I grew up poor. Like most poor kids I didn’t realize I was poor, it was only after I looked back as an adult that I knew. My family life was happy even though all five of us lived in a room that could be an American closet. I still remember eating eggs every day when I was a child (I’m serious, I ate eggs at almost every meal: fried eggs, scrambled eggs, boiled eggs, steamed eggs). I assumed everyone ate that many eggs until many years later.
Most people who have a story like this don’t leave high paying jobs … but that’s exactly what I did. I was fortunate to attend university and I majored in business. After university I got a job with a Japanese company and was making more money than anyone in my family ever had.
But I was miserable.
I wanted to go places, see things. I wanted my life to be more than a marketing associate in a faceless company. The money was good, but it wasn’t enough.
I decided to take a chance, I quit my job and called a friend who’d been working at a small hotel in Bangkok. She introduced me to the owner and I took a job as a receptionist for about a 50% pay cut.
But I was happy.
I loved talking with the guests and helping make their trip better. Offering suggestions and tips. I realized after a few years, this was my real passion. Helping others and showing them my country.
In 2014 I moved to Chiang Mai, a province in the north of Thailand, and it was my first time living outside Bangkok. I enrolled in the guide school at Chiang Mai University to get a guide license and learn how to better serve my guests.
My Travel Philosophy
You could plan your trip yourself. You could use Lonely Planet guidebooks and make all your own reservations and you’d probably spend less money. But you didn’t fly to the other side of the planet to wait in the hot sun for a taxi. And there’s no cultural value to eating at a bad restaurant.
There’s also little cultural value in staying at 5-star hotels, eating only at hotel restaurants and never meeting any local people—viewing Thailand from a bus window as you’re shuffled from sight to sight.
Thailand ETCetera is somewhere in the middle.
When I travel I like hotels that are reasonably priced, comfortable, and staffed with friendly people. I like having transportation arranged so I don’t have to waste hours of my trip getting from place to place. And I want to try the local cuisine … in the places where locals eat.
And that’s what you get on a Thailand ETCetera tour.
We’ll work together to make your trip an unforgettable experience. I’ll make sure you meet local people and see local life. I’ll take you to my favorite places and let you taste my favorite food. I’ll plan your trip from beginning to end so you’re never waiting (or ripped off by) a taxi driver. There will be plenty of time for you to wander and explore by yourself. Or, if you prefer, you can have a guide with you 24/7. Your itinerary will be custom made to suite your tastes.