This blog is from 'The World Footballer' organisation and one of its participants on the 'Nomadic Footballer' project.
The Nomadic Footballer project is an exciting new initiative that offers anyone the opportunity to train with a professional football club in alternative destinations, from India, Thailand and the Philippines to Guatemala, Ecuador, Kazakhstan and more.
This is the story of one of our intrepid footballers journeying around the globe. These are real people. And real stories.
Our first Nomadic Footballer has finally arrived on Thai soil. After a 22 hour journey from England, enduring three flights including one stop off in Dubai and one in Bangkok, he has arrived safe and almost sound in Chiang Mai.
He describes his journey so far...
Boarding the flight I was full of excitement and anxieties as to what may lie ahead, in a football sense and cultural sense, this being my first trip to Asia after all.
The first flight from Gatwick to Dubai was going well until the boy in front of me decided to bring up his dinner on himself and those around him. I managed to avoid the immediate impact of the projectile vomit but couldn’t avoid the stench of it for the rest of flight.
Forced to watch a film with a pillow covering my nose and mouth due to the lingering stink of cleaning products and distinctive child sick smell. Arriving at my first stopover, Dubai, I was met with the call to prayer booming across the airport tannoy system, which I politely declined and so to pass the time I found a quiet corner to pray to the Gods of football manager that my struggling Brentford team would stay up this season instead.
A second quick change and a short flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai I came through customs a little dazed and disorientated having lost all concept of time along the way from the UK.
Coming here in hope of gaining a contract and playing professional football you’d expect a pick up fit for a professional footballer, maybe a chartered helicopter or even at the very least a chauffeured limousine.
However, what I was greeted with was Paul from The World Footballer on a 125cc moped. With my large and overpacked suitcase wedged between us we clumsily made our way from the airport into centre of the city on this glorified hairdryer.
I expected to be pulled over at any moment by the police as you certainly would expect back home in the UK, instead we were just another typical sight of ingenuity on the roads around Chiang Mai.
There was even a guy balancing what looked like an entire supermarket’s stock of bottled water on the back of his moped towering 10ft high and wobbling his way down the highway, astonishing!
Pulling up to the Hotel in old town Chiang Mai (to be home for a while) it looked innocuous and a little run down from the outside it was a welcome surprise once I had ventured in.
A temple-like reception area opened out to a magical little garden with sculptures of Buddha, elephants and other sorts of locally crafted wooden carvings.
The smell of frying garlic and spices coming from the kitchen made my stomach rumble and I couldn’t wait to tuck in to some tasty Thai cuisine.
I had a whistle-stop tour later that evening and was immediately impressed by the beauty of the city and the special vibe it had, my football adventure in Thailand was well underway.
Next stop, training with a pro club...
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