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. Finally, my latest book, published November 2019, is Toxic Masculinity: curing the virus, making men smarter, healthier, safer. Of all the books I’ve written, this is one closest to my heart. It explains how we can resolve one of the biggest challenges facing humankind: traditional masculine values and behaviours, otherwise known as ‘toxic masculinity’. Fortunately, there are other non-toxic masculinities out there and this book names them and explains how they function.
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.
Aside from now writing my 13th book, I am very active as a lead writer for Educational Digest International (EDDi). EDDi launched in September 2019 and is a fortnightly publication providing a succinct and accessible digest of the latest educational research. Since 2016, I have provided management consultancy services to a number of international schools across East and South East Asia. A specialism of mine is gender awareness raising for staff and students.
Finally, for a number of years now I have provided ‘Expert Guidance’ on gender and related global social trends to the BBC, media companies, and international marketing companies such as Flamingo Group and Crowd DNA.
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 and still manage to do two or three good runs every week. I also enjoy pushing weights in my local gym and cycling the hills of Chiang Mai. I find writing therapeutic which probably explains why I’ve now answered close to 10,000 questions on quora.com!
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.