For the last three years, I’ve lived and worked summers in the wilderness of Alaska and spent winters in the bustling city of Bangkok. As you might imagine, it has been awesome.
But, having my life on two continents became too much. So, after 14 years working summers in Alaska I recently “retired” and I’ll be living in Bangkok full time.
Since I gave my notice at work, I have constantly been asked the same questions by family, friends, and co-workers.
Are you going to miss Alaska?
Of course! I absolutely love Alaska. I will miss the raw wilderness, empty hiking trails, the northern lights and fall colors. I will also miss all the friends I’ve made over the years. When I travel in the future I’ll have to seek out places like Alaska, especially since I’ll need a respite from the bustle of Bangkok.
What are you going to do for work?
I don’t know! At age 40, I am taking a gap year which is sort of exciting. I’ll live off my sugar momma wife until I find the right job or she stops supporting me.
When you are unemployed in Bangkok, what do you during the day?
I start my day with some sunrise Tai Chi with the old women in the neighborhood, then head to the coffee shop and drink six cups of black coffee and smoke a pack of cigarettes with the retired old men in my neighborhood. In a cloud of smoke, we bitch about our wives, the corrupt politicians, our wonky hips, and the weather.
During the afternoon, I pay takraw with the local kids or play chess with the old-timers in the park.
Do you have any upcoming travel plans?
Now that I have summers free for the first time in 14 years, I am looking forward to visiting places in the northern hemisphere like Iceland, Northern Europe, Mongolia, Japan, and Central Asia. Our next big trip will be June/July of 2019.
In the more immediate future, I’ll be spending two weeks in Myanmar again this October.
Bangkok is a crazy city. Why do you like it so much?
Bangkok is crowded, chaotic, sweltering, and in many ways, hard to love. However, we live in a neighborhood about eight miles from downtown, and about 13 miles to the Grand Palace area. Our neighborhood has parks, lakes, trees, street food, friendly people, and a slow pace of life, so it is like living in a Thai village surrounded by Bangkok. I am not sure I’d enjoy living anywhere else in this city.
The only downside to our neighborhood is that we are not close to the metro so getting to the cool sites downtown takes effort. However, right now they are building a metro line that will come within 750 meters of our house, and when it is completed in six to 60 years, give or take a coup, it will be super convenient to get to downtown!
Now that you aren’t working in the Alaskan tourism industry, are you going to write tell-all blog posts about crazy tourists and wild seasonal employees?
Maybe. If I wrote about the madness I’ve seen working in Alaska the last 14 years, it could be like Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential that could launch a career as a Travel Channel host. But if it didn’t become famous, I’d be a pariah and never work in Alaska again. Let’s see how this job search goes first.
Thanks for reading this update.
Do you have any suggestions for where we should travel in June and July next year?
Any advice for someone making a big life change at 40?