The 9 things I miss most about living in Thailand

After traveling and living somewhere other than where you are from there are certain things that end up feeling like home. And after living in Thailand for 10 years, there are so many people, places, and memories that are still very much home to me—the list is long, but I’ve tried to summarize 10 years of shared experiences, connections, and the everyday grind into what I miss most about my time living in Thailand. And oh, where do I even start…

THE UNEXPECTED

No matter where you end up, if you are traveling or living somewhere new and foreign to you, there is always the unexpected. And gosh do I miss that, the everyday chaos and unforeseen events that occur. The way the day shifts and changes based on that chaos and the path it takes you on. I miss how one conversation, one chance interaction can completely change your day.

THE CLOSENESS

I miss the closeness. As soon as you step out your door, someone is there. I miss the small chatter and mini conversations you have with someone selling fruit on the side of the road; the person you grab coffee from every morning on your way to work; the cleaning lady at the office you catch up with about each other's' families; the women selling flowers and merit flowers in front of the bus stop; or the same smiling face at the neighborhood 7-11. I miss the magic of the ordinary, small connections and friendships you create with people throughout your daily journey.

THE YUM

The food, oh goodness, the food! The perfectly balanced mix of sweet, salty, spicy and sour and how the combination of those tastes come together in the most amazing flavor. Funny note: Thais can talk about food all day long. A common greeting is not “how are you doing?” but “have you eaten yet?” And that is a conversation I can really dig into ;)

EATING OUT

Speaking of food, people are always shocked when I tell them we never really cooked in Thailand but ate out for most of our meals. For one, it's often more expensive to cook at home and two, you are contributing to the economy and community by eating out at the mom and pop restaurants and side road shops.

THE LANGUAGE

Oddly I miss hearing and deciphering a language that is not your native tongue and the moments where I would be trying to speak Thai to communicate and mispronounce words and have to resort to Tinglish, aka Thai English. Or, even better, simply communicating with lots of smiles, laughter and hand signals.

THE BALANCE

I miss the slow part of life. I never felt like I was working for the weekend. Work and life was a balance and there was much more ebb and flow for me in Thailand. It’s not that I worked less, but differently. I took breaks in my week when I needed them, but then often found myself naturally working on weekends because I just loved it. Such a contrast to the U.S. hustle of 8:00 to 5:00.

THE MARKETS

They are everywhere. I love the informal economy they create and that everyone is an entrepreneur. And it made it easy to grab a cute new dress along with some toothpaste and a bag of dim sum all during a lunch break.

THE SMELLS

This might sound weird, but the smells have to be mentioned. Yes, even the yucky ones, because they take you off guard. But the best smell was the fresh flowers!

THE FRIENDSHIPS

Lastly, I can’t make a list of all the things I miss without including all our artisans and the other relationships I’ve been so fortunate to have built from the very beginning of Sapahn. With every second home comes a second family, and these people are it. They are the reason I miss Thailand in the deepest sense.

Now I am dreaming of my next visit to my second home and seeing my second family. Do you have somewhere you consider your second home? I would love to hear about it and all the things and people you miss. Shoot me an email at brooke@sapahn.com so we can swap stories and experiences—I am always looking for my next travel adventure spot!

—Brooke