By Kelly Iverson
FOR Danielle Norton, a 26-year-old speech and language pathologist based in Bangkok, it all started with a pair of very itchy feet after travelling intermittently for about two years in 2014.
“I wanted to keep travelling and exploring new countries, but I love my job and wanted to keep building my professional experience,” Danielle said.
With a love for both her profession and travelling,
Danielle decided to apply for jobs overseas. Soon
afterward, she found a job in Pattaya and fearlessly up and moved from her lovely, countryside home in County Derry, Ireland to the Land of Smiles in January 2016. It has been almost two years since she made the life-changing move, and so far, things are looking up.
“Moving to Thailand is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” Danielle said.
Danielle has since relocated to the capital where she works at a multidisciplinary centre in Phra Khanong.
At the Acorns to Oaks Centre (ATOC), she works with children facing a range of communication difficulties. In addition to working with kids, Danielle works alongside professional psychologists, an education consultant, a physiotherapist and occupational therapists.
“I feel very fortunate to be part of such a great team,” Danielle said.
Though she has adapted to the big city and certainly prefers to reside in the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, Pattaya will always have a special place in Danielle’s heart as it was her first home outside of Ireland. Being within a short drive of stunning places like Koh Samet, Bang Saray and Koh Larn were certainly an added bonus, as well.
While Bangkok is certainly a rip-roaring city, her job is almost just as exhilarating. No two days are the same, just as no two children Danielle works with are the same.
“They (the kids) definitely keep me on my toes,” Danielle said. “Every new case is a new challenge in some way, and I am continually learning and growing professionally.”
When Danielle is not working, she takes to one of Bangkok’s many gyms and works out three to four times a week. She also travels both in and outside of the country whenever she has time off and enjoys a ladies’ night or two with her girlfriends.
“We have a mix of nationalities in our friend group here, from German to American to Thai, just to name a few,” Danielle said. “And a mix of colloquial language and accents to go with it, so we can get lost in translation sometimes! These close friendships have definitely contributed to my love for Bangkok and having great people to share this experience with makes it a bit easier to live so far away from my family. They have helped Bangkok become ‘home.”
Though Bangkok has started to feel like home, Danielle is not ready to settle just yet. The adventurer in her seemingly never sleeps, and she has plans to travel around Central and South America and hopes to find some work along the way in the next year or two. Until then, she will continue to reside in and enjoy the capital.
“I would like to continue living, working abroad and travelling for at least another few years,” Danielle said. “I think I would like to move back to Ireland eventually, but again, I am keeping a very open mind about my future. I would definitely like to open my own multidisciplinary therapy centre somewhere for sure – that is the long-term ambition.”
For anyone looking to move to Bangkok, Danielle has but a few words of advice.
“Do it, but be prepared to fall in love with it and become a laid-back, patient and flexible person in the process.”