“After my first year of teaching, in Chiang Mai, I wasn’t really too adventurous in terms of what countries I said I was going to move to.”
Sitting across from me is Edward Mceachran, 47, who has joined me to talk about his bold decision.
“I decided to tell people I was going to apply to teach in Cambodia, before eventually signing on for another year in Thailand. Over the next few years, I grew in confidence. Whilst always eventually staying in Thailand, I intimated to colleagues that Laos might be the place for me, or maybe even Japan or Korea.”
Mceachran fingers the handle of his coffee cup wistfully as he fondly remembers his journey of indecision.
“By the late 2000s I was basically done with most of Asia,” he tells me, “It didn’t have any more to offer in terms of places I could say I was going to go to. Already having proven my reputation I ventured further afield and claimed that I would be tempted by Uruguay or Chile. I even bought a book on how to learn Spanish!”
He laughs and thumps the table as he re-tells this conquest.
“But of course, I only opened it a handful of times. At this stage in my career, I’ve almost done it all. Europe, the South Pacific, Africa… you name almost any country, I’ve claimed I’m going to apply for a job there.”
There’s a certain steel in Edward’s eyes now as he leans forward. A passion.
“I feel I owe it to myself to make this one final adventure. Turkmenistan just feels like the ultimate place to tell everyone I’m going to go to, without ever actually doing anything about it.”
When asked whether he thinks this might be the last stop on his globe-circling catalogue of disappointing inaction, a smile flickers at the corner of his mouth.
“When you’ve done it all,” he says, a glint in his eye, “all that remains is to tell people you’re probably going to stay in Thailand.”