My Inspiration

“Each day is a new canvas to paint upon. Make sure your picture is full of life and happiness, and at the end of the day you don’t look at it and wish you had painted something different.”

As many of my readers already know, I have been bit by the travel bug.  And that bug was most definitely a mosquito, because I know this bite isn’t going to go away for a long time.  I have absolutely loved traveling through Thailand and being immersed in the culture.  I have met interesting travelers, I’ve seen breathtaking beaches and historical monuments, and I’ve pushed myself farther than I ever thought I could.  I’ve learned who I used to be, who I am now, and who I have the potential of being and this is all a result of blurring the lines of my limits and taking chances.

Well, I know it won’t stop here.  My passion for photography has grown exponentially and my mind keeps racing through all the places I want to go and all the places I want to capture and share with the world.

I thank the National Geographic Website for this growing inspiration.  I have spent all my waking time these days furiously writing, photographing, reading moving articles, and gazing at unimaginable photographs.  I’ve surrounded myself with creativity so that I can stir my own and in the last couple days I have been glued to the Nat Geo website.

Reading about writer’s encounters in far off cultures and seeing pictures from places that don’t even look like they belong on this planet, have made me yearn to be there myself.  I’ve read articles about the lost nomads in India and the perils of Patagonia in southern Chile.   I’ve seen pictures of Carnival in Brazil and the unbelievable islands of Dubai.  I want to be there.  I want to capture those moments.  I want people to be looking at my photographs one day with that wandering spirit.

So, thank you National Geographic for being my muse.  For pushing me to be better and for giving me something to aspire to.

Future Travel Plans

In early March, I will be traveling to Malaysia and Singapore.  In mid-March, I will be venturing up to Northern Thailand and in April through May, I will be exploring Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.  Hopefully, heading to Europe with a good friend in July or August for an adventure of a lifetime!

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Wanderlust – How I became a Teacher in Thailand

I’m a 23 year old Californian who decided to step a little outside my comfort zone.  Ok, a lot outside my comfort zone.  Now I know I’m not blazing any trails here.  Teaching English in Thailand wasn’t just developed and I know people leave home and travel all the time.  But for me, this was a huge leap of faith. 

I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Psychology.  I played softball for four years and was the centerfielder for the 2005 National Championship team.  This is what has defined me for so long.  Or in other words, this is how I have defined myself.  When I left Michigan, I felt lost.  I was no longer a college athlete or even a college student.  I went from seeing my best friends every waking minute of the day, to never seeing them and barely speaking to them.  I joined the workforce at a small money management firm in my hometown of Pasadena.  But I still felt lost.  I didn’t feel like what I was doing was important or that it was helping me figure out who I really am.  I always yearned for more.  I was constantly thinking of the next big thing I was do or where I was going to go.  But those were just words.  I didn’t have the courage to make them my reality.

Until now.

I realized that I needed to get out.  I needed to see the world and experience another culture, another country.  I needed to push myself and discover that I could depend on myself.  My entire life I have been depending on others.  Not just wanting them in my life, but needing them.  I wanted to change that. 

I chose Thailand.  Everyone asks me why Thailand.  I just felt like that’s where I wanted to go.  Where I needed to go.  I just felt it. 

I started researching what I needed to do to get there.  Teaching is one of the easiest ways to travel and see the world, so I decided to get my TEFL Certification online from International TEFL Teacher Training (ITTT) .  It was a 100-hour course and I felt that it would give me ample time to figure out if this was what I really wanted to do.  Once finished, I received a list of contacts and schools from ITTT and I started rattling off email after email, just hoping to find an opening or get a reply.  No luck.  Most of the openings I found were immediate and I was in no way ready to leave quite yet.  I then found AYC Intercultural Programs Thailand.  They are a company that hires teachers and places them in schools within their network.  It was a guaranteed job.  In Thailand.  Exactly what I wanted.  I took it.   

So here I am.

Being in Thailand has opened my eyes to the amazement of being in another country.  Of living and learning another culture every day.  It has taught me to be on my own, think for myself and rely solely on ME.  It has taught me to relax and go with the flow.  It has taught me that life can be what I want it to be.   It has made me want more.  It has lit that fire in my heart to discover other places, people, history, everything.  It has taught me to feel my dreams, to connect with them and make them a reality. 

Thailand has shown me that I am on the right path.

And It won’t stop at Thailand. You can bet on seeing me somewhere else in the very near future.  Hope you join me on my Wanderlust…from here on…

Transitions

Coming to Thailand was the most overwhelming experience I have ever had.   I had never really been out of my comfort zone.  I had always been surrounded by friends, family and those that I love.  I had never travelled to a foreign country.  I had never been on my own and alone.  Put all of these things together and I found myself completely out of my element.

 It took me a long time to get accustomed to Bangkok and its quick, crowded and crazy lifestyle.  Once I was used to that, I was thrown into the little town of Lang Suan, a town where only 5-6 people are fluent in English, my bathroom was sans sink and flushing toilet, and the sounds of the train tracks 20 meters away and crowing roosters kept me awake all night. 

Two months later, I was comfortable.  I loved my life in my little town.  I was used to the trains passing all through the night.  The roosters were now comforting and were a sign that I was at home.   My transition to my life in Thailand had taken a few months, but I had done it.  I had battled through heartache, solitude, and fear and I had come out on top. 

Then I went home…

I slept in my bed.  I took a hot shower for the first time in months.  I ate food I had been dreaming about. I was able to use my iPhone features again.  I called.  I texted.   I drove my car.  I listened to the radio.  I watched TV.  I hugged my dogs. I saw my most amazing friends.   And most importantly I spent a lot of time with my parents. 

I became so comfortable at home, that even though I had just left “home” in Thailand, I was once again apprehensive to go back.  I definitely hadn’t foreseen that this would be so difficult.  That it would be hard to go back to a place where I was already acclimated and happy.  Where I had friends.  A paradise.  A vacation spot.  A place where I could travel to tropical islands on the weekends and attempt to speak a foreign language. 

I found myself wanting these next few months to go by quickly just so I could be back home again.

Then I went home…Thailand home.  And it fits too.  I know this is where I need to be for the next few months.  Home rejuvenated me.  It helped me close the book on certain aspects of my life and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to go.  It inspired me to go out and do more.  Learn more.  Experience more.      

Life is full of these transitions.  Once one chapter is over, another one starts right up and we have to adjust.  We have to start anew.  We have to believe that we are on the right path and we will be stronger because of it.