I feel bad. I sort of just left this blog hanging. I’ve done that with previous blogs as well. I think blogging for me is a means to document a segment in my life, and when that segment comes to a close, or I make a big change, my blogs sort of fizzle and fade. But I feel like I owe it to the experience, one which I know I didn’t document as well as I should have, and to readers to close this chapter, even a year later. These thoughts might seem sort of random, for which I apologize, but I hope they offer some insight into what Thailand meant to me.
At the last post, I was about to embark on a solo month-long journey to all the places I wanted to see in-country. And I didn’t die, if you thought that’s what happened because I stopped posting. My month of travel involved staying in cinder block huts at a meditation retreat in Koh Phangan (for free!), to staying in 5-star luxury hotels in BKK (thanks hotwire.com), hostels in BKK (where the drinking games and close quarters make new friends), and almost having no place to stay at all in Chiang Mai (booking.com, you suck, I ended up here). I partied at the Uber Thailand launch party at one of the most popular clubs in BKK one night, and drank cheap Thai beer around a plastic table another. I found myself having a “pillow bar” and the comfiest bed at the Dusit Thani to hoping the sheets were at least semi-clean at dodgy establishments. These are the extremes you will experience in Thailand if you live here. Nothing is off limits…you might find yourself among Bangkok elite one moment, and live a life of poverty the next. You’ll also experience both emotional ends of the spectrum. Thailand has a way of knocking you down one moment, but picking you back up the next. But as they say, nothing worthwhile ever comes easy. And Thailand was SO INCREDIBLY worthwhile.
So, it’s coming upon the year mark where I returned home from the land of organized chaos, happy and ready for some stability, feeling as though I had “done that thing” that I “needed to do” in order to figure out who I was and who I wanted to become. But I learned along the way, in the past year I guess, that, for me, life is life – we continue living once we experience blissfully happy moments and life-changing circumstances. And we never really know who we want to become, we’re constantly reinventing ourselves and THAT IS OKAY. We continue living, sometimes confused, sometimes questioning, but other times confident and proud…it’s part of life and if you think you’re the only one going through these phases, you aren’t. But what’s important is that you live life in the moment, seeing frustration as a good sign that you’re living, experiencing, growing.
Going abroad (and more specifically, to Thailand) is life-changing in the sense that you will learn things about yourself, others and obtain a variety of skills you can carry with you along your path in life. You’ll learn to observe and become a better listener, to be patient, to control your emotions, to be more grateful, and most importantly, see beauty in ordinary circumstances (like the one time I communicated I needed a pair of pants hemmed without any verbal communication…so beautiful!).
So here I am, still growing, still taking on this lovely thing called life! I have a job, it pays the bills, and that is enough to be proud of. I live in the heart of DC, and there’s so much to do and experience…I love it. My job, is a desk job, and yes I long and dream of adventures, but for now I feel this is where I’m supposed to be. Our jobs don’t define us (although, to a lot of people they do); I really believe how we approach and appreciate life and treat others is so much more important, if we are to be defined. When we say “I still haven’t found out what I want to do with my life…” in regards to a career, we’re demeaning ourselves. At least that’s how I see it. We are so much more than our careers.
I miss Thailand everyday, although I know we tend to see past experiences through a rose colored lens. I wasn’t always happy there, in fact, I had a lot of moments where I seriously questioned my sanity. But I also had blissfully happy moments – feelings I can only compare to falling in love. I joke with one of my friends, who also went to Thailand, that it’s a country where in order to survive you’ve got to form a relationship with it. It might be rough, and it might suck, but if you really give it your all, you’ll learn a lot. And a year later, I’m ready for another adventure, but I always believe adventures are better experienced when you have funds to do the experiencing. So maybe in another year or two, I’ll be headed off again! Who knows. We get one life. So I want to make the most of it.