Yeah, you read that right. I went to Thailand, again. For the second time this year- the second time in 6 months. Last time around, it was all about being touristy, going on adventures and opening my eyes up to a new culture. This time around, it was a little different- unintentionally different. It turned out I was on an unintentional path to self-discovery. Having finished exams 4 days earlier, I was in a state of desperately needing to just get away. The end of the trimester had resulted in me questioning a number of things, and I needed somewhere to just get away from all the things that were constantly whirring in my mind.
Yeah sure, lucky me. I get the chance to properly be able to go away and travel overseas. I have the money to be able to do that. I have the luxury. Lucky me. I know a lot of people will probably read this and say well, she must be well off to be able to do that. I’m not being ungrateful for where I am in my life because I know I’m flipping lucky to have the opportunity to travel whilst many people don’t, but to say I have it easy or anything like that, is a tad annoying. Anyway, not the point. People are going to be bitter regardless of what you do so there’s no point dwelling on it.
Certain relatives had a go at me saying how they thought I was wasting my money by going to the same place again and that the money would have been better spent elsewhere, like on a car or maybe even a housing deposit. Firstly, who knows when on earth I’ll actually get around to driving and secondly, this isn’t 1977 where the houses weren’t that expensive and basically everyone’s goal was to buy their own house, have a car and live a stable, happy life with their little family. A number of things in 2017 comes before putting a deposit on a house. Yes, I do aim to buy my own house eventually. Yes, I do work and save money to be able to do that eventually, but until then, I still have a number of things I want to do before I get to that stage.
Truth is, and something that I’ve learnt, is that life is all about choices and priorities. For me, travelling is a priority. Rugby is a priority. My education is a priority. My health and wellness is a priority. If you really want something, you prioritise it. Sure, sometimes the current place you are at may not allow for you to achieve or get what you want, but the majority of time, it will eventually through a process. It’s a process to get fit. It’s a process to improve your mental health. It’s a process to complete a degree. It’s a process to earn the money you need to travel. It’s a process starting up your own business. When you start coming up with excuses and neglecting your needs, then you have to ask whether you want it or not. You have to bluntly ask yourself: “How important is this to me?” and most importantly, you have to be honest with yourself. The more you lie to yourself, the worse off you’ll be. Make your choices. Set your priorities. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do. Listen to the people who have been there done that, because a lot of the time they drop the truth bombs you don’t want to hear, but really need to.
Another thing I learnt whilst in Thailand was the importance of surrounding yourself with different people. Don’t stick to the same old crew, day in, day out. Don’t stick to the same demographic. Meet new people. Older people. Younger people. People who you never really would think you would get along with or learn from. People from all walks of life who have experienced a range of different hurdles and events that you are yet to, or even may never experience. Every single person you meet teaches you something different. It may be the smallest little thing, but eventually it’ll turn out to be one of the important lessons of your life and something you carry with you every single day. This time around, I was the youngest by 7 years in comparison to everyone else that was there. Firstly, I had more fun with them than I do with the majority of people who are much closer to my age (no offence guys) and secondly, they helped either change or reiterate a heap of perspectives I had on life.
Both times I’ve been to Thailand have taught me things about my anxiety. This time around, it had be brutally asking myself constantly: “honestly, what do I have to be anxious about?”. I would then grown to myself, shake it off and carry on with another day in paradise. I’d have moments where my health anxiety would be peaking, but months of training myself how to cut off an anxious thought before it would impact my experience would usually be able to shut down these menacing notions and allow me to continue enjoying myself and just be able to relax. Yes, I had moments where it got the better of me, but eventually, I won every other time. Another question I have come to ask myself is: “When I’m 80 years old and look back on my life, do I really want to have spend so many days not living my life to the fullest, anxious about things that were either untrue or not applicable to me? Do I really want to look back and be scared that I have something wrong with me when in fact I’m perfectly healthy?”. The answer, every single time, was a resounding no. When you question yourself enough times in moments of anxiety, your mindset starts to change and your list of coping mechanisms begins to increase.
Another major thing I learnt…well it was more so reiterated, was that my happy place was swimming in the ocean. Being out in the water, amidst the waves and allowing your skin and muscles to feel the benefits of the salt water allowed for me to have a place where I felt literally no anxiety. When I’m in the water, I felt like I was in my happy place, that I had no worry in the world. It’s an unexplainable feeling only known to those who have experienced the same with their own happy places, whether it be in the ocean like me or elsewhere. All we know is that you’re happy and relaxed and if it was up to us, we would live there if we could.
Since coming back from Thailand with my altered outlook on life, I’ve found myself to be more grounded. I can deal with stress and anxiety better. I’ve become more motivated and driven, more so than ever before. I was able to recharge and clear my mind. You don’t always need a trip to Thailand to do that, just getting away from your phone, going somewhere you love, spending time with different people and having an open mind when it comes to learning things is all you really need.