In January, I’m leaving my life behind to explore the world and to be alone as an adult for the first time.
When I backpacked Europe for 3 months by myself, I had a timeline. Everything was set in stone. While I was alone and had the freedom to do what I wanted, I didn’t actually have much freedom because of the amount of planning I did. I did what made me comfortable, and that’s what was important for doing something so huge for the first time. I knew what I wanted to accomplish in that timeframe. I knew I was coming back, and I wasn’t free just yet. I still had obligations. A degree to complete. A job to come back to. It wasn’t the beginning. It was the catalyst to the beginning… to the rest of my life.
This time, I have no timeline. I want to make sure I know where I want to end up for TEFL by the end of April, so I can register in time. I want to do my training in July, so I can find a job with enough time to settle in wherever I choose by the start of the new school year, which is in September in most countries. I get 6 months to explore.
I’m starting in Vietnam. I’m starting in the bustling, overwhelming city of Hanoi. It’s going to be different. When I first traveled, I didn’t know what I was looking for in the experience. It was hard to relax or really be at peace because I was always on the move. I booked hostels based on what I thought I would like rather than what I knew I liked. I partied a little, but in the end, I don’t think I do well in those kinds of environments, and I definitely don’t do well moving at such a fast pace all the time. I enjoyed my time more when I could explore, get to know the place, and become familiar with it. You can fall in love at first sight with a place, but that kind of love is hollow until you take the time to truly discover what it is that made you fall in love.
I’m going to be in the north for Tet, the lunar new year, so I’m more or less “stuck” for the week that that’s going on because everything shuts down and transportation is booked in advance. My mind keeps going to the place of planning, of trying to figure it all out before it happens, trying to control the uncontrollable and the unpredictable. And then I remember… I’m in no rush to be anywhere at any given time. Everything is up in the air. I want to get some accommodation booked, but I have a lot of time and no obligations. I have the flexibility to stay put, to get going, and to do whatever I want.
Life is not nearly as enjoyable when you try to plan it out. When you’re constantly thinking ahead. When you stop enjoying yourself in the moment. I am so thankful that I can move at a slow pace. I can live this out however I want.
Until next time…