Some wise and influential words written by travelling teacher in Thailand, Justin Woods. Every young adult comes to a point in their lives when they feel the pressures of finding some direction, a career or a purpose to their beautiful fragile existence on this oasis of life, in its vast space of nothingness.
Some people just know what they want, or at least what they think they want. I am unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately not one of these people. I left school and university with a feeling of uncertainty and a lack of direction. A feeling of: “Now what!?”. After some serious deliberation and a few months of quiet concern I stumbled across this quote: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor.
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Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” H. Jackson brown Jr. Sure it’s a bit cheesy, but it must have come to me at the right time as it all became clear to me. I need to explore, not only the world, but also myself. I was caught up in this small bubble of a society that was restricted to the vast unimaginable possibilities of our beautiful little blue planet.
Before this epiphany that lead to my teaching adventures I didn’t know that 5 people could fit on a scooter, or that beer can be bought for the equivalent of R2.50, or that there are insects the size of my feet. I certainly never knew Crocs could be so trendy.
I didn’t know about the incredible satisfaction one feels after teaching children. I didn’t think I would ever have time to learn guitar or try out DJ-ing in Vietnam (note: My alias – “Captain Funk”). I wouldn’t know that I suck at meditation; let’s not mention yoga, I have the attention span of a monkey addicted to Redbull and the flexibility of a block of ice.
Not only did teaching and travelling in thailand open my eyes and mind to the things I had never seen but also to the things that I had seen and become accustomed to or taken for granted. Like drinkable tap water, or electricity that doesn’t shut down every hour or the incredible wonder of Table Mountain that I would drive past without a second thought. Even something as simple as fresh air.
It’s not all rainbows and butterflies either; there have certainly been times when I’ve sat back and thought, I could be back home on my couch watching another episode of How I Met Your Mother.
Like the time I crashed my motorbike, or the time a Thai thaijitsu migit man knocked me senseless – for a rake, or the time one of my students thundered (aggressive chunder) on my freshly tumble dried pants. But all these experiences become learning opportunities in time, in some way or another. For example, next time a Thai guy asks you for a rake while you are searching for a phone in the sand at 1am on Koh Pan Nang… Just hand it over.
I’m not saying that exploration and travelling is suited to everybody, or that you should stop what your doing right now and hop on the next plane to anywhere; but I implore you to push your own boundaries and fight your way out of a comfort zone that may have become invisible to you.
Cause at the end of the day… YOLO.
But y’all already know though. Errr Day Errr Day.