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Reflection: March 11, 2012

I wrote this one week and one year ago in a private note on Facebook. Something that I needed to get out of my system, and one of those rants where I can only collect all my thoughts when I’ve properly written everything down. It’s funny to think that I’m in almost exactly the same position as last year, but in reverse.

As people start leaving and goodbyes continue, I’m lonely again, but in a very different way. I feel confident that I have made friends from all around the globe that I can literally pop in on any time and be welcomed with open arms and tears of joy. This time I’m just sad that everyone’s moved on, and the implication that I may never see some of them again.

I’m doing the whole full-time  job search, but for positions in Toronto this time. Related to anything that I find remotely interesting – mostly travel agency related.

I’m questioning my future, what direction it should take and what coming home is going to be like. But I wanted to share this, because I think it’s what everyone goes through when they’ve packed their bags and moved to the other side of the world.

I have to be honest. I don’t know exactly what I’m trying to prove or learn about myself by being here. I thought my life had direction; I’m a published writer with a degree willing to start at the bottom and work my way up. But instead I’m here. Throwing my life on an entirely new path, not because I had no idea what to do with myself, but because I felt like I was given a chance, a sign and I ran with it.

But now that I’m here and I’m going through the motions of job interviews and planning and researching what town I want to live in, I’m asking myself, “is this what I really want?” I should have done the soul search before I said goodbye to everyone, before I applied for the course, before I had even researched all my options.

I was happy at home. I realize that now. As unfulfilled as I might have felt, I finally had a group of friends, three even after new years, which consider me an integral part of their crew. I may have been losing my job, but I hadn’t really tried that hard to find another one.

My biggest challenge in the past two weeks has been spending so much time on my own. I’m not one to be that much in my head. I don’t over think a situation unless I have a strange gut feeling, and I try to take the world at face value, rarely expecting more or less than what I’m given. As much as I love my personal time doing absolutely nothing, quiet walks and my “me dates,” I’ve also realized that I’m mostly a social person, I need to get me out of my own head. I’m a Leo for crying out loud. I’ve learned that for me, home is where friends are. They could be friends for a month, a year or for life, but I need the built in support that people that love and admire you provide. Not having that built in support has been emotionally draining these past two weeks. I fear that something will happen to me and no one would know. The question still hangs in the air: would anybody here even care?

It would be so easy to give up now. To pack my bags, get rid of any excess and charge the next plane ride home to my credit card. However, I do know myself well enough to know that as soon as I got on that plane, I would beat myself up for not sticking it out, for not taking the jobs that are being thrown at me and for caving in to my emotional wreckage. I don’t want to have to live with that regret.

I want to be stronger. I want to be that woman who does things without needing approval, who can go to a movie alone and not feel awkward eating alone and doesn’t need to run her decisions by anyone.

I want to make the right decision, I want to pick the right job, and I want to do what I originally came here for.

Just as I wrote the above self-doubting rant, “Let Go” by Frou Frou came up on my ipod. It’s been randomly showing up recently on shuffle, but the lyrics have this perfect soul-calming quality. It’s like the voice of a friend telling me not to stand on the sidelines waiting for life to happen and that it’s sometimes okay to be an emotional wreck.

“So let go. Jump in. Well whatcha waiting for?
It’s alright ‘cuz there’s beauty in the breakdown.
So let go, just get in, it’s so amazing here.
It’s alright, ‘cuz there’s beauty in the breakdown.”

It reminds me that I’m doing this because I’ve always thought about it, because I didn’t want to have the itchy traveller’s foot for the rest of my life without doing something serious about it now.

The choices I make in the next week are going to shape the next year of my life, yes that’s true. But I don’t have to make the drama out of it that I have been in my head.

I am extremely glad that I’ve taken the last year to do the things I’ve done, to meet the people I have, to teach the most wonderful children in Thailand and that I didn’t cave into fear and pack my bags for the next flight home.

My flight home is now booked and I’ve seriously started the job search / interview process and can only cross my fingers that when I get home I’m not going to feel the same about leaving Thailand as I did when I was trying to get settled. I’m sure that the support of friends that I’ve so dearly missed, and a comfortable atmosphere will mean the difference between despair and irritation, but you never know when that black wave of self doubt can rear it’s ugly head.

Living abroad and the illusion of endless fun

I’ve done it, my friends and family are probably doing it as you read this.

It’s easy to see pictures posted on Facebook or blogs and be insanely jealous of all the fun that someone is having without really thinking that those pictures were one or two  nights out of the past month. It happens when you haven’t seen someone in a while, are just meeting someone new, or if it’s someone that you just aren’t that close with anymore but keep on your friends list so that you can stalk their lives. (We all have at least one, don’t even try to lie about it)

Most of the time, it’s a complete illusion. That’s not the way most people live their lives, through endless nights out and planning the next destination.

Well, it’s certainly not me. Most of the time I’m quite a homebody. Since I moved into my house, I’ve had at least two full weekends in where I may have texted people and made half-hearted plans to go out that ended up with me being lazy around the house and doing laundry. Like I mentioned previously, my life has settled into a routine.

I enjoy cooking, and reading and finding useless shit on the internet. I’m not going to post about countless nights spent in wearing sweats, eating pistachios and scrolling down endless Pinterest pages  (my pinterest!).

To be honest, my life outside of work resembles very closely what my life would be like outside of work at home but with slight differences:

I come home
eat dinner
browse the internet for things I missed during the day (sadly, not a lot).
sometimes head out to meet friends (but lets be honest, the only time I really make an effort is for market dinner on Wednesday nights.)
sometimes have a nap
browse the interwebs some more for silly things, projects I’ll never make, things that make me laugh, or music videos that I feel the need to play for my roommate.

That’s it folks; Monday to Friday in a nutshell. Yes, my weekends are sometimes, but not always, something to be desired. Honestly though, the Toronto Islands are a nicer destination than the closest beach to Lop Buri. :/

Sometimes I feel like most peoples concept of a travel blog is to catalog the wonderful things that they’re doing abroad and the cultural differences that they notice. But for me it’s also to come to terms with the fact I am away and have assimilated to those cultural differences and am still living my day to day life, little things that are all part of long-term travel.

You’re allowed to be jealous (a bit) but remember that despite seeing cool things and experiencing random moments, life goes on.