Three years ago I traveled through SE Asia as a happy-go-lucky backpacker for 8 months. I loved it a lot and it really shaped me as a person. This time I have been staying in the same spot in Thailand for 6 months living the expat live. I think that I love it even more.
As a backpacker I usually stayed a few days up to a few weeks in a single spot before I moved on. I wanted to so a lot of mainly Thailand but also of Laos, Malaysia and Cambodia on that eight month trip.
And so I did. Six out of those eight months I spent in Thailand. Now I love backpacking, but I hate transporting. That is why I try to find some nice play to stay at least a week or more before I decide to move on.
That way I do not find myself sitting on a bus or airplane for 20% or more of the trip. I made new friends all over these countries and I met so many amazing people, mostly other travelers and locals.
Staying in a hostel it is very easy to meet other people and it was great fun. But after six months I got kind of tired of meeting and saying goodbye to all the awesome people that I met. I mean for sure it is part of traveling but sometimes it is difficult.
All in all I loved it, seeing so much and experiencing so much was amazing for personal growth and humbling as it put ones whole life in perspective. I will never take clean water, money or food for granted.
For this trip I had other plans. On my backpacking journey through SE Asia I passed through Hua Hin. I fell in love with the city. It is not too big it is not too small and it has a nice mix of locals and foreigners.
It is not too expensive once you know where to go and it offers almost anything that you can find in Thailand. A lot of people that has visited Hua Hin say it is only a city for old people but they clearly do not know where to go.
I set my sights on staying here for six months. I got a visum for three months and after that I went to Laos, made a new one and come back for my last three months. Now I have been here for five months, time is almost up. I just want to stay here forever.
For accommodation I have long-term rented a room in a hotel which turned out to be cheap, convenient and nice.
The place has a pool, a mini mart, massage, a restaurant, a gym, pool table and ping pong table and more.
The area has restaurants, a bar and is located a bit from town. It takes about five to ten minutes to get into the city on a motorbike taxi.
I have not traveled much at all except for 2 shorter excursions, one north to Udon Thani and one south to Ban Krud. And I love it.
I feel like a local here now. When I walk down the road towards the town I meet a lot of friends and have many nice people that waves and greets me and vice versa.
I will definitively come back to Hua Hin and I am also thinking of moving here in a not so distant future. Sweden is a lost cause and it will take years for it to get better, if it even gets any better. So Thailand is a perfect place to reside in instead.
So I love the expat life and I love the backpacking life for different reasons. But maybe I am just lazy or very comfortable but I think I prefer to stay in a place a longer time than to travel around a lot with the stress of booking transport, new hostels etc.
I have made so many friends for life and I really feel like somewhat of a local here.
If I don´t come back to Hua Hin next winter I might be heading over to South-America or North-America. I have not been there yet and there is a lot of stuff over there that I would like to see.
Maybe I make next journey a mix of backpacking and expat life. For example I could travel around NA before I head down to SA, travel and then settle down in some place for a few months.
It will take some considering and deciding and it is not unlikely that I just go back to Hua Hin. I have fallen deeply in love with Thailand and it´s culture, food, weather, beautiful girls and reasonable prices for living.
Lets see what happens next, after all, nobody knows the future!