The count down is on…ten days until I return to London. I have been away since the start of the year and what a year it's been. I have spent the majority of my time in Bangkok, but also spent 2 months in Chiang Mai, 6 weeks in Samui and visited places such as Hua Hin, Surrathani, Ranong and many other great parts of the country. In the last 2 years I have travelled North, South, East and West, yet there is still so much to see and learn about this greatly misunderstood part of the world.
You might say Thailand is my second home now. I say the world is my home and this is one part of a big home I am very fond of. My thinking is that home is where you sleep and boundaries are forced upon people, with select privileged persons like me unbound by economic slavery and able to travel free within man’s kingdom. But this isn't a philosophical rant – for once 🙂
As much as I would love to stay longer and continue this inspirational part of my life – There is something very exciting I have to experience in the immediate future. Christmas. I simply can't imagine missing out on Christmas in London. In fact, being in Thailand on the 25th would make me feel like I had been deprived of a Christmas altogether.
No matter how old I get, London retains something magical at Christmas time that will never fade from my heart. Okay, so it is still 8-weeks away but the build up begins as soon as I touch base in Blighty. I feel excited that soon I will be chatting with everyone and sharing stories from this year's experiences, catching up with my mum and dad and the rest of the family and my friends. It won’t be long before the festivity starts and I can see the West End lights and feel the cold chap my lips and redden my nose, browse Hamley’s wishing I was a child again and hear classic Christmas songs filter through radios everywhere.
Funnily enough, I miss the cold. Even cold days in Bangkok are hot and the rainy season and cool season never get anywhere near chilly. I want to need a scarf and a jumper. I want my teeth to chatter and to sit around a log fire – albeit fake – grasping a cup of tea with friends. I want to feel the cold, if only for a week until I start moaning about the weather again.
I miss early dark evenings and frosted breath. I miss carol songs and the prospect of good will to all men. I miss nipping round to see my cousins, putting the world to rights and play fighting with the kids – who will always be kids even though most of them are beyond their teenage years.
I look forward to Christmas specials on television, to the possibility of snow and watching Dotty the dog eat snowflakes as they drop out of the sky. I can smell the mulled wine on Portobello road. I can see the frost on the lawn and my mum with a mug of coffee and her woolly dressing gown commenting on how the cold is withering her garden.
I can see the Christmas dinner being served as my brother and I annoy my parents by not coming to the table quick enough…I can hear my dad excited to share his new extravagant dessert wine and locally-reared organic turkey, and I can almost smell home baked treats being offered round by my sister in law.
Thailand just wouldn’t be Christmas. A few decorations and a tree lighting up a shopping centre to boost sales just seems inauthentic. The magic is born where you grow up and seems to stay there forever.
Perhaps it’s all in my head…and if it is then long may it stay there. Memories run deep of a childhood blessed with great Christmases where my parents always made sure we had a fantastic time and lots of pressies – how privileged we were and still are. It always seemed to snow at Christmas…surely it didn't…perhaps that was just a couple of special years that have etched themselves into my brain.
I love Thailand for all it has given me…clarity, knowledge, freedom, direction, understanding, great friends and the chance to feel truly alive…but man, it can’t give me Christmas!
See you soon London…