"My interests are constantly evolving, and there are a great many things I'm passionate about, from sustainability and the environment, to literature and history, music, art and design, as well as, of course, as travel."
You have an unusual family namewhat's the origin? And how do you pronounce it?
Bu-zu-teal - it's Maltese! My family, on my father's side, is from the beautiful Mediterranean island, where the people are among the most hospitable in the world.
How long in Thailand?
I've possibly been in Thailand too long, but I do love it here, and it's almost impossible to quit! Bangkok makes such a great base, from which to travel. Life is easy to adjust to here, and Thai people are truly welcoming. Making friends is a painless process, which a constant influx of fresh blood, and there's so much to do and see, in this constantly evolving country.
I've witnessed so much change. I'd even go so far as to say that coming to Thailand was probably one of the single, unexpectedly best decisions I've ever made. My life here has unfolded in such an unimaginably pleasurable way, despite whatever challenges have come along.
Ageless! My metabolic age is apparently 22, according to a recent body
In the UK, and grew up in London, before moving to the Midlands for 6th form college, and then Manchester, Germany, France and Thailand for University.
Trilingual Bachelor's in Languages, Literature & Linguistics, followed by a bilingual Master's in European/ International Business, which is what brought me to Thailand in the first place. I was part of an exchange programme, joining an EMBA course, loved the sunshine and foot massages, and stayed! I tried to leave a few times, but it never stuck. Thailand had its wonderful, tropical hooks in me, and never let go. I acclimatised to Thailand really quickly, spending my spare time at university here, racing around on rollerblades and playing squash for hours in enclosed, non-air-conditioned courts, and living in a tiny room with just a fan to keep cool. My university accommodation left a lot to be desired!
I also found I couldn't do winter anymore: 4-6 days of snowboarding is plenty, before I need the sun on my skin again.
First job: While in university I was teaching online English classes for companies, in order to pay for my diving certifications and trips to the beach. However, fresh out of university, I started with TOG (Thai Optical Group), which is Thailand's largest manufacturer of optical lenses, as a Marketing Manager. The company started off as a family business, and is now listed on the SET - I'm happy to have been part of their history. The founding family is absolutely lovely
Profession: I'm a communications consultant and a freelance writer. I generally specialise in all things travel, hospitality, wellness, luxury, architecture, art and design oriented. You can find me on IG @ rollergirlnikki and www.nikkibusuttil.com
My German and French, on the other hand, are fluent, despite the fact that I've had little opportunity to speak them in the last couple of years. Although, I do make sure to read French and German literature still, and regularly watch movies or series in both languages, to maintain my fluency
Most memorable person or persons you've met here? There have been far too many to mention! Thailand has always been a playground for the rich and famous, the quirky and the quiet, the brazen and the beautiful. I've crossed paths with countless numbers of people, across the entire spectrum, each with tales to tell. Yet, as my friends know, I'm a vault of information - I remember, so that they feel at liberty to forget. Some day, I'll write my memoires, but I'll be sure to make subtle changes to names.
Who do you admire? Anyone who has faced life's harsh adversities, and emerged on the other side of them with a smile.
How do you relax / exercise Sport is both my exercise and my meditation. It's simultaneously how I push myself and how I relax. I'm a rock climber, an extreme sports fan, a martial artist, a distance runner, an urban cyclist, an avid open water diver, a modest wakeboarder and snowboarder, and enjoy practising both power and yin yoga, among other pursuits.
"Sport is both my exercise and my meditation. It's simultaneously how push myself and how I relax."
Book or Netflix? Given my background, I should say reading, but to be honest, I love both. I adore classic and contemporary literature and poetry; I also write poetry myself, which you can find on my website. Yet, I'm prone to marathoning series and movies, when I can't sleep, which, as a lifelong insomniac, is frequently! I have more hours in the day than most, which affords me the luxury of ample time for both.
Beer or wine? I don't drink, or smoke for that matter, by choice - hence my youthful metabolic age! - my lifestyle isn't conducive to either.
What's your greatest passion in life? My interests are constantly evolvingand there are a great many things I'm passionate about, from sustainability and the environment, to literature and history, music, art and design, as well as, of course, as travel.
Thailand is a world-class rock climber's paradisel So, gun to my head, my main passion, currently, would have to be rock climbing, with which I'm more than a littleobsessed, especially in the last few years. However, I do look forward to racking up my airmiles again soon, and recommencing my globetrotting endeavours, complete with climbing and dive gear.
Preferred Thailand weekend getaway? For a long weekend, it would have to be climbing down south in Railay and Tonsai, in Krabi. The sunrises, sunsets and rocks never get old there. I jump on a longtail boat at Ao Nammao pier, and a perma-grin is pasted across my face, from then on. You don't even have to be a climber to enjoy these places, as you can kayak, SUP, islandhop, beach-comb, spa, swim and hike, to your heart's content.
Do you have a mixed circle of friends - Thais and foreigners?
The short answer is yes. I'm fortunate enough to have numerous different circles of friends of all nationalities, both here in Thailand and around the globe. I've always been able to float between different spheres of people, ever since I was a child. I find everyone interesting, which is probably the journalist in me. With some people, you just have to scratch a little deeper below the surface to find a connection.
If you were the Governor of Bangkok for a month, what would be your first priority, in terms of changes? A few things spring to mind... I'd ban the construction of new condos and office buildings, and only allow green spaces to be expanded and protected, for a start! I'd also ensure that the automated countdown on traffic lights, throughout the entire metropolis, remained turned on, at all times.
Pollution and traffic are arguably seen as the worst parts of Bangkok life, so I'd likely begin there. However, I can't imagine how difficult governing a city like Bangkok would be - not an enviable task, I'm sure!
When I first arrived in Thailand, I only ever intended to be here for six months, but as John Lennon said: "Life is what happens, when you're busy making plans."
Thai vs Western vs Japanese food - which wins for you? Since the pandemic, and having spent so much time at home then, my dining habits have changed dramatically - I eat/cook at home much more often now, and tend to only eat once or twice a day - no snacking. I've always eaten pretty cleanly, paying attention to labels and ingredients, and know that the best way to ensure what you're eating is unprocessed and healthy is to prepare it yourself.
However, for the last nine months or so, I've been about 95% plant-based, and as unprocessed as possible. These days, the only animal products I eat are eggs, for now. Thai food is amazing, but it's not ideally suited to this style of eating, as I don't do fake meat or soy products either.
How much longer in Thailand? What's next? I'm constantly on the no-plan plan, and highly recommend it, unless you have kids and tons of other adulting responsibilities! I like to take things as they come, and let the universe lead me where it thinks I need to be. If something doesn't suit me, then I change course. When I first arrived in Thailand, I only ever intended to be here for six months, but as John Lennon said: "Life is what happens, when you're busy making plans." So I prefer having options, rather than concrete plans.