It’s been almost a year since I left behind the stable comfort of a full time job, a great apartment and the unique experience of living overseas. The best of my 20s seem to have been spent in China without me never planning it. It was a 6-year roller coaster and I have nothing but to thank my experience of living in China as a catalyst to shaping me into rather fearless person that I am today.
I say fearless because I’ve had so many friends that tell me that I’m ‘brave’ for making the choices I’ve made. Some of which ask me how did I make this happen or that they wouldn’t be capable of doing the same shift. Irony being that for me I always felt it was a natural progression, moving forth while learning about myself.
This is entirely possible for everyone, the fear lives in your mind but it isn’t real. We all crave to satiate something we cannot put into words but it drives you.
One of the best advices I’ve ever received came from someone who was once my boss but I now look up to as a mentor. It was my second year in China; I was living in Guangzhou and wanted to get out of China for the big Chinese New Year break. I didn’t have many friends in Guangzhou at the time so I was hesitant to simply pack a bag and go travelling alone especially to somewhere I didn’t know anyone. She said, “What could go wrong? Just keep your passport and credit card/money safe and you are fine.”
That one line gave me the necessary confidence to plan my first solo-backpacking trip. It was a marvelous experience that taught me so much about myself, my limits, my boundaries and also my flexibility when things did not go as planned. I knew I wanted to have the element of travel to be present always an option on my day to day. Not just a holiday getaway or used in condensed chunks from work.
The universe did conspire and presented me such opportunities, I was travelling, mostly for work but I got to experience a different type of China, rack up travel miles, meet unique characters and made friends for life. Though the difference was that the itinerary wasn’t up to me – I was off a real beaten track and was enjoying the country from the POV of someone living there and not just passing through. I was able to interact with the local people on a daily basis. Unlike if you were just travelling for a week or a few months. The word that pops to mind is ‘immersed travel’.
Immersed travel was fine for a long while, I was able to make my own decisions and plan what to do next but the last 2 years in China were tough for me, I was making the money but for a bizarre reason unhappy. Perhaps I was just comfortable with where I was, living in China was no longer a big mystery in the sense I knew how to do things, there was no challenge left or even emotional wealth. I didn’t see myself there and had drifted away from pursuing my own interests or the more material aspect.
I then decided that I needed an out, needed a do-over, I didn’t feel like going back home to Brazil. That place was known to me, it’s my home country and I have been away too long to be able to readapt, thriving on the unpredictability that lies ahead. My full time job required me to work brain-numbing hours, literally sitting in a cubicle for hours, emailing, cold calling leads and my attention span seemed to be depleting from it. Essentially, I felt no real skill was being gained from the job, that I was moving further from what I would like to do.
The remedy? Go someplace new, a reset button if you will. Pack it up, save what I could and make my bold move. Luckily I had no one depending on me financially. Right or wrong, I would be responsible for it. A kind of freedom that most of us crave to have – to make any choice or all choices! Both exciting and daunting considering the furthest that I had planned was to where was my next one-way ticket destination.
Which is why I started to start my blog, Museflux.com, to keep my friends/family that supported me through my choice updates on how I was doing. Hopefully to even inspire others that it’s okay to take this plunge. I went from China to Norway, the megacity to countryside, and the fast pace to slow pace. The major reason being that I wanted to learn skills that I never had before such as how to start a proper fire from scratch or how to build a chicken coop from scratch.
Travel surprisingly is even more in the cards. They came to me and I believe it’s because I took the leap of letting go of the consequences, sans overthinking. In this past year I went to Norway, UK, Brazil, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand with prior planning being about a few weeks before for each of those destinations. My life has transformed massively and I take things in a stride that I haven’t before – I am learning to take autonomous control of my life but enjoying the world touring at the same time. It’s definitely less predictable but more riveting then rushing to clock in to a desk job and then pine away at the minutes until you are able to clock out.
This was a contest submission by Yone Liau from museflux.com.