The first time I visited Thailand was in December 1996. Since then I’ve returned nearly every year, sometimes for as short as a month or two, or for more than a year. At first Thailand served as a geographical base as I backpacked Asia. Eventually, it became my second home. (My “first home” is still pending.) I’ve witnessed Thailand go from a lesser-visited, very affordable, country that often had large-scale, government toppling protests, to the highly-touristed, not-all-that affordable any longer, country (which still has coups). But with all the friends I’ve made there, especially in Old Lanta Town (on Lanta island, in the south), I can’t imagine that I’ll be away for too long.