Return to Thailand

Dannie and Julee

Dannie and Julee

I had been in the States for almost a year and fully intended to write about the differences between the States and Thailand. For those that don’t know, my wife and I had lived in Thailand for the previous 10 years.

Love that last

Love that last

I, along with my lovely wife, are now back in Thailand for a visit and to tie up some loose ends. I must say from the moment I stepped off the plane my body relaxed to a point it almost brought tears.

In the beginning of our journey, my wife was not that excited to move to Thailand—the place of her birth. She loves America, as do I, but I needed a change. It was nearly a matter of life and death. I have said this before but my wife has looked after me all our married life and even before. I’m a lucky man to have someone who understands my needs better than I.

I’ll admit I enjoy many parts of life in the States; food; conveniences; the ocean and being able to speak and perceive that people understand me. I do speak Thai but am often unsure if my point is interpreted correctly. But the States also brings back the sucking of the soul feeling I had when I left. Not the people—I do enjoy the mixture of people, but the rules, rules and more rules: from taxes, politics, insurance and electronics that seems to consume everyone. I’ve always felt that a cell phone is for making and receiving calls. That now seems the least of their purposes.

Being near my family—I thought would be the biggest plus. I once again became the head of the family—in my eyes—and it was an obligation I didn’t cherish. In my early life I was a decision maker and now that I can look back I see I put myself at a distance, what with work, caring for my family and providing for their needs. There’s much more that goes on, but that is personal.

One thing that came back to me was the sea. I have a small fishing boat and sitting at anchor or blasting through passes puts my mind at ease. My true love is sailing but the cost of docking is holding me back. I honestly think I am a thing of the ocean. When on the water my cares are far away—no matter the problems I face. Being on the incessant sea gives me the desire to write again. I haven’t written a word towards a manuscript in many months and I miss it so. It’s not writer’s block it’s the lack of desire. I’m still selling books, much to my amazement. I have done little to encourage readers to buy. I love them for helping me.

So, now, here I sit in Thailand soaking up the heat, the smiles, the beautiful people and with a feeling of contentment. My wife is also happier in Thailand than our past year in the States. She went through hell for reasons of her own and others. So we have decision to make.

After being here for over a month we both want to return to the States, but with changes that will benefit us. If I lose it again then I have a home here in Thailand. I went to the immigration office we visited so many times before and the officers were so happy to see us again. The lady in charge didn’t want to give me a 30 day extension—she wanted me to stay and offered another 1 year visa. Hard to imagine how wonderful the people are we come in contact with.

I’m getting old—yes, it’s true—and I still have dreams of crossing oceans. It might not happen but if it does I have to be in the States to make it a reality.

Sorry to drag this on. I should break it up but the thrill of writing, even this little post, is so exciting and I know you’ll forgive me. There are so many people in the reading and writing world that have touched me and I love you all.

Listening To Dolphins

 I’ve been missing the sea more and more and I thought I’d tell you about a trip my family took many years ago.

I rented a small house at Mexico Beach in the Florida panhandle but I towed our 26 foot sailboat down two weeks early. My family, three young children and my wife, spend over a week sailing in the Gulf of Mexico but each night we would return to the isolated tip of Cape San Blas peninsula that encloses the large St Joseph Bay to anchor. Not another boat in sight.

Our small boat was cramped for sleeping but I never heard a complaint and that in itself was a miracle with three young (pre-teen) children on board. During the day we would sail the clear, sparkling blue of the gulf or explore the coastline of the deserted peninsula. Some days we would anchor and snorkel or fish, or we would head out into the blue and enjoy being out of sight of land.

St Joseph Bay is known as a breeding ground for nurse sharks and we would swim among baby sharks without a worry. In the shallow grass beds far up in the bay we would walk in knee deep water picking up bay scallops off the sea grass like eggs in a nest. If I haven’t said before; my wife is an extraordinary cook—even on a two burner alcohol stove top.

Night was my favorite time. We were completely alone at anchor with no lights to disturb our little world. The Milky Way lay across the sky like a belt of diamonds. The water would glow like shooting stars as larger fish streaked by in search of food. But what I enjoyed the most were the dolphins. I think we found a resting place they used to take a break from their endless travels. We would sit in the cockpit in total darkness and listen to these amazing mammals as they would come lazily to the surface beside our boat and to breathe. The dolphins didn’t chatter at night so hearing them blow and feel the mist of their breath was magical for us all. It is a moment one could never forget.

During the day dolphins would ride the bow wave and if we were quite we could hear their chitters and cheeps through the hull of our boat. The kids loved to stand in the pulpit—the bow of the sailboat—and look down on them. The dolphins would turn on their sides and look up at the children and the kids would run back to the cockpit and say, “Dad, they were looking at us!”

Those were days my family will never forget. As my mind turns to the sea again I may post more about sailing far from land or the two years I spent in the Marshall Islands. I hope you enjoyed this little interlude.

I don’t have any digital images of our trips but it is something I must attend to. I do have one shot of my wife, oldest son and me enjoying a day fishing—back when we were all very young.

Phuket and a Writer’s Life

Phuket sunset

Orchids I grow

Writers all over the world have many ways and places they prefer to sit and do their work.

For me it’s early in the morning, usually just as dawn creeps in to touch the new day. I sit in my little room with a small window and no distractions except my mind. I like to watch the world come alive with the growing light and as I write I am surprised at the passing of time. I’m in my world—the one I am building with my mind and fingertips.

I will sometimes feel the need for a break and think back to the beautiful places I have been. The ocean always relaxes me even when I think of the storms I’ve been through. But I find myself thinking more and more of the land where I live. Small mountains thrust up from the earth thousands of years ago still hold their rugged beauty but trees and flowers will not be denied in the land of rain and heat.

Oceans of the clearest blue and green with shelves of coral and their host of fish are all around the coast. Phuket, located in the south juts out into the Andaman Sea is a place tourist and Thai’s love to go. Phuket is not just one small village but there are beaches of every kind along its coast. I have seen the most spectacular sunsets in Phuket. They light up the evening sky as if a wizard releases golden fire from his staff. Breathtaking!

I have been there to see the wonders of the water and the lush chocolate- drop hills. Some of the towns are a single mans’ dream, filled with golden-skinned beauties with their laughter and smiles and easy ways.

Being married, I could only walk the streets at night a few times just to think of my youth.

Other beaches attract families and you can meet people from all over the world at their best. The Thai people have a way of bring out the best in everyone. They are famous for their smiles and helpfulness. It really is true that they are among the happiest people I’ve ever met.

I picture scenes of Thailand for a few minutes and find my mind relaxed and ready to continue. Then it’s back to my world of my tiny room with the small window and the story I am creating. I sometimes write for hours with short breaks to rest my mind. If I am editing then my room feels more like a prison or corporate cubicle, but the edit must be done—not for me but for the reader. When I think of them (the readers) then the editing becomes easier and my world expanse again. The world I am working on takes on a new life. If not for readers where would I be? I do owe it to them to give them the best I can do. I’m one of them.

I love to read and see the worlds of other writers and I take special care to see if they have taken the time to make their works with the reader in mind.

I hope you are enjoying my short tales of Thailand and a bit about what I do. I always love to hear the thoughts of others and it makes my day to read the comments from you. So tell me whatever you wish. I will listen.