A few years ago I hit a quarter-life crisis. I’d been living and working abroad — bouncing between East Asian countries for years — and I felt burned out and lost.
I couldn’t stay, but I also didn’t want to go home. I stumbled upon a job post on the sketchy Facebook group “Teaching in Thailand” that read: “Teach at British International School in Thai Island”.
A Google search on the Thai island showed white beaches with turquoise water and pink-orange sunsets. The blogs spoke of a friendly expat community, and cheap everything. The school’s website made it seem reputable and well funded. Does it get any better than this? It was the perfect next step in my career.
Trouble in Paradise
When I landed at the island’s small airport, I should have taken the surprisingly rude taxi driver as an omen. Life on my new island home deteriorated fast.
Coworkers at the school weren’t just cliquey, they were tribal. Friday evenings were lonesome. Dating was out of the question in a place full of either male sexpats with beer bellies, or their natural counterparts — the working girls. But getting settled takes time, I thought to myself.
Actually, I wasn’t alone for long, with several uninvited guests visiting me in my small rental house. I encountered a glossy black scorpion as he crawled across my living room, an arm-sized gecko hanging from the shower curtain — and I found out the hard way about the fire-ants nesting in my underwear drawer. “All part of living in paradise”, I told myself.
I was excited to check out the beaches. There were several scenic spots I’d learned about while doing some Googling before the move.
And therein lied my downfall.
I figured theres no need to visit the island before making a move. The internet has all the info I need. I used blogs, travel websites, and Facebook groups to research the location before committing to the move, but I hadn’t stop to think how accurate these sources were.
HI (Human Intelligence) vs AI
No matter how many sophisticated algorithms Google uses to rank websites to bring the most relevant searches to the top, human intelligence (HI) still trumps AI. There’s nothing better than asking a real human who’s been to a place to get advice. Thinking of studying architecture? Ask an architect. Looking for a good movie to see Friday night? Ask your buddy to recommend one. Can’t find your old childhood drawings? Ask Mom. Trusting the online sources only lead me to discover those “white sand” beaches covered in trash.
It’s not Google’s fault. After all, how could the algorithms possibly verify the accuracy of ALL that information?
An Idea is born
So what’s a better place to get your information from, particularly about moving and living abroad? From HI sources, aka other humans. I decided to take on a mission to bring human intelligence to the forefront.
The Mission: Share living and working abroad information to pull back the curtain of what it’s really like to live abroad
My Thailand fail ended in me leaving the island and moving back to East Asia with a plan: Build the world’s first dedicated information sharing gateway for living and working abroad. It’s a place where seasoned expats, frequent international travelers, and those thirsty for adventure can share the true story of what it’s like to live and work abroad through questions and answers, upvoting, newbie meetups, and more.
For starters, you can learn what life is like on a Thai island, not from a blog sponsored by a travel agency, but from a real person who’s been there. The platform is currently under construction and launching summer 2019, but if you found this article clap-worthy, feel free to sign up as a beta tester here: journeyfoxx.com.
And if you happen to be living on a beautiful Thai island, check if anything is moving inside the drawer before getting dressed. Hopefully that will save you from discovering fire ants in your underwear before it’s too late.