Six Months Away from the USA
Today officially marks the six-month mark from the day my flight took off from LAX and headed towards China on my way to Vietnam. It is kind of weird to look back at these past six months when compared to any other six months in my life. Before this when I looked at any other six-month period I just saw that time had passed. Sure, I had small changes like a work promotion, moving to new cities or making new friends, but my life always felt like I was just chasing a made up “American Dream.” It was a nice lifestyle and one to be proud of, but I love the un-comfortability that comes with change, new challenges and the unknown.
Taking a moment to look back now I realize that the last six months have been full of change, challenges, new adventures, and a lot of self-growth. There are times when I get lonely or sad and miss my family, especially my dog, Tez. I would be crazier than I already am to say I didn’t know that was going to be a part of my journey before it started. However, the low times are heavily outweighed by the experiences, relationships I’ve developed and internal growth I’ve gained in the last six months.
I have discovered that I love writing creatively about my experiences so I can share it with whomever chooses to read what I post. I’ve also learned to simplify the things I “need” in my daily life and only spend money on things that I know will directly affect my happiness or life in a positive manner.
My time in Vietnam has come to an end for now. I knew it was going to at the end of October because my Visa was running out and I was itching for an adventure. I originally booked a roundtrip ticket to Bali for a short trip to explore a new country with the idea in mind that I would return to Vietnam for a week to buy a bicycle and pedal my way thru Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.
I never expected to get to Bali and change my plans. But I’m living with a flexible schedule right now. So I decided after day one that I was going to stay here for as long as it took to become a decent surfer. I lived in America’s surf capital (Southern California) three different times for almost three years, but only tried surfing on two different occasions with friends. I had always told myself I would make a commitment to learning and never followed through. Well now is the time because I have no need to be anywhere else other than where I want to be. ß Typing that sentence really made me realize what a good life I’m living right now and I would encourage everyone to try living life like this for a year.
On my first day in Bali I decided to go to the beach and begin my surf journey. For a whopping $14.50 I took a one-hour private surf lesson that included my board and jersey rental. My instructor had me standing up on the board in some decent sized waves in no time and I was hooked like an opioid addict. Except this addiction has much better health benefits. Although it is necessary to respect the ocean because it can end in disaster if you’re not careful.
After practicing three more days on my own I had to spend a couple of days bunkered down in an AirBnB apartment to teach English online with VIPKID. After realizing I wasn’t going to get the hours I wanted teaching at an English center in Vietnam I decided to find other ways to supplement my income while still leaving time to travel and explore. The experience with VIPKID has been phenomenal. I teach 1-on-1 private lessons for 25 minutes through a live video chat… thank you technology! Let me know if you have any additional questions about VIPKID if you are one of the many readers I’ve had reach out to me about teaching English abroad.
So for now, I’m going to spend time on a beautiful island in the South Pacific Ocean and concentrate on a lifelong dream of learning to surf. We will see how long it takes me, maybe it takes a lifetime. Or maybe another great adventure comes calling my name at some point and I put my surf bum lifestyle to the side for a bit and concentrate on completing another one of life’s bucket list items.
My lifestyle won’t work for everyone, but after six months of traveling around SE Asia I would at the very least encourage everyone to chase a dream they’ve always dreamt about and find a way to accomplish it. Set a goal and make sure life’s every day distractions don’t get in your way. Achieving your goal is entirely up to you and your desire to get things done. So be self-reliant! As far as anyone has ever proved with science we only get a chance to live one life so why not get out there and LIVE that life even if it means embarrassing yourself in front of everyone.
And just in case you came for the photos. Here are some pictures I have taken during my first 3 weeks in Bali!