Go See Write is excited to introduce our newest contributing writer, Alana Morgan from Paper Planes!
About five years ago, I came across a quote saying you’re more likely to regret the things you don’t do, than the things you do. At the time, I was toying with the idea of leaving my home in Seattle and moving to Thailand to work and travel. I wanted to get out of town and explore more, but I wasn’t completely sure where I should go or how I should start.
For me, the line about regret rang true. I knew what I didn’t want anymore – a daily two-hour commute, clients calling me at 11:00 p.m., staying in a place where I had spent most of my life – and, though I didn’t know exactly what it was I wanted instead, I was sure if I stayed on the same path I would regret it. I could handle going to Southeast Asia and then realize it had been a mistake before heading back home, but I couldn’t be okay with forever wondering, “What if…?” and realizing I had never made a move.
Now, what I initially thought would be 6-8 months in Southeast Asia, has turned into having a home base in the northern Thai town of Chiang Mai for the past three years. I’ve also traveled throughout Southeast Asia and Europe on my own, created new work opportunities and experiences for myself I never even knew were possible, and collected a variety of friends from around the world.
I don’t regret it.
The past several years have been more uncertain and tumultuous than the previous two, but they’ve also been substantially more interesting, eye opening, soul satisfying and, quite simply, fun. Instead of getting stuck in a rut and going through the motions of my daily routine on autopilot, living abroad and making an effort to travel regularly has made me more active, present and appreciative of my life. It’s widened my perception of the world while also focusing my understanding of how I want to fit into it. Ultimately, I want to live, work and travel on my terms – easy right?
Living so far from home, working for yourself and not having a set ‘5 year plan’ is rarely simple. I’m not on perpetual vacation, as some would like to believe, and lack stability can slowly wear you down. Living in a foreign country is equally fascinating and frustrating, often at the same time, and I’ve picked a place where I will never, ever fit in.
That said, making time to travel, whether it’s a 2-week vacation, year-long trip or even moving abroad is more attainable than what many people think – it just depends on if they’re committed to making it a reality. Are you?