Lesson #17: Calculated risks are hard to come by




I am in Chiang Mai, chapter three of this Thailand experience. I conquered Thabo, sailed through round one of travels around Southeast Asia, and now find myself strapping on the training wheels once again as I try to tackle Chiang Mai.

I came here with a perfectly composed picture of what my life would be like. A good job with solid friends. Afternoons filled with yoga classes, shamanic experiences, long distance cycles, and waterfall treks. Plenty of time to write in coffee shops tucked away from tourists on bougainvillea filled side streets. Late nights of debauchery, spent amongst a sea of fascinating new characters. However, I also came to Chiang Mai with a job that started exactly eight hours after arriving. And for my first couple of days here I was consumed, no time to explore, no time to settle in, no time to even think about my life outside of teaching.

So I made a rash decision and I quit. It wasn’t the responsible choice or the financially salient option, but in terms of my happiness it was without a doubt what I needed to do. I didn’t come to Thailand to be responsible or to make money, I came here to live fully. So, without a fallback plan I walked away from a sure bet. Trusting in the fact that something else would come my way, believing that I could create the experience that I pictured- no compromises necessary. Perhaps I was a tad naive, acting on my 22 year old delusions that I truly can bring every one of my Chiang Mai aspirations to fruition. But maybe, just maybe, naivety is wildly underrated.

It is hard to walk away from security and comfort. More often than not we have been trained through experiences to stick with what works, it’s easier that way. Transitions typically are no fun, a tad scary, and without a doubt unsettling, but I fiercely believe that things will work themselves out. Society rewards courage, direction, and determination. Throw yourself out there because you are chasing what you truly want out of life and others will respond. Leave yourself in a necessary pickle and you will personally work harder. You will job hunt with more determination, more fervor, more energy.

Case in point. I have a new job. Sure it’s Thailand and things are a little different over here, but I still think the experience has been illuminating. If you aren’t happy change something (even if you have no idea where you are headed), sit comfortably in the uncertainty while you need to, and trust that your hutzpah will be rewarded!