Things have changed quite drastically after the last trip. A new journey is about to start, but this time there is only one traveller. And the trip will be only 6 months instead of the whole year tour which was the plan with my ex.
The last couple of years after us living on Koh Phangan I have also started to go through other quite major changes. Call it age 30 crisis or what you will, but I realized I've never tried if my wings will hold me and let me fly solo. I've always been in long relationships and based my life on something else than myself: Being a partner. Being a student. The last two years have been an ever-deepening trip into my self, a soul searching journey. I've gotten into yoga, meditation and spirituality. And have worked hard to recognize my previous patterns of behaviour and try to change them where needed.
This journey I'm about to embark on is a continuation of this "let's try to discover who this girl called Lilje really is" venture. No, I don't think I need to go anywhere to find myself or find happiness. Happiness lives in me and I could pursue it without a coconut in my hand while lounging in a beach bar on a tropical beach somewhere. But if there's a possibility to enjoy the said coconut on the said beach, then why not?
Plus I really do need a break from work. I've been a translator since 2007 and have gotten deeply routined in the same kind of work. While it has been quite easy money most of the time and allows me to choose my working hours and go gallivanting around the globe if my finances can take the hit, it does nothing for my soul. Also sitting in front of my computer every day is very very lonely (and it's killing my back). I crave to have a team, doing something worthwhile together. Or to find out, if I could find a way to make a living of some of my passions (cooking, baking, yoga...). I still have no clue about so many things, but I hope by removing myself from the comforts of home I also change my brainwaves and set them coursing into unknown territories and exploring what the next step in life could be.
One of the biggest goals on this trip will also be to learn how to make decisions without freezing in panic and then ending up choosing nothing at all or letting others take the lead. It is a trait of mine I really don't enjoy: feeling that whatever I choose, I choose wrong. If I choose to go somewhere, the best party or the most amazing ruins or the most serene beach is somewhere else. So I freeze, scrutinize everything into the tiniest of details and, needless to say, end up no happier as a result.
The thing is, the best party is right here. The most amazing ruins are the ones I'm currently seeing. And the most serene beach is the one that's stretching there right in front of me. And it's just purely sad, if I cannot see the things that are right there to be enjoyed with all my senses because I'm too worried that The Paradise Is Somewhere Else. It's all about mindfulness and the mindset of feeling that wherever I am, that's exactly where I'm supposed to be at that point in time. The other mystical Better Places just simply don't exist for me at that moment, since I cannot be in multiple places at the same time. My reality is the one I'm currently experiencing, at this moment. And by thinking about What Could Be I'm living in a fantasy land and not in the moment. This is something I really want to pay attention to on the trip: To really BE where I am. To try not to have this sense of hurry to get to the next (potentially Much More Amazing) place quickly. To not feel ill at ease wherever I am and not to have a constant itch in my feet that urges me gogogo faster, move on, be on my way already. I want to slow it down. Really pause and smell the flowers, or whatever there is to smell. To breath. To have the sense of space and time; that I have both in abundance.
Sure, as my travel time is limited, it pays off to pick out the sweet spots I want to see. But whatever I do, I won't be able to cram everything in. I can't do workaway/wwoof, endless workshops on Koh Phangan, learn Ayurvedic massage, do cooking courses in India, live and practice in a variety of ashrams, do vipassana, experience all the places in India currently on my list (Pushkar, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Ellora caves near Aurangabad), Kerala, Gokarna, Hampi, Goa...), see and dive Spice Islands in Indonesia, go do some volunteer work in Nepal.... the list goes on and on. I will have to make decisions, and pick and choose what I can do in my limited amount of time. And more importantly, choose only a couple of these things, and be genuinely OK with my choices, not ending into endless second guessing loops which not only throw me off balance and disturb my peace of mind but also effectively prevent me from enjoying what I actually get to do and experience.
One of the things I usually always did before a trip is to plan everything to the tiniest detail, and then end up disappointed in myself if I don't manage to accomplish everything. This time I've consciously taken another tactic and tried to plan as little as possible so as to leave room for adventure and spontaneity. Also digging up too much information only makes the endless "what ifs" of choosing "wrong" that much worse. It is now exactly 9 days before my trip and I'm only now letting myself start charting out the things I might want to see and do. And I'm already regretting that I started so "early", since the good old panic of not having enough time, of choosing wrong, of feeling let down by myself is starting to rear its head. So, I'm taking a step away, breathing, writing this blog post instead of feeling sad about all the places I won't be able to see and not feeling joyously excited of the stuff I will do. Meditating and exercise always help, so I did both this morning.
So, this is the background. Stay tuned for next post: the practicalities.