“You’re moving to Thailand?”
It’s been since February when I knew my future would take me to Thailand and I would become an expat. For nearly five months, my life has been in this stop-wait-move pattern.
Stop. Wait. Move. Stop. Wait. Move.
It gets tiresome after awhile. And severely emotionally draining.
Five months is a long time to know your future is right there, staring at you, banging down the door … and yet there is nothing to do but wait, wait, wait.
In March when I quit my job, I knew Thailand was coming down the pipeline. I just didn’t know when. Then, in April, everything was solidified. I had an offer at Save the Elephant Foundation. For those of you who are new readers, last autumn I spent a week at Elephant Nature Park and fell in love with the organization. In an instant, I knew I wanted my life to take me back to Thailand and back to the elephants.
Then, it was going to get my visa in April. Booking my flight for July 11.
It seemed like another lifetime until that flight.
Then, life became a whirlwind. A poorly-timed (yet awesome) trip to Sweden, followed by a move, followed by a drive across America, followed by two weeks to prepare for my new life.
Never did I pause. Never did I stop to think about … well … anything.
“Aren’t you scared?”
I have no idea how many people asked me that. Whenever I announced my plans, people would stop. They would stretch their eyes wide with a look of disbelief on their faces.
Scared? I am living my dream.
I never gave it much thought beyond knowing I was doing what I wanted to do. I was following my own set of rules.
My response would always be something to the extent of “No. I am not scared. I am excited. I am ready. I want to leave Las Vegas. I want to chase that dream I had back in September and actually use my talents to do something good. Something helpful. Something that will educate people about elephant tourism in Southeast Asia.”
“You’re so brave.”
Throughout all of my travels, that one statement has always echoed in my ears. From my friends. From people who don’t know me.
It is really about being brave?
I’ve never thought of myself as brave. I try to steer clear of adventures. The bravest thing I have done is get naked in Sweden and that … well … it’s definitely not the same as jumping from a plane.
I tend to think bravery isn’t really what flows through my blood, but more of a passion. A desire to follow my heart. To live life the way I want. I am not settling for what the American culture tells me to have. Instead, I am going after what I believe in.
And yet …
After the bags were packed, after my last dinner with my family … that bravery thing kept repeating in my mind.
I’m not brave. I’m not brave.
And then, I stop. I think. Is this being brave? Packing up a life, putting it in storage, saying “see you soon” to everyone I know and love and hopping on a long-haul flight to the opposite side of the world?
Tonight, my brother called me to say he loved me and to wish me luck. As we spoke, suddenly, I was overcome. Tears welled up in my eyes.
There is just so much emotion I haven’t even touched the past few months of my life. So much feeling I packed away because I just couldn’t … couldn’t think about anything but the future.
Be brave, D.
Even a few weeks ago, when I was learning more about my position, I emailed a friend of mine in a slight panic. Know what he told me? “Go. Be brave.”
It’s such a weighted word.
And yet, as I sit in my bed, on my last night living in America, it hits me.
Maybe I am?
I don’t know.
All I do know is I am giving it my all. I am giving myself the best chance I know to live my life with no regrets. To live for the now, and not for the happily ever after.
Am I scared?
I don’t think so.
Right now, there is so much adrenaline. So much happy. So much awe at the chance of possibility I don’t think I am scared.
Am I sad?
Without a doubt.
I forgot how nice it is to be with family when I lived in Las Vegas because I was so caught up in my life. To be home, to be with the people I love … to spend time with my parents … it makes it so hard to say goodbye.
This is the end of this chapter of my life. From here on out, it is all new. Beautiful. Awesome.
Now, as I type this, I will be on a plane in less than six hours. Embarking on yet another journey.
Fear has never crossed my mind. I have full faith everything will work out exactly as it should.
And yet, I want to cry. To bawl my eyes out. To grab my parents, my brother, my niece, my friends, and make them all come on this journey with me.
But, that’s the thing about life: it’s mine.
I am moving to Thailand.
A year ago, if you asked me where I would be, I would have shrugged my shoulders.
Funny how life changes.
Funny how we adapt.
Here’s to the next chapter. I hope you enjoy the ride.