is. The entire world is a dangerous place, it always has been. Thailand is no different to anywhere else. No matter where you go in this world, if you look for trouble, you will find it.
The real issue here is that people need to check themselves. Far too many tourists visit Thailand and conduct themselves in the wrong manner. Perhaps just like they do in their own countries, or perhaps the sun and beer gets to their brain? The difference is, back home their bullshit is largely tolerated and they get away with it. When you travel the world, you must adjust to your surrounding and respect the fact you’re “not in Kansas any longer” to quote Wizard of Oz. “Treat people as you yourself, would wish to be treated and you’ll be fine.” If you don’t, well, you’ll reap what you sow.
NLP: What three pieces of advice would you give to young entrepreneurs that have their sights set on Thailand?
- You can be an entrepreneur anywhere; Thailand “won’t make it happen”. You do that.
- Get a plan B. Don’t throw your eggs into one basket, you’ll be sorry. Mark my words.
- Thailand’s a nice place to live but living cost money where ever you are. Don’t get caught short.
NLP: How hard is it to find a job that will pay enough to stay in Thailand?
AJ: The job options in Thailand and pretty limited. Work permits and visa are very expensive. Your goal should never be to “make enough to stay somewhere” unless you’re planning just a short sabbatical away for a year or so. The cost of living can be lower here yes, but the wages are comparative to this fact unless you excel above and beyond the other 90% of everyone else trying to make ends meet. Expat job positions, i.e working for a foreign company but from its branch in Thailand is your best hope for the higher quality of living you seek.
NLP: What would you say has been your most satisfying moment since arriving in Thailand?
AJ: The birth of my son. It has been the most satisfying moment in my entire existence.
NLP: What are your hobbies? What do you do in your off time?
AJ: I don’t really get a lot of off time I’m an insane workaholic. I’m starting to now, I work for myself though. My main hobbies are Scuba diving, ocean exploration and photography and I am so passionate about them and the ocean as a whole, I blog about them @ Underwaterclicks.com
NLP: Who has been your greatest inspiration? Why?
AJ: My parents. They brought me up well, to respect others, always try hard and they let me believe I could do anything in this world I set my mind to. So far this has served me well.
NLP: How important is it to learn Thai?
AJ: If you’re planning on living in a country you should at least learn some of the language. It’s important in business for sure, and will without a doubt make your day to day life much easier in situations where it is required.
NLP: What motivates you?
AJ: The sands of time motive me. Despite the illusion we live a long life, ultimately it’s not really that long. For some it is cut much shorter than anyone would have ever imagined. Live your life now. Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.
NLP: Do you read books? If so, what Genre?
AJ: I read a lot online these days, not so many actual books. Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors though when I get the chance.
NLP: Do you support any local charities?
AJ: Charities are a difficult one. So many charities are corrupt in so many ways all over the world. I certainly don’t support charities on the street. I do support Pattaya Orphanage however. I used to live nearby and saw with my own eyes every day the difference that place makes. You don’t have to give money either, you can donate clothes or old toys and even your time can be precious. I can’t spend to long there though because it truly breaks my heart.
NLP: Do you still participate in the party?
AJ: Not really, I partied long and hard enough in my 20’s to cure that itch for decades to come. I’m in my late 30’s now so it’s time for working my ass off so I can party again in my 50’s!
NLP: What is your biggest pet peeve?
AJ: My memory is my biggest pet peeve. I’ve always been borderline obsessive. I’m a major creature of habit. Sometimes a deviate from my rituals, in doing so my memory fails me in forgetting I’ve done so. This leaves me very frustrated and confused. Oh and Dickheads, I don’t like dickheads, usually derived from obnoxious behavior to strangers.
NLP: What is the most memorable place or establishment in Thailand for you so far? Why?
AJ: I can’t really answer this. Honestly, this county has made so many memorable impressions it’s almost impossible to choose just one. I tell you what, I give you my first memorable experience.
When I arrived in Pattaya for the first time, I didn’t know anyone or anything. I stayed in north Pattaya, Pattaya Nua Soi 7 I think. Just up the road from a Thai night club called Differ in the blue buildings of perfect Mansion. Down stairs across from my room there was a small Thai family restaurant. Lek and Dongs. These were the first Thai people I got to know and the reason why it’s so memorable is because they made me feel at home and immediately treated me like family. Lek spoke really good English and her cooking is amazing. Dong is an ex-champion kick boxer and although he doesn’t speak very much English, he always made the effort to speak and be friendly. I was so thankful to have them in my life.
After some time in Thailand, I would often hear about how some tourist truly believed all Thai’s were about nothing but money and taking advantage of tourists!? Well I can tell you my friends that there are people like that all over the world, but the Thai people, as a whole couldn’t be further away from that truth. I’ve been given shelter, money and food when I had none, from people who had little themselves. I’ve been supported by strangers who could have turned away and ignored a foreigner in distress. I’ve both seen and experienced unconditional love without motive of financial reward. Thai people are kind, understanding and generous as a whole in my experience.
NLP: If you had to start over, would you do it any differently?
AJ: No, No regrets. Hindsight is a beautiful thing but to imagine dictating an different outcome based on the knowledge I have learned seems pointless. Life is an adventure. For better and worse, my road has taken me through highs and lows which have taught me a great many things. I wouldn’t change those experiences for the world.
END OF INTERVIEW
Thailand is home to many people from different walks of life who decided after (or sometimes clearly while ON) a visit that they would be better off here. Pattaya City is not for everyone, but it IS for those people who are young at heart and want to live somewhere that they can truly have freedom and be among some of the most caring and genuine people that you will find anywhere in the world. If you are sitting at home kicking yourself as you read this, you also should know that it truly is not that hard to get here, there are ways of doing it quite easily and the only way to find out if it is for you is to take a trip and see!