How do you say "Goodbye" in Thai?*

Next week, I’ll be boarding a one-way flight to Bangkok and embarking on an indefinite excursion across Southeast Asia. I’m incredibly excited for this next step in my life and embracing the adventure of the open road. Wondering why I’m leaving?

First, similar to the vast majority of young people with desk jobs, I have been infected by a strong sense of wanderlust to travel and see more of this wondrous world. Out of the 23+ years that I’ve inhabited this earth, I'm ashamed to admit that I’ve been in the United States for 99.5% of the time!  Specifically, I’m ridiculously excited to learn about the culture of the Mekong Region first hand, experience natural wonders of their environment, and go on some awesome trips ziplining, kayaking, and trekking through the jungles.

Second, as much as I appreciate the corporate comforts of my job, I have a deeply held desire to live life in an adventurous way. While sick and isolated from my friends for 3 days while traveling to Peru earlier this year, I was inspired by the book Vagabonding by Rolf Potts. In it, Potts postulates for the premise of leaving material possessions behind for the wild adventures and life experiences of long-term travel. The limitless possibilities of embracing this mindset was the first step along my journey.

Third, it’s an intellectual journey as much as it’s a physical one. Along the road, there are three main areas I’ll be specifically working on:

  1. After meditating regularly for almost a year now, I’m excited to immerse myself in its cultural roots. I’ll be traveling to rural areas of Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia where many traditional buddhist customs remain intact, undisturbed by hundreds of years of industrial and technological development.
  2. It’ll also be an opportunity to read and write. My kindle is completely stocked up, and I’ll be writing a new post on this blog once a week for the duration of the trip.
  3. Finally, it's my belief that with today's technology, few individuals have greater potential to positively impact the world than software engineers. Recently, I discovered Ruby on the Beach and realized I could learn software development….from experts….in an immersive learning environment…. in BALI, Indonesia?? Sounds like a great life experience. Count me in.

To close, this passage from Walt Whitman’s song of the open road perfectly embodies my current mindset:

From this hour I ordain myself loos’d of limits and imaginary lines, Going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently,but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me.

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*Title credit goes entirely to Jenna Waltersdorf