About the Phuket Blogger
It was pointed out to me recently by a well respected blogger that I do not have an "about me" page on the Phuket Blog. So apparently this is a normal thing to have on a "travel blog". And I just checked on that - I looked at a list of the top 10 travel blogs .. and all of them had big obvious ABOUT or ABOUT ME links at the top of the page in the main menu. Maybe they have a bigger ego than me? I wrote a limited profile on my Blogger profile, though it does not show anywhere on this blog :
I have traveled many roads and in 1999 ended up in Thailand. After visiting some 50 countries from Zaire to Bolivia; from India to Malawi; from Denmark to Guatemala, Phuket was where I stopped moving. I am married, we have 2 kids, we live in Phuket and I do the Phuket Blog in my spare time..
Maybe that's all you need to know. Skip the rest. What do you need to know? Until now I did not have any real "about me" information on the the blog. The last 11 words of that mini-profile are the important ones. I am married with kids and we lived in Phuket until 2019. We were not on holiday there. It was a perfectly normal family life. Just that we happened to live in Phuket which is a popular destination for tourists. And I write a blog about Phuket, or several blogs actually. It's a hobby, not a job. Sometimes I wrote new blog pages regularly, sometimes I was too busy with normal life. I had a proper job, managing a dive center called Sunrise Divers. In high season that was a 6 day per week job. In low season, 5 days per week. So blogging time and exploring time was limited. More got done in low season (May to October) when I could work less days and take some holidays.
(above) A little Q&A I did with the local Phuket News paper.
UPDATE 2019 - After nearly 20 years we have moved back to the UK, but we still have a house in Phuket and another in Chumphon. Not sure how long we will stay in the UK. Kids are now at school/college here in England and we're living in York - and I am starting a Yorkshire Blog.
The lack (until now) of an "about Jamie" page is partly due to privacy, mixed with a very English modesty - who wants to read about me? I don't want to blab on about myself. The blog is quite personal anyway, featuring plenty of family photos, and many pages about things we do as a family, but I try to keep exact family details to a minimum. We live in the Kathu area of Phuket and I'm not getting any more specific. I hope I have never mentioned which school the kids attend and my wife makes sure family photos on the blog are not too personal. But, yes this is a BLOG, not a travel guide. Some pages are about what we do, some are more informational. Some events such as the Phuket Vegetarian Festival get blogged every year. I have blogged 4 times already about trips to Koh Yao Noi island and if we go again, it'll be another blog page. Some pages get updates with new photos, sometimes a repeat visit gets a new blog page. I want the blog to be personal-but-not-too-personal!
(above) Me and da kidz at Koh Yao Noi island.
OK. So. About Me. Hello, I am Jamie and I lived many years in Phuket. I am English or British depending on what sport is being played. I was born in the same year as the lunar landing - "a giant leap for mankind", I lived in England's green and pleasant land, went to school, got lots of exam passes. Not much traveling when I was young, but then again, a 100 mile drive seemed like a long trip when I was a kid. We had family holidays all over Britain and a few in Europe, camping in France, Germany, Belgium. When I was 16, with a group of about 10 kids from my school, I went to India for 1 month. Quite a shock it was. We stayed in basic accommodation, visited farms, schools, factories, helped on a building project for an orphanage, plus a few easy days at the beach and sightseeing! Was an emotional experience. I can't say it inspired me to travel more. I was young and happy to be back home again. Finished school, 4 years at University. I have a BSc in Chemistry and an MSc in Forensic Science. Thanks. I wanted to be a forensic scientist.
(above) In Glasgow with fellow forensic scientist Nick - this was in 1991. Nick and I got lucky during the MSc course and flew to California for 3 months to do some project work in a forensic lab working with the DOJ. And we had some free time to explore too, visiting the Grand Canyon (see photo below), Yosemite, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe and more. I think that's when the travel bug really hit me.
Got a job with a big pharmaceutical company, but after about 18 months I felt the urge to travel some more. One big trip and then settle down for a normal life, that was the plan. I signed up for a trip through Africa with a company called Exodus Overland. About 15 people, big truck, camping, making our own food, from London to Jo'burg by truck. All overland. 6 months.
(above) Sahara Desert, 1993
(above) in Malawi, 1993
After Africa .. back to work for nearly 2 years, nearly getting sucked into an easy lifestyle, nearly being tempted to put a deposit on an apartment, get a new car .. but after a while I realised with the money I had made, a really long trip would be possible! So at the end of April 1995 began a 20 month trip, starting in North America and ending in South America, everything from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. I wish there had been such things as travel blogs back then! But in 1995 I did not even have an email address or a digital camera. Less than 20 years but huge changes in the world. I loved the traveling life, and traveling solo meant I was free to explore in my own time. Met a lot of very nice people along the way, learned to speak Spanish, did lots of scuba diving and when the money finally ran out there was no way I could consider going back to a "normal" life. Travel was now normal. I went back to England just in time for Christmas 1996. It had been a massive trip.
(above) on the Inca trail, 1996
(above) at Laguna Colorada, Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, 1996
I took nearly 100 rolls of film on that trip. A shame that quality, affordable digital cameras were not around then! Well, after that trip, I went to work for about 9 months, did a little trip around Europe visiting friends and then headed back to Central America. Some of my favourite countries on the "big trip" had been Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras. I had spent 2 months diving on the island of Utila in Honduras and got my divemaster certificate. So in 1998 I was back there for about 5 months, combined with some travels around Guatemala and southern Mexico. And I decided that the next step would be the PADI Instructor course. After a few months work in England, back to Honduras right after the Hurricane Mitch disaster. Got my PADI scuba instructor rating in December 1998 and stayed nearly a year in Utila as an instructor. I loved Utila, people there are great and I nearly stayed forever, but the travel bug was still biting. More to see, more to see ...
(above) Just chillin' at Water Caye, Utila
I'd not been anywhere in Southeast Asia before, although it was the number one region for backpackers thanks to Lonely Planet. Some other dive instructors I knew recommended Thailand. A little reading and it seemed that the Similan Islands was the best place to dive, and Phuket was home to most of the dive shops. So at the end of 1999 I arrived from Honduras in Phuket with a backpack, a bag of dive gear and not much money! Got some work easily enough, but it dried up after a couple of months and by January 2000, living in Patong, which I did not like even then, I was thinking of moving on. But, as it often does, something arrived. I got a fixed job on a liveaboard dive boat, and then at the end of high season I met a girl who worked in the office for the same dive company. We've been together ever since, and as you may know, now we have 2 kids and we live in Phuket! I can't say at the time there was any intention to make a home in Phuket, but I never felt like leaving.
(above) Me, my wife, kids and extended Thai family, New Year 2017.
My name is Jamie. This is home, this is life. The Phuket Blog started in 2006. I think a lot of "travel blogs" started about the same time. I wanted to show that there is more to Phuket than the usual tourist attractions, more than just beaches, bars, girls and hotels. I had read too many negative comments on travel websites, mostly it seemed from people who had not really seen much of Phuket. So the blog tends not to mention much about the main beaches, I tried to write about places we visit and places we eat as a family. The blog was part time, as I was working almost full time as manager of Sunrise Divers, a dive shop based at Karon Beach. Kids are growing up fast. The family features a lot on many of the photos on the blog.
Update 2021 - Well, we left Phuket in 2019 and went to England. Now living in York. Not saying we won't be back in Phuket in the future ... I don't like the cold, but it has been good for the kids education, a new life ... and as it turns out, due to the Covid pandemic, probably good to be in the UK with a steady job. Anything tourism related in Phuket has been severely affected and my work at the dive shop would have disappeared. Let's see what the future holds!
Very Best Wishes!
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Online / In Print
Regular Column in The Phuket News
Smile Magazine April 2015 (article about Phuket bloggers)
To Thailand With Love (2 stories)
France 24 - article about the Phuket vegetarian festival
Best of the Phuket Blog
At the end of every year I add a post to the blog which links to the best blog posts from the previous year. There are well over 10 years of these "best of" posts online! We always tried to do new things, there was always something new on the blog as we continued to explore Phuket and the surrounding area. Best way to see what Jamie and family were up to!
Best of the Phuket Blog 2019
Best of the Phuket Blog 2018
Best of the Phuket Blog 2017
Best of the Phuket Blog 2016
Best of the Phuket Blog 2015
Best of the Phuket Blog 2014
Best of the Phuket Blog 2013
Best of the Phuket Blog 2012
Best of the Phuket Blog 2011 (1)
Best of the Phuket Blog 2011 (2)
Best of the Phuket Blog 2010
Best of the Phuket Blog 2009 (1)
Best of the Phuket Blog 2009 (2)
Best of the Phuket Blog 2008
Best of the Phuket Blog 2007