When I first decided to come to Thailand, traveling wasn’t a priority.
I came to Thailand because I’ve always been interested in living abroad for a time and I had recently developed a interest in education.
Sure, I guess I figured I would occasionally go on trips and I had talked with blogger friends who live a reasonable distance from Thailand about potentially visiting them.
That said, I never considered that traveling would ever become a part of my identity.
Than again, there’s so much about Thailand that I never considered would happen–the amazing, life-long friends I’d meet in my TESOL course…how deeply I care about my students and how badly I want them to succeed…how in love I became with this country in such a short amount of time…how I sometimes think about how I’m twenty-two years old and I live and work in the Bangkok Metropolitan Area and holy man, this is the amazing, post-college life I have created for myself. No, I never considered any of that. How could I? When I signed myself up to move to Thailand, I knew I’d learn a lot in the process–but didn’t realize how fundamentally it would change me.
As I move on with my life here, as I become more aware of why I’m here and what I hope to accomplish as an expat, I’m realizing more and more that I do identify a a traveler.
To be a traveler requires a whole different mindset. To be a traveler requires less of a concentration on material goods and more on living and breathing and experiencing. To be a traveler requires an understanding that money is necessary to get from place to place–and that a lot less of it is needed than one might think.
As I look ahead to my two month semester break in March and April, I’m realizing that if I want to successfully travel to different places and see things and be present in this beautiful world, I have to fundamentally change the way I see myself in this world. Making plans is only one part of that journey. To be a traveler means an open and accepting mind. An understanding that we live in an utterly and completely beautiful world and we have one life to make the most of that beauty. It requires a desire to learn and grow and change along the way. It requires an openness to vulnerability and last minute change of plans and unforgettable experiences that are at your fingertips if you just allow them .
I’m realizing more and more everyday that I am a traveler. And that the first step to being a traveler is to just be.