Tonsai Longtail

The Gripping Fear of Reality

Escape to Thailand

When I left for Thailand, I made no secret about the fact it was a one-way trip with no end date in mind. That wasn’t meant to say that I was going to stay here forever, though I think some people thought that.

Who am I kidding? That’s what I thought too.

Fire Wall Tonsai

My social media updates and conversations with friends made it seem that way. I truly thought I could.

But I think I just wanted to live the lie that I could do this for as long as I wanted, no questions asked.

When I first set out, I had ideas of lasting a year+ while traveling. Plans and timelines changed at least 17 different times during my trip. My original statement, “no end date in mind,” was still correct. It’s just that my hypothetical end date far into the future is now a real date and approaching much sooner than I intended.

The Original Escape

When I quit my job, I also somewhat jokingly would pass off comments of how long I could live on my own just in the U.S. without the security of a real job. I’d say, “yeah, I’ve got enough for a year [lol].” As if that lol was meant to mean, “sure, I could do nothing and live for a year, but I know I’m going to be successful so it doesn’t really matter.”

That was another lie I wanted to live.

VanLife Roadtrip

Lies Don’t Last Forever

I’ve lived below my means here in Thailand, but I’ve not done the hardcore budget backpacker thing. I save money when I can and when it’s easy, but I don’t skimp on things that are going to make my life much easier while here. Coupled with ongoing expenses like health insurance, student loans, software packages, and a little credit card debt, and my savings aren’t going to keep me afloat forever.

I have picked up some nice freelance writing gigs while here, but they would still only be a nice little side income if you already had a full-time job. Even as cheap as this place is, and as cheap as VanLife will be, that’s not enough to sustain me. Along those same lines, I haven’t had any time to devote to building my freelance marketing portfolio. That is, gaining more clients.

No Regrets

Despite my lies cashing in all at once I still have no regrets about my decisions. How many people in the U.S. can say they went on a 4 month vacation, and for the most part, “lived” in another country? There is no way I can look back on this time and think of it in anything but an extremely positive light.

Chiang Mai Grand Canyon Jump

The Last Stand

I have decided to cut my trip short and return on Sept. 23. But that doesn’t mean I’m giving up. I have enough savings to keep me afloat until 2016, but that doesn’t mean I’m giving up and only relying on that. I still have money coming in, albeit small, and other opportunities that have presented themselves, so I’m not giving up without a fight.

I’m coming back because I need to be in a place where I can focus and have the resources (internet) available to capitalize on the things that can prolong my time of freedom. I need to re-focus on freelancing. I need to make my final push in making this life of mine sustainable for the long-term. Because the fear of going back to Corporate America is much greater than the fear of failure at any one of the things happening for me currently. And that’s no lie.

Lost and Confused

Lost

As I walk through the ever increasingly dark streets, fumbling with thoughts in my head, running into strangers I’ve never met, I am reminded of similar times in the woods. The woods seem so familiar now, logging road here, a swamp there. You knew where there used to be bear dens and which areas to avoid. You were always at risk of an animal attack, but deep down inside, you knew it was never going to happen.

Now as I stare upward, I no longer see the crisp  spattering of stars and moon against a perfectly black sky. I see hazy outlines far in the distance against a backdrop of purple. No longer can you hear a squirrel running up the tree one last time before nestling into bed. But the sounds of air traffic and taxis fill your head.

So here I am, wandering this city as if it were my first time in the woods again. This time, defenseless against that that do I not know. I peek my head around corners warily, unknowing of what lies ahead. I walk timidly instead of strong and bold. I meet people on the street that are really just wolves in disguise. Which one of these allies holds my demise?

Some streets look promising as you begin your walk. Then you suddenly realize, it’s just another dead end. You fight and struggle to get back to your starting point, wipe the slate clean, and start out again. By the time you’ve reached the next roadblock, you’ve fallen further behind.

Every new intersection looks just like the last. Is there a way out of this? Which way do I turn? Where do I run? How do I get back to seeing stars the way they were meant to be seen? When will I be able to walk confidently in a land I know again? Is there such a time? Or am I doomed to be wandering aimlessly, caught in a web? Who can help me? Is there anyone?

Just please take me back. Take me back to the woods where everything is simple. Everything is clear. And everything has direction. Take me back to what I know.