Lesson #23: Partially satisfying just won’t cut it.

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Have you ever loved the idea of something more so than the reality of it?

On paper Chiang Mai is an immaculate creation. The murmur of monk’s distant chanting ebbs and flows down the main street at dusk and dawn. Art is the cities source of vitality, amateur artists abound, an entrepreneurial enthusiasm propels a multitude of startups, and live music pours from grungy late night locales. Nature is abundant and accessible, spend ten minutes on a motorbike and a playground of waterfalls and twisting hiking trails emerge. There’s enough flavors and aromas to delight any palate. Indian, Mexican, hamburgers, bagels, and an overwhelming variety of tantalizing Thai food. Things are cheap, life is safe, massages are a nightly occurrence.

Yet I never quite fell in love with the city.

So, why doesn’t it work? Could it be that we don’t actually know what we want? Maybe the things that we think fuel us- jazz clubs and delicious food- are not what are actually making our hearts race?

There are a lot of things in this world that fall under this predicament- people, jobs, and even the places we call home. We love them, we couldn’t possibly list all of the ways in which they check off our list of wants, but alas something does not feel right.  Intellectually it should work. We rack our brains trying to figure out why it doesn’t just effortlessly click, we try to convince ourselves that it does, but at the end of the day there still is that nagging unsettled feeling that something isn’t right. We are trying to make something work that for reasons unannounced to us simply doesn’t.

This isn’t meant to be a sad story, because I did love Chiang Mai. Just not in that stop you in your tracks, energy spilling out of your entire being, I feel alive kind of way.

So what’s a girl to do? Hold on fiercely and make it work, because it’s hard to imagine something else working if this doesn’t?  Realize that there may not ever be a ‘perfect’ place, stay, and keep on trucking? Perhaps, but that’s not what I’ve chosen. Why stay with something that is only partially satisfying?

Even though change is not easy, even though I will be leaving things I love and people who truly matter, it’s time to move upwards and onwards.

So for this girl, it’s on to new adventure, new cities, new faces, new journeys and fresh stories ready to unfold and take shape. I packed up my bags on Sunday, cleared out a home that had begun to take shape, and hit the road again. I’ve got new places to explore- two more months of travels- more Thailand, Myanmar, and France- and then finally a stop in the United States. Then what? Where next? The plan is South America, Santiago to be exact. Will it be a place where things simply work, feel right? Will I feel more settled, a deeper sense of connection, a more fulfilling sense of happiness? Who knows? Quite possibly not, but I’m ready to give it a whirl.

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