Ten months ago I wrote about moving to Thailand, quitting my job, selling all my stuff and seeing where the journey takes me.
Did it go as planned? Nope. I missed my flight to Europe and ended up in Bangkok a week earlier than expected. I didn’t get a job teaching English either. I did however work on my writing and published my first poetry book. I worked on my body, learned how to do partner acrobatics, learned how to slack line, and learned how to hula hoop. I also learned so much about myself and the world in the process.
Now I am living in Bali and looking back at what brought me to South East Asia in the first place.
Below is the rambling article that details how I started on this journey of a lifetime.
Stop trying to control.
Let go of fixed plans and concepts,
and the world will govern itself.
Therefore the wise sage says :
I take no action and people are reformed.
I enjoy peace and people become honest.
I do nothing and people become rich.
If I keep from imposing on people,
they become themselves.
From : 57th Verse – Tao Te Ching
Today, I confessed my love to a golden haired beauty, whose face is framed by rays of the sun and has a voice of an angel. I of course did it in my own style.
‘You are an adorable artist! If I didn’t want to run off and explore the world, I’d try to marry you and make beautiful music & art with you. But since I am running off. Have yourself an awesome weekend! Keep on being amazing!’
Yesterday, I took the first step in running off to explore the world. My friend sent me a link in the morning detailing a pricing error on flights from NYC to Milan then Prague to Bangkok. I decided this was the opportunity the universe was giving me to solidify my exit plan from San Diego. So I booked a one way flight to Bangkok, with a week layover in Europe, and it only cost me $177. I will arrive in Thailand right before the start of a new school semester, so I can try and get a teaching job.
How the heck did I get to this point?
First it must be known that the number one thing on my bucket list is to step foot into every country in the world. This bucket list item will likely take a whole lifetime to accomplish, but it’s even slower living a comfortable life in paradise.
Second, I have had the opportunity to speak to a lot of different people at all different levels of their career during my tenure in corporate America. The most common advice or maybe the only advice I felt like listening to, was to travel, be crazy, see the world and to not worry about life too much. The opportunity to do this dwindles as you get older, have kids, a mortgage and a job needing you to be there to support the other parts of your life.
Third, I just spent two weeks in Thailand and fell in love. I met amazing people, fell in love with the locals, and realized I needed to spend much more time there. I have no kids, no mortgage, and I am single. I think my subconscious had a thing to do with keeping me single this long, it knew that relationships anchor us to where we are, making it much harder to leave.
I recently received a compliment from my grandma, she matter of factly said to me. “You’re a wanderer.” Well I re-framed it as a compliment, she had the tone of concern, as her own son is a wanderer, but wandered into the wrong crowd and never wandered out. My biological father has spent his adulthood in and out of prison as a result.
Wanderlust is something we are infected with. It makes us strive to experience more. Pictures of great places, artifacts and cities are not enough to satiate us. We understand that there is more than meets the eye. A picture is worth a thousand words, but cannot accurately portray the emotion of being in the moment, seeing it with your own eyes. A picture is the perspective of one person, I desire to experience it from my own perspective.
The greatest side benefit of buying that plane ticket? It set a deadline to my time here in San Diego. I have spent 26 years here, the past couple years I’ve needed to travel somewhere at least once a month to keep me sane, otherwise the monotony would set in and I would itch to quit it all and go live on the streets just for a change of scenery. I now have five months to tie up all my loose ends. I need to clear out my closet, sell musical equipment, sell my car. All I can have left is a backpack full of clothes and gear.
The deadline has also given me a boost to my drive in life. I haven’t felt this since I was a teenager scheming on ways to move out from my parents house, finally achieving that when I was eighteen and a half. Now the drive is to cleanup my life so that the move is as painless as possible. This means repairing relationships, getting rid of 98% of my possessions, learning how to teach english as a foreign language, and actually working on my own personal projects that were sitting on the sidelines as I worked my day job and partied in my free time.
Time to open a beer, relax and think about my next move.
One bourbon, One scotch, One beer….
The desire to move abroad has been growing for awhile, it’s a lot easier to travel to countries you are near. I have other states I can easily go to, and Mexico, but I’ve done those. Putting myself in the heart of Southeast Asia will grant me the opportunity to easily travel to Cambodia, Laos, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar, India, etc.
The last thing holding me in San Diego was my dog. My parents gave him to me when they went to Japan three years ago. My dad -step-dad adopted me- has retired and they have returned to their home here in San Diego. Now I get to give the dog back. Where shall I move to? When?
I spent two weeks in Thailand, living the good life, getting daily massages, partying at night, eating amazing food, meeting amazing people. I fell in love, and knew I had to spend some serious time in and around this country. I met some English teachers and they sold me on the idea of teaching English. I could teach, work on my writing, get daily massages, and travel during school breaks. How could one not be sold?
Upon returning home I had to figure out when I was going to go. I still had a few things I was attached to in this part of the world that were coming up. My parents were returning and I want to spend some quality time with them. Burning man is coming up in August and I need to go Home this year before wandering to the other side of the world. I want to visit Baja in Sept. I have a friend’s wedding to attend early October. Youtopia starts on my 27th birthday this year. Then I am free.
So I was looking at late October / early November as my time frame to go to Thailand. Then I started inquiring when a teaching job could start. Turns out a new semester begins in Early November. How perfect?! Just the timing I was looking for. Yesterday, my friend Dan sends me a link about this pricing error on Priceline, that was specific to Oct/ Nov flights. I got on right away and I knew what I wanted. New York City to Milan, Italy. One week in Europe, then Prague, Czech Republic to Bangkok, Thailand. I will be in Thailand 7am Oct 31st. How could the timing not be more perfect?! Only cost me $177. Setting a deadline on my time in San Diego. I also realized it set a deadline to my job. This was oddly freeing, I am now working harder and longer hours, because I know there is an end, and I like the overtime pay. I now have something to work towards and save for.
Have I mentioned the drive it has given me? I use to subtly think I always had plenty of time. I didn’t need to clean up my life and get things in order, they would still be there tomorrow. Now I have a finite amount of tomorrows here in San Diego. I have to take care of things today, so I may be a little bit less burdened tomorrow. I have to get rid of most of my possessions, so that I can easily travel and find my new spot. I’m only looking to have a backpack with clothes and gear that I want. A level of living my grandfather I’m sure would be proud of, as he would famously say ‘You don’t need anything you can’t fit in your sea bag.’ He wasn’t one of much attachment. After grandma passed we were worried he might be lonely. His response, ‘Why would I be lonely? I now get to spend time with the one I love most. Myself!’ hah, I love that old kook.
Cheers to the journey! There is always, more than meets the eye.