Q&A with Peggy T from Taking to the Open Road
A Malaysian who studied in Australia, Peggy has lived abroad in both London and New York before turning full circle and returning to Sydney. Her blog, Taking to the Open Road, chronicles her international moves and travels throughout Europe, the Americas and Asia.
My blog only really talks about Bangkok, but what was your favorite destination in Thailand and why
I haven’t actually been to many places in Thailand aside from Bangkok and Phuket. I really liked the diving available near Phuket. In fact, I liked it so much, I’m heading back out there in a few months to visit the Similan Islands on a 6 day liveaboard. The marine life underwater is stunning, and best of all, the water’s warm!
The bulk of my readers are male, it would be an interesting perspective to find out the reasons you decided to come and visit Thailand?
I’d heard a lot about Bangkok, and wanted to see the temples and eat the pad thai for myself! I’m not sure I would revisit Bangkok though, as I found the traffic a little too overwhelming! The city is chaotic and colourful, and although I enjoyed my time there, I think on my return trip to Thailand, I’ll be heading up to the hills, to Chiang Mai instead, to see the temples there and volunteer with the elephant sanctuary. Culturally, I think Thailand is fascinating, and that was also one of the reasons I wanted to go there. And of course, the food! We ate at Nam when we were in Bangkok, and it was an experience!
What was the best experience you’ve had in Thailand?
I hesitate to say this, but probably the time I spent with Full Moon, a retired circus elephant. It was a beautiful and fun experience but it also prompted me to really think about how we as travelers consume while on the road and how the choices we make can affect others and their environment. If I were to do it again, I wouldn’t repeat the experience. Instead, I would choose to visit the Elephant National Park, a sanctuary in the north of Thailand, where the animals are not used for the entertainment of tourists. The experience with Full Moon was a bit of an eye opener, and it really changed my perspective on the responsibilities that we as travelers have to the places and people we visit.
What line of work are you in that allows you to live and travel where you want? It is a goal of mine and a lot of my readers to be able to do the same.
I put in some hard years getting qualified as a Chartered Accountant, an internationally recognised qualification that has allowed me to find work (and visas!) in Australia and in the UK. It’s boring, but it’s secure, reliable, pays the bills and depending on who I work for, gives me the right work/life balance in order to travel as much as I do. In New York, I did some freelance copywriting, a side line of income that I still maintain. I think the key to do is to find a way of earning money that is location independent, whether that is because the skills you obtain are applicable in different parts of the world, or because the work you do doesn’t rely on your physical presence.
You are currently living in Sydney, if you had the choice between anywhere in Australia or anywhere in Thailand, where would you go?
I’d love to live in Koh Samui for awhile, I think. The Thai islands do get a rep for being party central, but I also think there’s a sense of peace and spirituality in Thailand overall, that I haven’t felt in many other places. The laid back lifestyle, cheap cost of living and access to perfect beaches would be very conducive to my goal of eventually becoming a full time writer! Whereas here in Australia, where the cost of living is so high, I tend to find myself running just to keep up! Another place I would love to go to one day is Buenos Aires – in fact, that’s in my 5 year plan, so check back then and I’ll let you know how I go.
Brilliant, thanks for the write up, Harvie! 🙂