Here we go, here we go, here we go again

I  move locations about as often as some people buy new socks. Actually…probably a lot more often than that. I don’t really have any idea how often people buy socks. That was a terrible analogy. Point is, in 27 years I’ve lived in close to 20 places. Most of those in the last decade. Some for years, some for mere weeks or months. It’s hard to keep track. And because people always ask where I’m from…here it is. The complete list:

Wilton, CTLitchfield, CT

You should all be very impressed with my graphic design skills. I made that myself.

By the time I was in middle school, I was used to the concept of leaving friends and making new ones. By the time I was 23, packing my life into a suitcase was second nature. The thought of missing home was as absurd as the idea of having one location actually be home. Wherever I was at the moment was as much home as the place before it.

And so, when I moved to Chiang Mai last year, it became home. And after 14 months of living here, it actually does feel like it. I know the streets and alleys, the best cafes and spots for beer, the cheapest smoothies, and best hiking spots. And while I’ve missed certain people from the States, I haven’t actually felt “homesick” since I’ve moved here.

Until now.

In the past couple of months, my life here has been beginning to wear on me, far more than it had during my first year. Seemingly insignificant things have begun to snowball from minor annoyances to big frustrations. Ordering food at a restaurant and swearing you ordered chicken and rice NO SPICY, and instead receiving seafood soup that sets your mouth on fire. Going to the supermarket and seeing plain yogurt on sale and then getting home and realizing it’s not plain yogurt and it wasn’t on sale. Constantly having to worry about visas and immigration check-ins and residence notifications. Having Thai folks look at you like you’re stupid when you use the wrong word or accidentally make an etiquette mistake. Breathing in smoke instead of air for two months straight. Motorbike accidents that leave all your internal organs intact but leave the top layer of your skin smeared across a gravelly underpass. You didn’t want that, did you? WELL ACTUALLY, THAI PAVEMENT, I DID. GIVE IT BACK.

All those little things that eventually add up to this: I am an outsider here. I always will be. I will never really belong. 

Now, you can argue that point all you want and say home is what you make it and there are frustrations inherent in any place you live. And I know that. It’s true.

But I also know that I am ready for a break. Some distance, some familiarity, and the ability to make small talk without accidentally saying “I wish you bad luck” instead of “so beautiful!”

And so, I will return to the States. And even though Thomas Wolfe claims “You can’t go home again,” I’m still gonna try. And maybe soon I’ll make my home someplace new. Or maybe someplace old. WHO KNOWS?

I’m open to adventure, and I’m excited for what’s next. And maybe after a couple months floating around the US, I’ll return to Asia. Maybe not. Stay tuned.

3 thoughts on “Here we go, here we go, here we go again

  1. Hi Caitlin – It’s Jack from Salem YMCA, lol… Whew, you’ve certainly been on the go. Do you remember our conversations about me choosing between Chiang Mai, Phillipines and AZ for retirement? Well, you beat me to Thailand and I envy your courage. But I think that, like you, I would have ended up leaving Thailand – and I probably would have had a much worse motorbike accident! I was wondering about those months where you breathe smoke too – hmmmm.

    I’m still in Maine. My mom turns 97 in a month and is still going strong, so AZ will have to wait; she may outlive me! Nothing exciting to report other than we are still experiencing cold and snow now after a relatively mild winter. It’s New England!

    Well, if you get near Maine let me know. I’ll buy you lunch in exchange for more stories of your adventures. Oh, and I’m still enjoying the wallets your sister sent from Nepal!

    Take care and be safe,


    1. So happy to hear from you, jack! My sister has since returned to the states to get married. I’ll be back for the summer and staying through to her wedding in September. Don’t have a trip to the east coast planned yet, but if I’m there I will certainly let you know! Would love to swap some stories 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. God speed my young friend and may you be safe. Hope to see you in your travels back here in VA..


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