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.
I’m not physically lost. I know exactly were I am. I could point it out exactly on a map. As I write this (being the dutiful blogger that I am and getting this done ahead of time), I’m currently physically sitting in my apartment in Central Thailand. By the time this post goes live, I’ll be sitting on a beach somewhere down south, perhaps a little hungover from a too exciting New Years Eve.
So no, I’m not physically lost. Rather, I feel mentally lost…
A ‘who am I and what do I aim to do with my life and I really have no fucking clue how to navigate this world that I’m in’ lost.
I’m feeling rather calm about the whole ordeal. No need to freak out here. Just accepting these feelings as they come, ya know?
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The past few months have been a whirlwind for me. I’ve had very little time to process everything that has happened. Now, finally, I feel like I’m settling into my town. I feel comfortable here. I know where things are; though the language barrier is continuing to be difficult, I’m picking up on more Thai and trying my best to utilize that in conversation. After spending the last couple months here drawing inward and trying to make sense of my place here, I’m finally eager to go out and meet and develop relationships with Thai people.
I’m so happy to be here and can’t imagine living anywhere else right now. Though there are certain aspects of home that I miss, I don’t crave them. I don’t desire to have them in my life.
Thailand is where I need to be right now. This I know with confidence.
Processing everything that has happened in the last two weeks.
Trying to understand everything that has happened from the good, the not so good (and yes, there has been some of that), and the just plain stressful (and perhaps there has been a bit too much of that).
I’ve been thinking a lot, as I do…and I’ve come to this perhaps profound(?) realization:
I am not in Thailand.
Okay, yes, physically, if you pin point my location on a map, I am currently located in Northern Thailand in the city of Chiang Mai. Currently, you will find me writing up this blog post at the most Western ass coffee shop possibly in the whole city, if not the whole province (it’s almost obnoxiously cutesy and hipster, grossly overpriced, an expats haven…and man does it feel like home).
Afraid of everything–anything that was different, anything outside my comfort zone, new people and ideas.
Perhaps it came from my own social anxiety and perhaps there was something more….but if there’s anything, I’m a pro at being uncomfortable.
I always felt like there was something inherently different about myself. Not in the “you’re special” type of way but more that I didn’t connect with anyone. I still struggle to build meaningful relationships with people today.
I’ve always been exceptionally independent, but for some reason, growing up, I thought that was weird. I thought being an introvert was weird.
I couldn’t accept myself so I looked for someone else to latch on to.
Enter sexually and emotionally abusive ex-boyfriend of almost two years.
I had never been in a relationship before and I felt like I needed one more than anything in the world. I had my first kiss at 18, and I was kind of ashamed of that. I desired a reationship in high school and there were some potential suitors. But I was sooooo shy it just never happened.
So, when I saw ex-boyfriend in my orientation group at college in the fall of 2011, I decided to pursue him. He was attractive. Quiet. But I was curious.
I’m not one who believes everything happens for a reason.
Life is too sporadic, too uncertain for every single thing in this life to happen for a specific reason.
Life just happens. We make meaning out of what happens. What happens affects us whether for better or for worse. But I don’t believe there’s any rhyme or reason behind it. One small second, change of plan, different action could have changed something, everything. But it didn’t…and life goes on.
I also believe that the best things in life happen when we aren’t looking.
So, around four months ago when I found a job posting on Indeed.com for an espresso bar barista at a gas station situated in the suburb over from where I live, I wasn’t looking for a life changing experience. I was simply looking for something to keep me busy between graduating from college in May and heading off on my next big adventure as an English teacher in Thailand
in September. A full time job where I could earn enough money to be able to pay for all my Thailand travel expenses without having to worry too much about finances, while spending the Continue reading “An Ode to the Gas Station I Called Home this Summer”
This is just me reaffirming what I already know–September is here and that means Thailand is happening soon.
I have three weeks to get my shit together and prepare for this wild and crazy adventure of mine.
I am so excited to explore this [what I’ve heard is] beautiful country. I am so excited to ACTUALLY USE MY ENGLISH DEGREE [something I thought I’d never actually do in an actual job] while exploring the field of education in a classroom setting. I’m excited to learn and grow and further become that person I’m striving to be. I’m excited to get outside my comfort zone…but I’m also scared. And oh boy, am I not prepared. But as much as I buy and as much as I pack…I don’t think I’ll ever truly be prepared. This is just something I gotta do. Dive into head first without looking back.
Scare yourself. Allow yourself to be uncomfortable. You just might will thank yourself later.
For a lot of reasons, really. I don’t think I can properly explain it all entirely.
I’m feeling vulnerable and I’m going to tell you about it because I hate pretending I’m okay when I’m not and I think, in general, humans are too apt to cover up less-than-cheerful feelings. I think, in general, humans are too afraid to really feel.
Well, I’m feeling a lot right now and I’m not sure I can articulate all of those feels because their
pretty damn complex, but I’m going to make an effort because I’m a writer and this is how I do.
I’m feeling vulnerable because I spent the last hour of work today wiping counters that didn’t need to be wiped and washing dishes that didn’t need to be washed. I didn’t get a single order Continue reading “Vulnerability”
This weird thing has been happening to me this summer.
This summer living with my parents in my hometown in the suburbs of Minneapolis and St. Paul. “The Cities,” as us locals call them. You don’t just go to Minneapolis or St. Paul when you make a visit to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan area–you go to “The Cities.”
“The Cities,” as if one can’t exist like they other. As if they depend on each other for a mutual and comfortable existence.
We both learned a lot from our relationship, that’s for sure, and you have no idea how much I’ve grown. I’m at a point in my life where I can forgive you. I do forgive you. Of course, that doesn’t justify anything that happened between us, anything you did to me. That said, I also recognize how twisted and unhealthy our relationship was and how it drove us both to act insensitively and, often times, quite selfishly. I know I was incredibly selfish throughout much of our time together…