Old PervsThailand has become many things. One of seems to a gigantic nursing home for old, dysfunction… but adventurous Westerners. Old men trapped in either fantasy, addiction, or self-centered shallow existence can be seen everywhere.

I recall a short ride on a songthaew in Pattaya. An elderly man who seemed to be in his 70s boarded the vehicle with a young woman who appeared to be a teenager. He glanced at me and in a distinguished European (Swiss?) voice told me that he was a doctor who earlier had heard that it was common practice for men to have sex with 14 year old girls in Thailand. “I looked aghast and said, ‘Nooooo’… then immediately made a reservation to move here!”

Clearly the woman in the photo above is older than 14, but she’s in the process of “working him” and he seems to know he’s being worked. I can’t imagine being comfortable with such an arrangement in the last days of my life. With all the struggles and challenges life teaches us… to be satisfied with the shallowness of being a trick and comfortable living in a land that loves only your money, is an utterly ridiculous choice.

it’s true that retirement and Social Security checks go further in Thailand. It’s also true that marketing and propaganda is elevating “white skin” to an almost immortal status…. but it’s also true that one sees countless old men with vacant, bitter eyes walking the streets either alone or with a shabby elderly buddy next to them. A pitiful way to end a life. Suicides have become common and alcoholism and addiction are the norm.

I left Thailand determine to make the next 10 years the happiest I’ve had in my life. That means engaging my heart … challenging my fears, and facing whatever attachment issues that comes up in the process.