I’m not ready … and other excuses to stay put

Written by on April 9, 2012 in 30 Life Crisis, Asia, Blog, Thailand - 32 Comments

Despite the threat of rain and the gray clouds hanging low to our heads, Katie and I have no problem dipping into the luxurious pool at Rachamankha on my first full day at the property. It’s east coast hot and humid.

“What’s your plan?” Katie asks me as we cool our bodies in the water. She’d surprised me a week earlier, when I first arrived to Chiang Mai and was suffering from jet lag. But, our relationship extends back a year earlier, when I was in Sarajevo and in need of help, in need of a friend.

Blinking the water from my eyelashes, I slick my hair back, and look at her.

My plan?

I have no idea.

In an instant, I stammer. One of my best travel friends in the universe has caught me off-guard. Called me out on all of my talk of travel and not staying in one place in a conventional lifestyle.

“D, you say you don’t want to stay in Vegas, so what’s your plan?”

I don’t know.

I falter.

“To move to Thailand, I guess,” I throw out.

My new home?

After all, I knew when I booked my trip to Thailand, I wasn’t just going to volunteer with the elephants. I was scouting Chiang Mai to see if it would make a suitable home.

At a quick few days into my time in the city, I wasn’t sold on it. But, I wasn’t writing it off, either.

“Well, when?”

I don’t know.

“I guess this winter?”

“OK, good.”

“I guess …”

“D, what’s stopping you?” Katie asks, hinting at frustration.

“My cats … money …”

“Those are just excuses.”

I blink. She’s right and I know it.

What IS stopping me?

I don’t have an answer.

“Well, I’m going to say this. If you want to go, you should go. Figure your shit out and leave Vegas. I don’t know why you stay there anyway. It’s not you.”

And, I know she’s right.

For the next four days, I wander through Chiang Mai. Exploring. Getting lost. Trying to imagine myself living in this city.

Could this be my home?

I try to fall in love with the town. To see what other ex-pats see when they come through here.

But, the town isn’t what really calls to me. It’s the elephants.

On my last night, when one of the volunteers gives me a hug goodbye, she whispers in my ear: “I hope all of your dreams come true.”

My eyes water as I whisper goodbye to her and I sit there. Dumbfounded.

Everything isn't always illuminated ...

What are my dreams these days?

Hours before I depart back to Las Vegas, it’s rainy (as per usual) and I’m not looking forward to the long-haul flight back to America. Lucy, the last remaining volunteer in Chiang Mai, and I, head out to help me find a ride back to the airport.

When I convince a tuk tuk driver to drop me for 70 baht, we say our goodbyes and I hop into the open-backed vehicle. As we drive past the moat, the sky opens more, pelting my face with sideways rain.

Like I had done in the pool a few days early, I blink the water away, looking out. Concentrating. Trying … trying so hard … to figure out the next steps in my life.

As I board the flight to Bangkok, I look out towards the lush green mountains shrouded in clouds.

This isn’t the last time I will be in Chiang Mai.

I don’t know anything other than that.

But, I suppose, that’s a good a start as any.

 

About the Author

Diana Edelman is a travel writer and expat currently residing in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She is a former career breaker and long term solo traveler. Today, she helps promote responsible elephant tourism and is the co-founder of #RTTC, a weekly chat on Twitter focusing on responsible tourism. When she isn’t writing, Diana handles the PR and social media for Save Elephant Foundation, which runs the popular Elephant Nature Park. Her writing as appeared in About.com, Thought Catalog, The Huffington Post, Matador Network, Travel + Escape, Luna Luna, Vegas Seven, World Nomads, Viator, CheapOair, OneTravel and more.

32 Comments on " I’m not ready … and other excuses to stay put "

  1. Camels & Chocolate April 9, 2012 at 4:06 pm · Reply

    I love this! I’m a firm believer that everyone makes their own fate, and I love that you’re taking the bull by the horns!

    • Diana April 12, 2012 at 2:52 pm · Reply

      Thank you!! I’m confident my decision is the right one!!

  2. Bobbi Lee Hitchon April 9, 2012 at 4:41 pm · Reply

    Love it D! There is always a reason not to do something. But all those reasons can be sorted! What are your thoughts now? Are you thinking of moving to Chiang Mai seriously?

    • Diana April 12, 2012 at 2:51 pm · Reply

      Hmmm … we shall see!! ;)

  3. Erica April 9, 2012 at 8:04 pm · Reply

    You’re 10 steps ahead of anyone else with the fact you are even thinking of making such a change. Keep that in mind girlie!

    • Diana April 12, 2012 at 2:51 pm · Reply

      I love you!! Change is not easy!!

  4. Jade - OurOyster.com April 10, 2012 at 12:52 am · Reply

    I don’t think I could live there either… it was nice, but Chaing Mai never grew on me either

    • Diana April 12, 2012 at 2:50 pm · Reply

      I hope I fall in love with the city. :)

  5. Christy @ Technosyncratic April 10, 2012 at 8:23 am · Reply

    “I hope all of your dreams come true.”

    What an incredibly beautiful thing to say to someone when you part ways! I hope it’s true for you, and that you figure out what would make you happiest. :)

    • Diana April 12, 2012 at 2:49 pm · Reply

      Oh my gosh — even today when I think of those words, I get really emotional. It was one of the most beautiful and meaningful things anyone could ever say to me.

  6. Christy April 10, 2012 at 8:47 pm · Reply

    I love this story and the way you tell it. “What’s stopping you” can be one of the toughest questions to honestly answer. I think a lot of times it’s just fear. At least that’s the way it is for me.

    • Diana April 12, 2012 at 2:47 pm · Reply

      Thank you, Christy! Fear is definitely the root of what stops most people. It’s funny … the longer I held off making a decision, the more the little things began to dig into me. For example, I would just sit in my apartment and think how much I like it, and how I will miss it. Not a reason to stay put, but slowly, those little things began to hold me back. I think, aside from the fear, it is having the strength to overcome those little things and admit they don’t matter. And, the things that do matter … to look at it and wonder if it is worth the price to pay. I know, even now that I had made a decision, I look at my cats, my friends, my family, and feel so torn.

  7. Abby April 10, 2012 at 11:25 pm · Reply

    Throw good things into the wind, and your fate will follow!!

    • Diana April 12, 2012 at 2:45 pm · Reply

      Wise words, my friend!! xx

  8. Angela April 11, 2012 at 4:00 am · Reply

    Traveling and making big changes is never easy, you will find your way and your places, I understand you need time to figure out what’s best for you, I’m in a kind of the same mood right now ;)

    • Diana April 12, 2012 at 2:45 pm · Reply

      Oh goodness … this went on for months. I just haven’t published the posts yet. Nothing is harder than making that all important “next step” decision.

  9. Margo April 11, 2012 at 1:46 pm · Reply

    It’s great to have people who are on our wavelength who will challenge us and good advice like this — Even if it something we “know” and have no problem encouraging others about, when it comes to ourselves, the unknown is scary…yay. I’m sure it will be a fabulous experience for you!

    • Diana April 12, 2012 at 2:44 pm · Reply

      I am so grateful for Katie!! She loves to challenge me and make me actually put my money where my mouth is. Which is a wonderful thing. :)

  10. Hogga April 12, 2012 at 1:43 pm · Reply

    Gotta love the challenges! If nothing else they keep life interesting!

    • Diana April 12, 2012 at 2:40 pm · Reply

      Amen! Speaking of challenges, let’s do some bucket list stuff while you are in Vegas.

  11. Laura April 14, 2012 at 3:12 pm · Reply

    Although change doesn’t come easy, if it feels right, it feels right and it must be done. :)

    • Diana April 16, 2012 at 12:34 am · Reply

      YES!! So true!!

  12. Stephanie - The Travel Chica April 14, 2012 at 4:17 pm · Reply

    I am learning that we cannot plan everything. Sometimes you need a plan, and sometimes it’s best to just be open.

    • Diana April 16, 2012 at 12:34 am · Reply

      Yes, exactly! Although, getting called out definitely helps!!

  13. Sherry April 16, 2012 at 7:55 pm · Reply

    Totally! All great adventures start with a dream (or idea). When the time is right, you’ll feel it. At least your not just sitting around waiting for something to happen. You are actually out there looking at the alternatives and seeking out what is best for you. So glad for that.

    • Diana April 18, 2012 at 5:37 pm · Reply

      Exactly. I think you know exactly when it is time to make that change.

  14. Ali April 26, 2012 at 1:02 pm · Reply

    The good thing is, even if you decide to move there and eventually realize it’s not for you, you can change your mind and go somewhere else. You’re not stuck. That’s what the decision to quit your job was about, right? More flexibility, more freedom, being your own boss.

    • Diana April 26, 2012 at 1:41 pm · Reply

      Absolutely! There is such a beauty in not being stuck!! Yes, ultimately, the reason I quit my job was because I wanted to be in control and work for myself. I have found out I don’t enjoy working for other people.

  15. Andrew April 30, 2012 at 3:36 pm · Reply

    “What do you want to be when you grow up?” “”I’ll let you know if I ever grow up.”

    Bah, it is all a bit random and a bit getting stuck in the system on how life seems to run. Make decisions and you are ahead of most that choose not to.

    • Diana April 30, 2012 at 3:54 pm · Reply

      Ha ha. The age old question. I STILL don’t know the answer to it!

  16. Sandra May 1, 2012 at 7:33 am · Reply

    I can definitely relate to you on this one. I’ve been in the process of making a change for almost a year now and it is not easy to make those big moves. (I’m an American living in Sweden with an Australian husband and we are trying to decide where to go next!) Best of luck to you on your journey.

    • Diana May 1, 2012 at 1:49 pm · Reply

      Thank you so much, Sandra! I am excited for what the future holds!

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