I live in Chiang Mai, Thailand with my wife, Mam, and stepdaughter, Idea. My other children are Gavin, Jay, Robert and Eleanor. I was born in Southport, Lancashire, UK, moved to Leeds to manage pubs and restaurants through my 20s to mid 30s, did part-time athletics coaching, before embarking on my teaching and academic career when I was 38. I spent 10 years as a lecturer/manager in Further Education (Thomas Danby College, Leeds), before my PhD (men in management) transported me to Keele University in 1997.
I first came to Thailand in 2001, fell in love with the country, and made my permanent move here in 2008. I have now travelled all over East and South East Asia, though find Taipei the most amenable of cities after Chiang Mai. Consequently, while I spend most of the year in Thailand, I do ensure regular visits to Taiwan.
My diverse professional identities and interests are reflected in my book topics and range. My tenth book, Gender and Identity, was published in February 2013. This academic text book was preceded in November 2012 by The Relationship Manifesto, a popular, self-help book based on my Relationship Manifesto Podcast Series. My eleventh book, published in 2014, was my first biography – of Ally Taylor. My Dark Side takes the reader into the realms of gender identity confusion, sexual experimentation and, ultimately, personal redemption.
From 1997 to 2015 I was Senior Lecturer in Education and Sociology at Keele University, UK, including for the last six years as Keele’s International Programme Coordinator responsible for establishing and delivering a range of postgraduate courses (MBA, MA, PGCEi and EdD) for international school teachers/managers in Asia and the Middle East.
Since May 2016, the professional role I’ve found most exciting and involving is as Non-Executive Director for Sarjana Education Group (Brunei and Malaysia).
As SEG’s advisor and consultant on all educational and leadership matters pertaining to their five schools (3500 students) I not only have the opportunity to contribute to the group’s high quality programme but also its business development across South East Asia. It is owing to many years experience of education management and leadership (international schools, colleges and universities) that I now offer professional and consultancy advice to private schools in Asia.
Life is more than just work. Or it should be. I long ago learned that balance is the key to contentment and to physical and mental well-being: the balance of work, rest and play. For me, that balance has been achieved largely through Buddhism. In early 2004 I ordained for a brief period as a Buddhist monk in northern Thailand. I have since followed the Buddhist path, albeit in my own style. I meditate most days and through this discovered that only with a quiet mind can I truly be awake.
I have been a regular runner since my early 30s but a dodgy hip now means I cycle rather than run. I also enjoy pushing weights in my local gym. I find writing therapeutic which is one reason for my blogging.
Finally, I often get asked ‘Why do I live in Thailand?’. No simple answer. It just suits me. But the culture, people, weather, and low living cost all factor. Chiang Mai is just the best city in Asia. I also appreciate the relative freedom of being a Westerner in Asia, though I long ago divested myself of the Asian Mystique. That said, while I am pretty much integrated into Asia I am not assimilated. I accept that I will always be an Englishman abroad.