Balance: the positives and negatives to solo travel in Thailand.

Balance: the positives and negatives to solo travel in Thailand.

“Life is about balance. Be kind, but don’t let people abuse you. Trust, but don’t be deceived. Be content, but never stop improving yourself.” -Nishan Panwar

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing this post. Last weekend I shared a slightly less rosy view of life in Thailand, and I must admit, I was not prepared for, let’s call it “the myriad” of reactions that I received. But onward I forged, writing and posting about a different side of Thailand that I’ve experienced over the past four months or so, sharing it for the first time with family, friends, and readers.

As I mentioned, I was a bit taken aback by the myriad of reactions, and as such my mind has been spinning ever since. I am not writing this story today because I feel as though I must defend myself. My blog is my own, it is full of my own feelings, my own emotions, and most importantly my own opinions. Therefore, readers must remember to take into account what I have to say with at least one small grain of salt, and know that there’s always more than one side to every story that you hear.

With that being said, I have decided it is best for myself, for my evolution as a writer, for my growth as a traveler, to write and share this story today. I will benefit from putting my thoughts onto paper, and that is the reason that I’ve decided to share the following words with you all.

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Yesterday, when I arrived at work in the morning, I was feeling very off and uncomfortable. Almost as if I was getting a bug, and being so close to the end of the semester, getting sick is the last thing that I want. I managed to take an hour nap, sitting at my desk, resting my head on my backpack; and while it was not necessarily the most comfortable setting, I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to take a nap mid-morning at work in the first place. Counting my blessings…

After pushing through the day, albeit feeling much better following my nap, I knew I wanted to go home and stream a restorative yoga video to help my body and mind unwind and relax. (Brief side note here, if you like online yoga videos, but haven’t checked out DoYogaWithMe yet, do so now! It’s an absolute MUST!) Unfortunately, the wifi in my apartment was acting up yesterday and I was unable to stream a full video without significant stops and interruptions.

If you don’t know the premise behind restorative yoga, it is “the centering of your breath and body- aligning the physical and mental by practicing stillness or gentle movement for extended periods of time…” Think of it very loosely illustrated as “adult nap time.” Therefore, with that being said, one cannot successfully practice stillness nor quiet the mind if your video is constantly being interrupted by re-buffering delays.

This is not the first time I have experienced such a problem. It has happened before, a few times. Sometimes I try reloading and waiting out the poor connection. Other times I switch to Travis Elliott’s 108 Days Yoga Challenge, as you can stream the cross-training video for free on YouTube (another awesome video to checkout if you like streaming yoga online). But yesterday I knew cross-training was going to be too much for me so I did something new. For the first time since beginning my regular practice four months ago, I led myself through fifty minutes of restorative/yin practice all on my own, without the help of an instructor, video, or anything of the sort.

I am very proud of myself for having achieved this so successfully. I believe it speaks to how much knowledge I’ve gained about poses in a restorative practice. I also believes it speaks strongly to mindfulness. I believe it represents that I’ve come a great distance with regards to mindfulness, since beginning my practice. I don’t believe when I first began, that I retained neither the knowledge nor the discipline that it takes to guide ones’ self solely through restorative or yin yoga. All I can take out of yesterday’s experience is that it is evidence that what I’m doing every week truly is making a difference and having a positive impact on my life. In many more ways than one too.

For this discovery, I am very proud of myself. I take it as a moment of victory, that when I set my mind on something and truly commit myself, then look at what I’m able to achieve. Look how far I’ve come. I also take it as encouragement to not give up. Keep pushing forward and discovering more victories through weekly practice, commitment, and dedication to something (new or old) in life. Stay committed; stay the path; your efforts will yield wonderful results. Mine certainly have done so, and I’m just so happy and proud of myself for how far I’ve come.

This story also brings me, once again, to a very recurrent theme throughout my writing: gratitude. Again, I must express my gratitude for all the experiences afforded to me in Thailand. I believe the level of commitment to my practice that I’ve wanted to reach for some time, would not have been possible, had it not been for my decision to move across the world on my own. I needed time, and space, and I’ve found both those elements to life over here.

Timing. It’s funny how things so often come down to just that. I have the time to focus on myself since moving to Thailand. Time everyday focused on self-reflection, evolution, and growth. Time to put my needs and my happiness before all else in life. Clearly I didn’t have such time (or rather didn’t know how to FIND/MAKE such time) back at home. Or else, I don’t believe I would have fallen into such a dark space, in the months leading up to my departure. A space full of depression, self-doubt, anxiety, and frustration.

That space has since been filled with an endless amount of brightness and light! It is now a space full of happiness, laughter, adventure, new relationships, smiles, and love.

Traveling solo was exactly the remedy that I needed, to combat the rut I found myself in at just twenty-six years into life. I needed to get away from everything, but not because I was running away from my fears. Rather I needed time and space to be alone for a little while, to recenter and focus my life. And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing for the past four months, and for that, I am thankful.

Following my blog post last weekend, that was written to ultimately explain why I have decided to leave Thailand after only half a year, many people reached out to me. Again, the myriad of responses and reactions that I received came as quite a surprise, if I’m being honest. Some people extended their sympathy and loving words of encouragement and praise. While others though, read into my blog with a negative perspective of my words, and for this reason, I believe, misinterpreted my opinions quite drastically.

Let me explain. I did not write my last blog as a blast against Thailand. I did not write it to completely contradict all of the wonderful things I’ve shared and the positive experiences I’ve had in Thailand over the past four months. Rather, as a writer, I believe I owe it to my readers the justice of sharing the whole story about my experiences while in Thailand; and among the positives, there also have been some negatives scattered here and there too.

The problem lies then, with the fact that I have previously only discussed the positives for some time now, as it relates to my experiences in Thailand. Why? Well ironically because I’ve actually been afraid of how people might react to the “whole” truth. It seems now, in hindsight, that some of my fears were indeed warranted.

I’m not saying here that what I’ve been writing these past four months hasn’t been the truth, because it has. Every single wonderful experience and smile that I’ve shared along the way has been real. It is the truth, but there’s indeed more to the “whole” truth that I haven’t been brave enough to share (or at lease not until a week ago…).

But I hope to calm the voices of doubt by explaining that everything I write is simply my own opinions, and it’s certainly not meant to be taken/intended to be read as facts. If anything, opinions must be more heavily scrutinized. Therefore in no way do I write these words neither to ever deter people from moving to Thailand, nor deter them from having their own life experiences and adventures.

Rather in my personal opinion I believe I’ve done just the opposite for my readers. Look through my past four months of blogs and you’ll easily uncover far more positive reasons to come here than negatives. Just because I’ve sprinkled a few negatives in my stories over the past few weeks does not mean that I don’t enjoy life here.

Please do not read into more than what I’m saying. All I’ve tried to do is paint a better, more complete, and well-rounded picture of my life since having moved to Thailand. I would never intend for a single negative to completely erase or eradicate all of the positives that I’ve been writing about over the past four months. But in an attempt to tell the “whole” truth, I finally worked up the courage to shine a small light onto another side of living abroad. And to my dissenters’ opinions or beliefs about me after my last post, I say this:

I am living a real life over here, and as such, in life with the positives will always come at least a few negatives. Because as the saying goes, which is as true now as it ever has been, there’s no such thing as perfection. And along that line of reasoning, then I must admit that Thailand is not perfect. Neither though, do I believe, was my life back at home before I moved; or nor do I anticipate a perfect life in Germany when October rolls around. Rather as with everything, everywhere, and everyone, moving to Germany and starting a new job and a new life in Europe, will too bring with it a few negatives along the way. But this is normal. This is life. And this is something that I’ve decided that I’m ready and willing to risk; for without risks, life will cease to offer us rewards.

balance

Alas, I must repeat, I do not regret for even a mili-second, my decision to move to Thailand. Nor am I closing the door on this chapter of my life with a sour or upset impression of this wonderful country. Just the opposite is in fact true. When I look back on the five months I will have spent living, working, and exploring in Southeast Asia I will remember my time only fondly and with a smile on my face.

Thailand has truly been wonderful to me, despite a few hiccups along the way. But hiccups, just as they are an annoyance when they happen in life, are too a simple fact of life. Something to be overcome, not something to concede defeat to; something to view as a challenge that can and will be defeated, not an impossibility.

So to that, as I have said so many times before, I express my deepest and most sincere humility and gratitude towards Thailand: to the people, the places, and the culture that I’ve experienced; which has allowed me to grow, evolve, and blossom into a beautiful version of myself. Someone who is happy, healthy, and very proud of the person whom I am today.

“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” -Lao Tzu

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