I just returned from my solo 60 days South East Asia adventure. What an amazing experience it was. I originally planned to focus this trip on mindfulness education – interviewing and recording other peoples comments on what mindfulness means to them and how they would like to see it incorporated into the schools more.
I originally planned to focus this trip on mindfulness education – interviewing and recording other people’s comments on what mindfulness means to them and how they would like to see it incorporated into the schools more. The more I learned from reading and conversations, the more I realized that my mindfulness research needed to start with my own personal experience of it.
Mindfulness education in the schools will not be taken seriously unless the teachers and staff are practicing mindfulness in their own lives. True teaching and learning come from setting an example that others want to follow. If I am not fully engaged in a mindful life, others will not trust me to teach them about it.
I did not get the Teach For America grant, but I used this as an opportunity to become more mindful of my finances so I could still afford my adventure. I realized how much the things in my life controlled my time and what things were more vital than others. I cut back on buying clothes, food, and drinks. I began the process of minimalizing the items I owned; selling what I could to add to the funds. I began working to sell my art work at local art events. I opened my home to a friend in need and began splitting my rent. I started a kick starter to try and gain more funds.
All of this paid off and I was able to save roughly 2,000$.
I considered blogging while on the trip but realized that I wanted to be in the moment as much as possible and not carry any extra weight. Everything began to have more weight in my life as I began to realize how little we all truly need to survive.
I am a magpie clothing addict and deciding what clothes to get rid of, or what clothes to bring on the trip, was an embarrassing obsession. I spent hours on Pinterest and travel blogs reading about how people packed their bags for their adventures. I read about appropriate clothing for the countries I wanted to visit and packed my backpack finally with an almost gross level of pride.
I wanted to make my journey as open to adventure as possible, so I booked nothing but the flight into Bankok, the flight back and a Couchsurfing stay in Bankok for 5 days. I refused to read many travel books because I wanted to find things out as I encountered them. The only planning that I did was to figure out which countries and cities I wanted to see and the order in which to see them.
I perfected the list many many times as I learned more. The main struggle was scheduling a visit to the Mindfulness Project, the organization that I decided would be the lynchpin to the mindfulness part of my journey.
I emailed the Mindfulness Project back and forth, curious to whether they truly existed or not. The emails were sporadic, I discovered why later, and scheduling the ten-day required experience was difficult. I was determined to though because this project was exactly what I was looking for. I would not hear back from them till the trip had already started.
Fear was also present a lot during this preparation time. Traveling alone was intimidating, traveling across the world- petrifying. I struggle with GAD or Generalized Anxiety Disorder and ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder, which reared their heads during the adventure as well, but we will come to that later. Many times I was tempted to throw in the towel but fought through. I had so many people telling me to go and the same number of people sending me articles about female tourists dying in South East Asia.
The more people tried to convince me this journey was impossible, the more I wanted to prove them wrong.
On June 7th I left for Bangkok and began my journey.