This is an audio version of one of the stories from my upcoming book. The voice is not mine.
Please leave comments and let me know what you think!
“Paradise was always over there, a day’s sail away. But it’s a funny thing, escapism. You can go far and wide and you can keep moving on and on through places and years, but you never escape your own life. I, finally, knew where my life belonged. Home.”
J. Maarten Troost, Author
When I made the move to Thailand, I was 33 years-old and ready for an adventure. After several trips to the country, I was certain I had found paradise. One day I woke up and something clicked. I wanted more out of my life. I wanted to see the world, to start anew, and I wanted to do it my way. Thailand was like no other place I had seen and seemed like the ideal place to do so.
My initial plan was to stay for a year and get to know myself again sans stress. This was 20 years ago when smartphones and internet technology were in their infancy and had yet to make the world smaller. Time provides insight and changes people and I am now much different from the person I was when I arrived in Thailand.
Although I am happy with my decision to move abroad, I would be hesitant to make the same move at my current age and in my current situation.
When I made the move, the time was right. At thirty-three, I was still relatively young and had little to lose. If I failed, there was plenty of time to get back on track. The people in Thailand were charming, friendly, and open to foreigners and the country had yet to become the cliché backpacker’s destination. Bars were open all night, go-go dancers pranced around naked, and tourists willing to give anything for a beautiful piece of ass had yet to corrupt the working girls.
This is the photo that set off several people. Because I'm eating chicken, this meal is deemed unhealthy (by them). Note, I did not open the salad dressing. Just plain ole lettuce, tomatoes, and skinless chicken. There are those who say I'm going to get salmonella and e-coli - It hasn't happened in 53 years and I'm not going to start worrying about it now.
In the coming weeks, you’ll get a look at what I eat and how am I exercising in my quest to regain an acceptable level of fitness. While I appreciate the advice given in the YouTube comment section and via email, I have a good grasp of what is nutritious and what is not. Believe me. I’ve boxed, trained in Karate and Muay Thai and have trained and spent quite a lot of time around world-class fighters. My mother is a dietician and my father a cardiologist and their knowledge, combined with my knowledge and the knowledge of my friends around me, I do know a thing or two.
When around pro boxers and Thai fighters, I had sufficient motivation and managed to keep myself in halfway decent shape. When the boxers were training for an upcoming fight, I was in the gym. When they were between fights, I was out of the gym and did nothing. Usually by the time the training camp and fight were finished, I was burnt out and ready for a break. Those breaks meant no exercise when I should have been doing something — anything.
For me, fresh foods and portion control are key, not dieting, fasting, becoming a vegetarian or vegan, or juicing. I have fasted in the past and may do so for a day, but that’s it. Everyone has an opinion on what is right and wrong and good and bad and this is fine. What’s good for one person is not always good for another. I enjoy eating meat, in fact, there are days I crave meat, and while I can certainly understand why some people choose to become vegans and vegetarians, I choose to continue eating meat. I prefer fish and shellfish but eat chicken, pork, and occasionally, beef.
The foods I plan to eat less of or cut out altogether are: cheese (I love cheese), chocolate, pasta, pizza, peanut butter, salami, ham, rice noodles, rice and of course sweets. I rarely eat cakes and candy and ice cream or drink sodas, but these are off the menu for now. I’m a firm believer it’s acceptable to have one day a week to eat a slightly more fattening food or dish as long as it’s once a week and it doesn’t become a habit again.
Buying fruit and vegetables in Bangkok at a local fresh market is convenient and inexpensive and while I will continue shopping at Fresh Mart, Foodland, and Villa Market, I will make more purchases at the market.
It has been four months since I had hip surgery. My right hip is healing, slowly, much more slowly than I expected, nevertheless, it is time to try to begin exercising again. You can follow my efforts on YouTube and on this site; my continuing rehabilitation, eating clean, and exercise, all with the intention of getting myself fit enough to work. I’ve said it before, if I can’t walk, my type of photography is difficult at best. Note, I did not state I’ll train in boxing or practice Muay Thai. For now at least, those days are over. At first, all I’ll be doing is walking, stretching, and freehand exercises. Being capable of walking without pain is the first step.
Over the past few months, it’s become more apparent to me that if I need to do one thing, it is to take better care of myself. I have deteriorated over the course of the last decade, more so in the last four years. Although some of this can be attributed to injuries and aging, if I’m being honest with myself, I would be in much better shape if I took better care of myself. That means exercising, being careful about what foods I eat, and making certain to put my health above all else. That’s rarely been what I do, even when I was lean and extremely fit. I used to laugh because I could eat a pint of Haagen-Dazs and never gain an ounce. But I was exercising 3-4 hours a day, always active, and rarely ate after 6 PM.
After my hip surgery, I’ve been making an attempt to strengthen my hip flexor muscle, bit, for the most part, I’ve been sitting around on my rear end trying not to do too much. I could go on and on: there is a lack of motivation to be as healthy and strong as I can be, too many grilled cheese sandwiches, a love of good cheese, peanut butter and honey sandwiches, the love of pizza, gnocchi, and Italian food in general.