Michelle Vogel

I’m originally from Atlanta, GA, USA, but I currently teach fifth-grade English at a private school just outside of Bangkok. Before this, I studied Psychology at the University of Georgia in the small but wonderful college town of Athens, GA. The college town experiment proved successful; I involved myself in an assortment of activities including, but not limited to, making friends out of eight capuchin monkeys, starting a reusable grocery bag campaign, and singing in the African American Choral Ensemble.

Some time during my second year, I contracted the travel bug. Off I went, to live as an exchange student in Sydney, Australia for five months – five mind-blowing, world-rocking months! – after which I returned to the monkeys and the singing and the conveniences of American life, knowing all along that there were many more adventures to be had! Here I am, on my own, living, learning, and blogging in Thailand.

You can work pretty much where you want to – on the road, do you find it hard to work or do you just have fun and work when you come back home?

This question doesn't exactly apply to me because my blog doesn't serve as a source of income. I am living and working as an English teacher in Bangkok. I enjoy keeping a blog because I love to be able to look back and read old posts and see my perspective as it existed frozen in that moment. My blog serves as a personal journal sometimes, and also as a way to keep in touch with my friends and family and open their eyes to what life is like in other countries.

I guess as an English teacher I can still "work anywhere I want to" but the difference is that I'm not on the road; I settle down into my "anywhere" and it quickly becomes another version of "home".

Do you feel many people are envious of your lifestyle?

I can't even tell you how many people said to me, "You're SO lucky!!" when I told them I was moving here to teach. It sounds exotic so I understand where they're coming from, but when it comes down to it, your lifestyle is more a reflection of YOU and your personal choices than of the place in which you have chosen to reside. And there's really no reason to be envious - literally anyone with a Bachelor's degree can come here and find a job teaching English.

That being said, I'm not particularly envious of real travel bloggers' lifestyles simply because of the impermanence of it all. I would rather have a home base from which to travel for a little while; I would rather stick around and get to know a neighborhood and its people than jetset around, only getting to see a city for a weekend.

In which countries have people recognised you, even when you thought nobody would?

Hmm well this definitely hasn't happened yet. I'm gonna need a couple thousand more readers first.

Which three items would you never travel without?

Hmm this is hard!! My passport, my camera, my journal, I guess. And snacks. You should always bring snacks, just in case.

Are there any specific souvenirs or other things you collect from the places you go to?

Bangkok is a consumer's paradise. You can buy pretty much anything on the street and for super reasonable prices too. So lately I've been really into decorating my body - hair wraps, all sorts of jewelry... I've also been thinking about getting a tattoo here but we'll see!

I brought 9 boxes of Tim Tams back from Sydney with me. Souvenir-ing is a hedonistic activity - I tend to just indulge!

Tagged as: United States

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