“Whats Next?” is a big question that’s been driving me forward for a while now.
Sometimes you can provide the answer, but most times you cant and the universe decides on your behalf. For me, circumstances back home have aligned unexpectedly to give me a small window to return and cut short my year of travel.
Its been 2 weeks of anxiety, sleeplessness and indecision but I’ve made the call to head back to Australia, even though I still have 8 weeks of “make a decision” time before the deadline to return to my old job lapses.
My reluctance to walk back into the cage of my old life and relinquish this magnificent freedom is manifesting itself physically and mentally. I’ve been sick, tired, happy, depressed – every emotion struggling for dominance. If it wasn’t for the planned 2 week safety net of Chiang Mai to settle my head down I’d be lost. Being able to prepare for reemergence into the real world is invaluable especially when you’ve been existing in an absolute freedom dream state, living for almost a year abroad. The comfortable calm that this city brings me is immediate.
Chiang Mai has been the place that I gather my strength after this rollercoaster year – get my chipped tooth fixed and some overdue dental work , a new tattoo, read a few good books, see a few films, catch up with friends, and meditate on lessons learned over the course of the year.
A friend asked me a few days back what has changed about myself in the past year, and I couldn’t really answer the question. It’s hard to pin down. I thought this would be a year of answers but I have only found more questions. The only thing I’m sure of is that I am not where I am supposed to be.
What did surprise me is that when it was darkest, I found comfort and strength in a spiritualistic Faith I didn’t realise I had.
*Notre Dame Cathedral minus Quasimodo.
Anyhow…I’m sure it’ll pass.
Much like going to the dentist and distancing yourself from the pain, this week Ive completed the process of reentry in a numb, detached state: contacting my old employer <shudder>, seeking accommodation, transport, flights, logistically getting from point A to point B etc etc ad nauseum. Inside I’m screaming at myself to stop this madness and head West again, but luckily the rational part is in control for a change and has made all the arrangements for reentry into what has become a new Global World Order in all of the worst possible ways.
I am extremely grateful to have had the chance to experience the world over the past year, meet amazing new friends and experience life fully but I am not ‘lucky’ as some have said. It was just good management. I planned and worked hard to save enough money to see me through the year, then tried to roll with the punches as they landed. It was a massive gamble, but it wasn’t luck.
Now for some reason my ‘live to work’ ethic has flipped to ‘work to live’ completely and I’m embracing the concept. We all only get one life and it passes all too quickly. It’s for this very reason I’m never going to be trapped in a meaningless job nor rot in an office ever again.
But as of today, unlimited freedom-wise, it’s done. At least for a little while.
This is my last Sunday in Chiang Mai and Monday afternoon I fly out.
In a week I go back to work.
There is a longer term plan however and this is a temporary means to an end. That has been the only thing keeping me on track. Rationalisation and reframing the negative.
It’s not all bad – I’ll get to see my Mum, my beautiful daughter Isabel, and some of the few remaining friends that I feel close to. But that’s about it.
2016 has been a trial run with a mix of success and failure but more importantly it’s been a year of exponential personal growth.
2017 will be my year and I’m getting excited already.
More about Paris tomorrow.