From Paradise to Poland
It is now about a month since I came back to Poland from Thailand. As I meet many of my Polish friends now, they all seem to ask me one question at the start: 'How are you able to live here now after coming back from paradise? You must be sad and depressed!' Well, this is definitely not how I feel.
First of all, after 10 years of being professional poker player, I have been travelling a lot. I have seen many different places, some of them really beautiful and exotic. Do I travel because I do not like the place where I live and love it a lot more anywhere else? Of course not! I travel, because, thanks to poker, I CAN.
I love finding new places, I also have some favourites where I always like to come back (like Barcelona or Miami). I have never been a type of person who starts to complain on the first day away just because of the fact that he loves it there, but is sad because he has to leave in a week. The key is to enjoy life everywhere. It doesn't matter if it is the beautiful Bahamas or regular day in your hometown.
Because of all my travels, or maybe because of my character, I also adapt really, really fast. My recent stay in Thailand was my first time ever in Asia. I arrived day before my friends, rented a car, and checked in in the hotel. One hour later, I was already shopping for regular groceries and eating dinner just as I would do anywhere else in the world. The next day, I drove a little bit around the neighbourhood (they drive on the wrong side of the road, but come on - it's not a big deal!) and then picked up my friends at the airport. I already felt like I was there for several weeks!
Anywhere I go, I never walk around with my big camera on my waist, map in hand, and looking around with eyes wide open. I like to spend the time there as I would be one of the locals. Sure, I sightsee and go to famous places. I take pictures. I also like long walks around where I am staying. But most of the time, I just try to feel like I would be living there.
This, however, was the first time I was away from my country for almost one full year. Luckily, for poker player, it's not much of a change - you need to setup your apartment (did I mention that even back in Poland I change my apartment on average every 1-2 years? One place is boring!), then your workspace, and then you good to go. That's the big change for someone accustomed to living in Europe, or maybe I should say - in the big city. Phuket is a great tourist place, but some of the things you need for regular living are more difficult to get than I am used to. Thai people are also very friendly and happy to help, but sometimes they either don't speak enough English to understand our needs. Sometimes the things we ask for are something strange for them. So, it just took a little more time and gasoline to get everything ready.
We were also lucky/unlucky in terms of getting good internet connection. On one hand, we had a solid, average connection at the start, so we were good to go on the first day. It was not enough for a longer stay. So we found a nice offer of really fast and actually cheap internet, but... we had to wait three weeks for the installation. Some other things were annoying: the pool guy has suddenly stopped showing up, there were many water shortages, or we had to ask the owner many times to send someone to repair something minor in the house. But this, I think, could easily happen anywhere. In Thailand, it seems like people are so happy that they prefer to work a little bit slower than Europeans and enjoy life more.
But mostly you don't care about those minor problems, because you have beautiful beaches, islands and other nice places literally just around the corner. Three minutes walk from our house we had an incredible resort with great view and infiniti pool. I loved coming there for a fruit shake just after the breakfast! And if you feel like you need a break from work, you just take a couple of friends and go to paradise-like Phi Phi Island, swim around one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, snorkel some, and then drink drinks from the bucket in the evening on the beach watching fireworks. Then you can go back to grind on the next day!
This obviously cannot happen in my hometown of Warsaw. I could drive few hours to get to the sea or jump into a plane and go to Barcelona, but it is much different when you can do it on the whim and in no time at all. But there are other things that I prefer more in my city. Everything is more accessible and easier to get. Just one call and the next day, exactly at the hour you requested, there is a guy showing up installing your high-speed internet and HDTV. Just one trip to megastore, and you get everything you need for your apartment.
And did I mention that, after all, I love my home city of Warsaw and I'm really enjoying my time here?
So, basically, it is this:
One is great, but the other has it's upsides too. So why would I feel depressed going back from one place to other? Feeling sad and down is -EV!