I have one chance to live life as who I am, right now, on this planet. This is the mantra I say to myself multiple times a week. That is my creed I fall back on when I’m scared to do something. And it’s a necessity as someone who lives with anxiety and OCD, since I’m scared to do pretty much everything all the time. Just today, I had a slight breakdown going over the requirements for our visa (they are lengthy and complicated), and I’m sure I’ll have another soon enough. But I set myself up so that there’s no going back, no retreating into dark corners to hide. The corner always feels safe for a moment, but the darkness will inevitably consume you. I’m old enough now, experienced enough now, to understand the need to proactively stay out of the shadows. A reactive life for me is inherently suffocating.
I got lucky when I met a person who, by a completely different method not involving the constant threat of mostly worthless fear, lives the same way. She is one of those amazing souls who lives in the moment the way I can only glimpse, and it’s a glimpse I can see only after years of training myself; continually conditioning to look beyond the what ifs.
So we’ve been talking, her with her easy slides into adventure and me with my relentless planning and confronting and disassembling of my fears to get to the same place she naturally flits about in, and we’ve decided to move to SE Asia. Not forever, probably. But for a while, certainly.
Our reasons are myriad, and include adventure, living life from a different perspective, busting out of our comfort zones, and simply because we want to.
We’ll be traveling around for a bit, visiting Vietnam and Cambodia, and then we’ll be settling in Bangkok, a city we both love, and a city that is a close and cheap hub to a dozen countries we can’t wait to explore.
To be transparent, I’ve noticed airs of jealousy from time to time when talking about this, so allow me to say – you can do it too, believe me, if you want to. But do you really want to. We’re not even over there yet and it’s been hard. Cleaning out our apartment. Saying goodbye to friends and family. Leaving everything we know behind. It’s been overwhelming and taxing and a mindfuck at times, to say the least.
The way we’re doing it doesn’t require crazy funds or resources, just prioritizing, saving, and sacrificing. It helps that we both love SE Asia, and Bangkok – even though technically one of the most expensive cities there – is an extremely cheap location to live and travel from. You can get a delicious meal for a buck and a luxury apartment in the heart of the city for $500 a month. Which is great, ‘cause neither of us make all that much money, and we definitely don’t have trust funds or inheritances, although I did find a Starbucks card with almost $17 on it this morning. Other than that three and a quarter Pumpkin Spice Lattes waiting to be claimed, it’s been prioritizing, saving, and sacrificing.
I’ve moved thousands of miles and lived out of my car to pursue goals, and even now, pushing 40, I live in a modest rented apartment. And I wouldn’t have it any other way, because this is my, and now our, priority. Success, in anything, involves making sacrifices to get where you want to be. Once upon a time, my car was my only home. But now, I haven’t owned a vehicle in seven years. I’d rather spend money on other things. My wife still drives her same car she got when she was 16. And as far as possessions, outside our used furniture, everything I own can fit in her car. We just don’t buy “stuff.” Similarly, instead of saving for a home, we saved for this adventure. That’s a big one. For many people, the American dream is owning a home. It isn’t as important to us. And sure, sometimes I get jealous of friends who have cool cars and/or nice homes. But, when I search my soul, I don’t really want that. This, I do. That’s what makes the sacrifices I make and we make easier to swallow.
We only get one shot as who we are right now on this planet of ours. It’s up to us to be honest with ourselves with what we truly want to do with that shot. And nobody can know what that is except us. So if you want that house or that cool car, make it happen. But know also, that if you want to galavant across the globe for a while, you can make that happen as well, and much easier than you may think.
See you on the other side (of the world).