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Where Am I

Every Trip has a Beginning

THAILAND | Thursday, 20 August 2015 | Views [339]

 

"Where am I?"

You're working a journalism job any budding reporter would kill for. You travel the U.S. to sit up in air conditioned press boxes at U.S. Women's National Soccer team matches and you get to interview Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach and you have an OK salary and a company credit card in your pocket.

"Where am I?"

You live in a shabby chic yellow beach bungalow a block from the deep blue Atlantic sea. Every morning you wake up to run barefoot across the cool sand as purple and gold rays rise from the depths of the ocean. On the weekends, you tend to your flouishing garden in a bikini, Pink Floyd and the Shins blaring from Pandora Radio, a handsome blue eyed, dark haired lover that wants you to be his and only his forever. Best friends that make you smile, make you drunk and make you not give a fuck.

You have it all, but still, you keep asking yourself: where the fuck am I?

Every trip has a beginning, one that takes root way before you step foot on a plane or purchase that backpack. Mine began a long time ago, when my Sri Lankan mother and American father took my brother and I around around the world; that love for travel has always been embedded deep within the pores of my golden brown skin. 

Well, I thought it began there. But sometimes a beginning has multiple layers. 

I did everything that I was supposed to- mixed every American dream ingrediant together that pointed to a fluffy, perfectly baked cake of societal success. Did the highschool thing, the college thing, graduated on time, started to work, and work and work and work. Told myself "You'll travel one day" but first....work. And I did, until I found myself in my own office, with a giant window looking out to the world, with a large computer moniter and bedroom slippers on my feet, and the freedom to write, and the perfect relationship sprinkled with talks of marriage, but something was wrong. I spent more time reading blogs about travel, dreading Mondays, getting shitfaced on Fridays, blowing paychecks on Saturdays and staring out that office window longer and longer.

There was a longing eating at me. My gut was whining, pleading. I had everything, why wasn't I happy? I knew exactly where I was and what I was supposed to be doing, but the desire to travel and write...passionately write...was unfulfilled. To leave the state of Florida where I had lived my entire life, to be uncomfortable, scared and shook to the core, to learn about others, to experience suffering and beauty in small things, I knew it was what I needed to do.

And so, I did everything that American society screams not to do. I quit, I stopped buying, I sold, I gave away, I cut services, I ended deep and meaningful relationships, I minimalized and I left.

At the end of October 2014, I left home and everything I knew at 26-years-old for Southeast Asia. Sri Lanka, Maldives, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia. A three month trip turned into a five month trip, which then turned into a cancelled return flight, which then turned into moving to Chiang Rai, Thailand. 

Where am I?

Every time I step off the plane into a bustling new world of weird and beautiful, I ask myself this, and every time, I am less afraid and more empowered. In the past, when I was in control of everything in my life, I still asked this question, and it unnerved me. Now, when I ask this question, it feels right. 

I'm at nine months abroad now, and it has been an incredibly emotional and wonderful journey. Through my journal I hope to get you asking where you are in your life, and start a life-changing adventure of your very own. 

 

Tags: adventure, backpacker, cambodia, laos, maldives, southeast asia, sri lanka, thailand, travel, vietnam

 

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