Blogging About Thailand ...

One would assume most first time readers of this blog stumbled upon it while doing a search related to Thailand.  As pictures have grown to be a more significant part of the blog, image searches also bring viewer here.  Whether they read after viewing the image they were looking for, is anyone’s guess.

Now that I have a presence on Google+ my images are more accessible to the 1500+ individuals who have me in their circles.  There, people are not typically searching for anything to do with Thailand but are looking for interesting photographs.

I would guess that many if not most of those first time Thai searches would be focussed on relationship topics, to put it politely, and touristy things like where to go, what to do and see, where to stay or how to get there, and of course how much things cost.  Politicos and news buffs are often intrigued by what plays out in the world and local new of Thailand and search for additional sources.  Buddhism perhaps attracts some though one suspects it is the more worldly and carnal things of Thailand that attract more searches.

Having been bitten by the Thailand bug, the search for many might then trend toward how to live here with your new “true love” or how to get her back to your own country.  Many find Thailand late in life after some life-altering event such as being put out to pasture from their career, divorce or even more tragically the passing of their lifelong partner.  For them, retirement and cost of living, may be forefront in their minds and searches.

Clearly this blog does not deal directly with any of these interest absorbing topics and has me questioning how relevant my blog is in a Thai oriented search.  As much as I might like to appeal to a broader range of readers and not be limited to this small niche market of Thailand, and all the negative imagery that accompanies it, the truth is that I am who I am because of living in Thailand for so many years.  There is no denying the influence Thailand has had on me nor that my daily life is painted on the exotic canvas that is Northern Thailand.

I would find it difficult to blog about most high interest topics about Thailand because I am no longer interested in or current on those subjects.  Dredging up what things were like 20 or 30 years ago and trying to relate them to the up-to-the-minute detail of the modern digital world, holds no practical value for me or the reader I would assume.

I seem to remember a post early on, where a female reader asked me what it was about Thai culture that kept me in Thailand, or something to that effect.  I believe I told her it had little or nothing to do with Thai culture and was all about my lifestyle.  To be fair my early years here in Thailand were spent pealing away the onionskin of Thai culture and insinuating myself into every strata of Thai social class I could.  At some point you simply internalize what you have learned and no longer focus on it so much.  As a child it takes great effort and focus on your feet and the ground below them to keep upright.  Later in life running is effortless and one is able to traverse difficult terrain with little thought.  One does need to go through the learning process but I suppose some move on to other tasks while others get stuck.
I guess this blog ends up being a personal journal written by someone who just happens to reside in Thailand.  The telling of my tale can sometimes draw distant people closer to Thailand and to me as a writer.  I truly relish the many relationships that have developed here over the years.  An interesting flip-side is that my blog can, on occasion, drive a wedge between me and other residents of Chiang Rai or Thailand.  They may see themselves in my words and personalize what is meant to be a generalized discussion of a relevant topic.

An undesired side-effect to be sure, but nothing to bring about a major change in the way I view life in general, the way I live my own life or what I write about.  Its a big world out there and I cannot possibly take into account every possible interpretation of what I write.  I cannot guess at what sensitivities and triggers lurk in the delicate egos of those who struggle with their sometimes difficult relationship with Thailand.  At first reading sometimes my words leave the reader feeling uncomfortable only to realize, much later, they were well intended and could have been beneficial if heeded.

I am no fan of aggression or vulgarity but grudgingly accept there can and will be casualties as a result of brutal honesty.  I can accept that some are put off and no longer seek out my company but I can be but honest and truthful with myself and others.