The Phoenix Men are a fellowship that offers camaraderie and adventure to heartbroken, lonely or ageing men in the land of smiles…

“Every man can transform his world from one of LONELINESS, HEARTACHE or AGEING to one of excitement and adventure.”

About Phoenix Men

How and Why Phoenix Men Came into Being

If you are reading this page then you are probably feeling a little somber either through loneliness, divorce, separation or old age, whatever your reason I hope you can find a little solace within the pages of this website.

I myself went through all the negative emotions that you can imagine possible during my own separation and eventual divorce after a seventeen-year relationship. There had been problems near the end, but I can honestly say that I did not see the marriage ending and I certainly never, in a million years, thought it would all end in divorce.

Where I am now compared to where I was a few years ago is a million miles apart (literally). My bitterness, anger and confusion have been replaced with a sense of relief that it’s all over and that I came through it. I no longer blame anyone and accept that some people are just not meant to be together forever. I was blessed with great kids from my marriage who I really got to know as individuals during my divorce and time living alone. It’s funny really as during a divorce you get to find out who your real friends are, even amongst your children. If you have children, then without a doubt you will come to experience this yourself over the coming months and years.

I was kind of sheltered from the world throughout my seventeen-year marriage as I was way too pre-occupied with my children, my wife, my family duties and my business to take any real notice of what was going on outside of my inner sanctum. I lost touch with all the friends I had when I was younger, as they, like me, were now also pre-occupied with family life, work etc. I am sure most readers can probably relate to this!

After my separation, I found myself living alone in a small apartment, most nights spent looking at four walls trying to figure out how it all got to this stage; which I have covered extensively in (Sifting Through the Ashes).

I came to realise very quickly that society, and women especially, had massively changed, in a negative way, from when I was a young man. I got myself out there into the whole dating scene thing and managed to go on a handful of dates. I was raised at a time when women were ladylike and acted as such, and I was raised to treat women with respect and to always demonstrate good manners.

Maybe I was unlucky in my choices or I was looking in the wrong place. Who knows? The women I dated came from various social backgrounds and, on the whole, were extremely arrogant, self-centred and narcissistic. I was now fully immersed into a morally broken world, where emphasis is placed on material wealth, looks, and admiration for celebs and their lifestyles. A world in which I was witnessing more and more men abandoning female company and relinquishing relationships, as they are terrified that anything they say, every behaviour they express, every opinion they make, will be taken as offensive, sexist or predatory. A socially engineered world constantly bombarded with TV shows normalising broken families, emasculated male figures, other topics I won’t mention, as well as the glorification of cheating and betrayal.

My head was spinning as I asked myself what the hell had happened? How had things become so bad? Like I said earlier, I was kind of sheltered from most of what was going on as for the most part of my married life I was too engrossed in my business and family. Obviously, over the years I had read the odd newspaper article or watched something on TV that generated an outburst of disbelief, but now separated and alone with time on my hands I was thrown into a world that I did not recognise. The world I once knew was gone.

I know I could have eventually adapted or lowered my standards, but in the end I had to be true to myself. Somehow, I had to get out. Everyone is built differently – some guys need love and some do not, some guys can live with loneliness and some cannot, some guys never question anything or anyone as they are totally void of any self awareness. But for me to function on all cylinders I needed to be part of something positive and productive; I needed common sense, decency and normality. Did I want to be sitting here shouting at the TV in an effort to put the world to rights? Did I want to be still sitting here old, decrepit, bitter, twisted, and filled with regret and what ifs? NO WAY!

The tipping point came on a freezing, dull, grey morning whilst watching an old guy with walking sticks from my apartment window. He was desperately struggling to get up the road, out of breath with an icy gale blowing in his face, his body disheveled with a lonely, regretful look on his face that said it all. I saw myself in that guy in the years to come and it scared the hell out of me. The trigger had been pulled; I had to go.

I had done my three years alone. No longer was I prepared to let fear lie to me. I had always wanted to backpack around Asia so that very morning I booked a train ticket from the UK to China on the Trans-Siberian Express. I travelled through several European countries until I reached Moscow. I stayed in Moscow for two nights before boarding the Trans-Siberian Express to Beijing.

For six days the train rattled slowly through Siberia and down into Mongolia, on into the Gobi Desert and eventually reached the mountainous region of Inner Mongolia before arriving at Beijing train station. I kept travelling South through China stopping at many cities and towns to stay for a day or two before crossing the Chinese/Vietnam border into Hanoi; the whole journey travelled so far by rail. I then travelled from North Vietnam to the South continually stopping for a day or two at various places en route. From Ho Chi Minh City I jumped on a coach to take me across into Cambodia’s capital, Phom Phen, again staying in each place a day or two. From Phom Pen I boarded a boat heading North West across a huge lake to Siam Reap and visited the amazing Angkor Wat. I then traversed miles of winding roads into Lao until I reached the capital, Vintienne, and from there I then made my way South into Thailand, Bangkok, and ended this part of my journey on Koh Samui island.

I had a one year’s education visa. The plan was to stay on Koh Samui for one year to learn Thai, but I eventually got bored with classrooms and headed back to Cambodia where I stayed a few weeks lugging my backpack around from town to town looking for my next destination. Deep down I hankered after the sanctuary of another age, the chivalry of another time, the comfort and peace of a place where human values, customs and traditions were still alive.

In a taxi ride to the Cambodian/Thai border I came across an article on my phone about Northern Thailand. It all sounded as if it was well worth a visit, so I was off again but this time to explore Northern Thailand.

I went, I saw, and it conquered me. I had finally stumbled upon my Shangri-La. I had found a piece of heaven on earth. A place where I could step back in time, a place that still had a soul, still had a community spirit. A place where neighbours are neighbourly, a place where, if you choose, you can be on your own but not lonely. A place of easy attitudes, a safe environment, guaranteed warmth, a place where you will instantly be welcomed, a place of friendship and comradeship.

A place that has not yet been marred by Western culture, a place that somehow mixes the serene with the exciting, the vivacious with the tranquil, the old with the new. A place where the magic of exotic surroundings combines with a heart-warming feeling and an upbeat pulse that stirs the blood.

Back Home

All in all, I had been away from home for about six or seven months. Eventually, and reluctantly, I had to head back to the UK to deal with personal matters. Could I settle after my adventurous findings? Not on your life. I managed to last six months back in the UK, and in those six months Phoenix Men was born. Born out of the fact that I had to share what I had found with others; guys going through divorce, loneliness or aging. I wanted to show that there was more to life and to convince you to take just a little time out of your situation, step back and see it for what it really is. I want you to experience real friendship and create lasting positive memories. I want you to know that you are not alone and that there is still a place on Earth un-marred by Western culture, a place where normality is the norm.

My children are grown up and doing well. Any issues I had were confronted, accepted or dealt with. I was not running from my past but rather sprinting into my future. I consider myself lucky in the fact that I had the means and the will to go; so I went and the rest, as they say, is history.

Final Note

Maybe I am just showing my age because I am from a different generation; who knows? I do remember my parents rambling on about the good old days and how when they were young the world was a better place and me thinking at the time ‘yeah, yeah, here we go again’ Now I find myself doing it; oh the irony of it all, eh? I know one thing for sure. There is a lot of good in the world happening on a daily basis that we just do not get to hear about; it’s not all doom and gloom. I know from my own experiences that most people are inherently compassionate, caring and good deep down once they unload the affinity they carry for their native environment.

Are you open to new experiences? Are you ready to live and to feel alive?

Join Us

Are you open to new experiences? Are you ready to live and to feel alive?

Join Us