My name is Kristýna and I was born and raised in a very small town in the middle of Europe in the Czech Republic.
I always knew that I want to do something else than work in our town and settle down there. The nature around our place is beautiful, but I wanted what I never had – to live in a big city. I met my boyfriend (now my husband) and we moved to a large Czech city. I was just 18-19 at that time. It was a nice change at first, but the larger city felt too small soon again.
Local companies in that city would only employe me illegally so they don’t have to go through the hassle of registering me. And better jobs were asking for years of experience I couldn’t have as a graduate, rather than for my skills. I knew that I would have to open my own company or go elsewhere to be happy.
My husband made me understand that living abroad isn’t as difficult as I thought and just because I was born somewhere doesn’t mean that I have to stay there for life. He is British but he lived all over the world since he was born.
And he wanted to show me the world he knew and take me to places he likes. He took me to UAE, South of France and to the UK. And soon trips to London were more and more common for us.
Meanwhile, I had to decide if I will commit to working in the Czech Republic or if we will move somewhere else. Living in the Czech Republic wasn’t easy for my husband since almost nobody in our city spoke English and his Czech was very limited at that time. The life out there was moving too slow for him and not enough was happening.
Finally, my husband had a business opportunity in Thailand – The Land of Smiles.
He already visited Thailand once before. But I have never even been in that part of the world. I found it all very exciting. We packed all we could, sold everything else and just moved. I said to my family that we are probably going for 6 months. But I knew it is going to be longer.
I was 20 when we arrived in Thailand. Our relocation and culture shock wasn’t easy. The first few month were great. We moved to a touristy seaside city. I loved the constant heat and I was very happy with the standard of living we had. Our apartment was with large swimming pool, gym and we lived in a good location. But most of all I was really pleased that I’m in a new city which I don’t know at all and I have to learn everything again. I always liked this kind of discomfort when even buying whipped cream is an adventure.
I started to look for work straight away. I went for many interviews and got few job offers in 6 weeks after our arrival. My English wasn’t perfect, I had zero experience in all of the fields I applied to work in, I didn’t know anything about the country, culture or Thai language but I have been offered great salaries and fun jobs. That is something I would never even dream about back home.
We lived exactly 365 days in this city and we had enough. I had to quit my job because my boss didn’t give me my salary, I was taking him to court, we were nonstop surrounded by people who party 24/7 and this city started to feel underdeveloped for my liking and too small again. I met so many bad people that I lost hope that some people are actually good in this country. I felt like I aged mentally by 20 years in this first year.
Finally, we moved to Bangkok, one of the biggest cities in the world. And I had a hope that it will take years before this city will feel small for me again.
I love concrete mixed with jungle, skyscrapers, busy streets… all of the things I didn’t have around me when I was a child. There are so many opportunities in Bangkok, lovely people everywhere, decent expat community which doesn’t live in Thailand just for cheap prostitutes, amazing food… Actually, there is everything in Bangkok. If you need something and you look really hard for it, you will find it, maybe very expensive, but it will be there. That is something I don’t think I can have in any other city.
Few of my friends got bored of Bangkok after several months, the traffic, too spicy food, constant heat and humidity, too much concrete, too many people… All of that really bothered them. But I see the beauty in it.
Thailand gave me my first freedom, I was earning a good salary for the first time in my life and was able to save some money or fly to the Czech Republic if there was an emergency.
It is our 6th year in Thailand – 5 years in Bangkok and I still feel like I discovered only 1% of this amazing city. There is always something to do or see, new restaurants, funky art, a grand opening of something luxury. While there are cheap street food and old wooden houses on every street.
Like everywhere, I met bad people in Thailand. I went to a hairdresser and the lady cut off my ponytail and run away, I have been physically kicked out of a shop or charged 100x the normal rate for something just for being white and blond. But I have been helped selflessly by random Thai people so many times. And it hugely overshadows the time I have been treated badly in Thailand. People are so polite, smiling and joking the time. I feel much safer in Bangkok than in London or Prague. And I know that if I’m in danger, Thai people will not ignore it and they will help.
We traveled all over Asia since we moved to Thailand, we are going to Europe regularly and we visited Australia and the US. But Bangkok is still my most favorite place and I call Bangkok my home. I wish I can live here forever. But at the same time, Bangkok’s lifestyle is not necessarily what I would like for my kids one day.
I started to write my blog after my Instagram profile got busy and people were interested to know how is my everyday life in such an exotic place like this. I used to write just in Czech, but now I’m writing in Czech and English for more than a year. And my Instagram is also dual languages.
Sometimes I feel like a smug expat, but I’m trying to make people aware that they shouldn’t be visiting Tiger Zoos, Elephant Rides or that they shouldn’t be cuddling monkeys in touristy places. Many people don’t want to hear that. So I’m often suggesting other places where they can go and see wild Thai animals. I think that raising awareness in this way is actually helping.
Being expat is not for everybody and I was very lucky to move away from my home country with my partner. Moving away can make or break relationships. And unfortunately, I saw more long-term couples breaking because of the move than the opposite in Thailand.
Luckily it made our relationship much stronger and after the most amazing engagement in Sydney, we had a lovely wedding last month with both of our families and lots of friends in South of France.