I regularly talk to my best friends in England and they’ll often ask me what crazy and wacky shit I have got up to in Thailand that week.
Over the last year or so my reply to their questions has been something along the lines of this:
“Mostly reading books, playing badminton and jerking off to Japanese porn using a VPN.”
To which they laugh and mock me by calling me a future pedophile and loser (like any best friends would mind you).
My ‘crew’ have all visited Thailand for 2-3 week holidays where they went full retard, partied most nights, sucked off ladyboys and gave zero fucks.
Now they expect my life to be like this too but they fail to understand that living here as an expat is very different.
One cannot sustain this type of lifestyle for ever without feeling the consequences later in life physically and financially.
Drinking kills productivity and health
When I got here 4 years ago I drank often (3-4 times per week) and had a blast.
I’d often be spending $100~ each night, eating Burger King and the next day to cure my hangover and buying over the counter meds for my herpes outbreaks.
Today I seldom drink and pretty much quit binge drinking.
Just last week a friend said:
“Harvie is a boring bastard, he never goes out or has any fun any more”
And my transgender friend is right.
The way I see it is: if I drink once per week (warning, I’m about to talk about math) that’s 52 days of the year I’m not being productive, and the day after is a wasted too because I’m hungover AF (as fuck).
Which now makes 104 days (30%) of the year spent on drinking and recovering.
Now if we combine this with the normal holidays I take, I typically go on holiday once per month for 4 days, that’s another 48 days. Now we’ve got it to 42% of the entire year I am not being productive.
For someone who has no pension and lives in a foreign country, if I don’t want to end in a 9-5 job I need to make sensible moves.
If we added costs for drinking once per week, recovery and loss of earnings it would be something like $10,000+ per year.
You may be thinking how can you spend $100 on a night out? Well I’ll often go out in a group and we’ll get anywhere between 2-6 bottles over the night including mixes which really adds up. Craft beers can cost as much as 400b+ per bottle too!
If I added ‘take home entertainment’ once a month to the calculation above, that number would increase dramatically.
So many people have the misconception (or my audience at least) that being in Thailand is all about having a blast giving zero fucks.
That’s all well and good if you only want to stay here for a short while and return home. But as a long-term plan it’s not that great or wise… unless you want to be one of them expats in a Singha vest at Nana Plaza 2pm on a Monday afternoon.
I’m an easy going guy but so many people get into fights or run over by cars when drunk in Thailand. I know a handful of people personally who have been hit by cars while intoxicated which is kind of crazy as I know zero in England.
Bangkok expat drinking culture
If I went out 2-3x a week in England binge drinking for a year, my friends and family would sit me down and tell me that I’m being a degenerate and that I need to sort my life out.
They would be right too, drinking that often is not wise, productive and extremely harmful to my internal organs.
In Thailand I don’t have anyone telling me:
“Harvie, maybe you ought to stop drinking, you only have one liver brah”
Instead, they say:
“You’re a fucking phaggot brah, what you mean you aren’t drinking?”
I’ll say the same too, if I’m drinking and one of my friends isn’t, I will call his mother every name under the sun and more until he gets as wasted as me.
As I’ve mentioned in other articles on my website, making great relationships in Thailand is hard, and a percentage of friends we all have here are merely drinking buddies and people we would never associate with back home.
If one of my best friends was binge drinking 3+ times a week in England I would without a doubt intervene, here if a friend does it I egg him on and call him a sick kunt for staying out until closing time.
Because our family and best friends aren’t here to put us in check, many people (including myself for the first few years) go wild which doesn’t set us up the future in Thailand or Asia.
You have to self-regulate your actions in Thailand to make sure you don’t go over the edge and be broke begging on the streets, or become the next ‘rooftop suicide’.
Any day of the week you can go out anywhere in Bangkok and there’s several clubs and bars packed every single night. Not to mention there will be girls throwing themselves at you, making it a playground for idle hands.
Back in my home town there’s nothing to do until the weekend, and even then it’s only busy at the end of the month when everyone gets paid.
I don’t miss drinking, but I do miss the banter
As with most things in life, we learn from our mistakes.
While I’ve not gone out as much as I’d like over the last year, I’ve been way more productive and reached several of my goals for the year already (go me!).
Having said that, I do feel that saying no to every invite on a night out is not the answer, as for me male bonding is a huge factor to my happiness.
I enjoy meeting my friends and shooting the shit over a couple beers or going out on wild nights from time to time.
I think in the coming months I’ll be going out a lot more but will replace the whiskey shots with Singha bottled water. And instead of leaving Swing at 9am, I’ll head home around 3am with a fine Thai dime piece on my arm.
The older I get the more I value my sleep. I won’t let anything stop me getting at least 7 hours of sleep per day. The only time that doesn’t have is when I drink excessively or have to catch a long-haul flight.
Not to mention there’s nothing more I hate than having a huge hangover and not being able to leave my bed.
As with all things in life there’s a balance, before I went out too much and but wasn’t being productive, then I was being ‘too’ productive and watched life pass by.
Hopefully in the coming months I’ll find a middle ground where I can get the best of both worlds. Go out and have a sickening time with friends but get home without a huge hangover and manage to get a great night’s sleep.
What about you?
If you’ve lived in Thailand for any prolonged amount of time, how much of you year is spent drinking and nursing hangovers?
Do you disagree with anything I say? If so leave a comment below.
- PS: I’ve amassed quite a lot of emails over the last few months and my email service is blasting me up the ass with monthly payments. I was thinking about setting up a Patron account where my readers can donate $1-2 per month to get me emailing you when a post is up and perhaps even buy equipment to do a weekly podcast. If you would donate let me know in the comments so I can get an idea of what I can do in the coming months. Thanks!