Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Traveler and the Wanderer

"All that glitters is not gold. Not all those who wander are lost."

As a child I recounted these words to myself laying in bed at night, dreaming about climbing mountains and going on big adventures. Most of the time I went on adventure in my head, through the pages of my favorite books. I climbed Mount Doom with Frodo, went to Hogwarts with Harry Potter and rode through Balinor with Ari and her faithful steed. I dreamed of big adventure, but never had the courage to step beyond my own backyard.

Some things may have changed since then, but my propensity towards romanticizing other lands has not. Before coming to Thailand, I had visions dancing through my mind of endless rice fields and pristine white beaches and elephants bathing in the jungle. I know these things to exist in Thailand; I haven't seen them yet.

I'm beginning to realize there are very big differences between traveling and living abroad. For the next calendar year, my life falls into the latter category. I bought a one way ticket, and I checked suitcases. I spent nearly four hundred dollars on home goods and groceries. I'm not going anywhere anytime soon.

But the linchpin about working abroad is that you are in fact working. You have a schedule, bosses, meetings, homework. I'm not alone and I'm not on my own. And I'm definitely not living in the jungle. In fact, Thailand--specifically Bangkok and environs--seem to be the most built up, sprawling city I've ever seen. I have never seen so many malls in so few square miles. And they are massive.

How then can I reconcile my innate longing to find peace outside my own country with my current status? I feel suddenly thrown into a whirlwind of noise and smog and very strong air conditioning. Relaxed though it may be in spirit, Bangkok is definitely not peaceful.



The colorful, chaotic, never ending traffic of Bangkok
I came with the express purpose of learning everything I could about teaching English as a foreign language. But now that I'm here, my wanderlust is growing strong again. I want to explore.



Sleeping kitty in Wat Pho 
I must tell myself I have plenty of time, but there seems to be never enough when one is travelling. But am I still travelling? Regardless of labels, I must prepare myself for the coming weeks. I have so much to learn. This seems to me the perfect opportunity to practice vigilance in planning, both for lessons and travel. I tend to be rather type B when it comes to making plans, unfortunately, which often leaves me stressed out and upset at my own procrastination.

I have a lot to do. Teaching begins on Monday, and I have over 90 names to learn and memorize. It's going to be a long week, but God willing, it will be wonderful.

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."


With love,
Mel

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