I decided I should probably take a step back and tell you guys how my journey here in Thailand first started. I’ve decided that being 23 (or in any of your early 20’s) has to be one of the most difficult times in a person’s life. It’s definitely a “mid-mid-life crisis.” At least for me it is, and I’m assuming I’m not alone in this because the amount of blogs and articles about your “20-something years” can’t even be counted nowadays. I think that’s because times have changed so much though. Back when our parents and grandparents were growing up, people went to high school and most likely got a full time job right after. If they were lucky they might have attended a 4 year university. But times are diferent now. We’re taught that education is what matters and that you won’t get anywhere without a degree. The hard part is that we get so accustomed to going to school and having people lay out our lives for us from elementary school all the way until college, that when college ends we’re all looking around like a deer in headlights. What now? Aren’t you supposed to tell me what to do? You mean I’m supposed to get a real job? But I’m not a grown-up yet. This was/still is my life in a nutshell. You study something for 4 years (if you’re lucky to get out that fast) to get a degree and then what? It’s not like you have any real world experience or actually know how to work in that field. And maybe by the end of those 4 years you hate whatever you studied, but now it’s too late.
My solution to this “mid-mid-life crisis” was to travel and “find myself” before I go home and work a boring 8-5 job for the rest of my life, dreaming about all the things I could have done while I was young. So I signed up to teach ESL and here I am in Thailand. Leaving home and getting here wasn’t very hard at all and I adapted fairly easily, both mentally and physically (I’m sure you’ve heard some horror stories about the street food and the tap water here). My ability to adapt so easily was probably because I had about 20 other people in the same boat as me, going through all the motions of learning to teach English in a country halfway across the world. Not to mention we got to see some pretty great tourist attractions together. We visited a local monastery, an elephant sanctuary, and even a pineapple farm.
Boy was I in for a rude awakening though! After getting to Chumphon and feeling all the emotions that I had been expecting to hit me sooner or later, I realized– I’m actually here, I’m actually doing this. And it pretty much is an 8-5 job and not easy by any means. I originally figured I could just make some cash and travel around Southeast Asia, but the reality is teaching will be my life for however long I’m here. Sure, I can travel in my free time, but I’m here for the kids now, not for myself. As much as I still feel like being selfish and making traveling my priority, I know I have to take my job seriously and I think this experience will help me become a much better person, and if I’m lucky I might actually GROW UP.