When I graduated college and made the decision to move to Thailand to teach English rather than follow the more traditional route of accepting a 9-5 job in the States, the response was not exactly what I’d hoped for. While I knew my family and friends were excited for me, they were also scared, confused, and worried (rightfully so, I suppose). As I told more and more people about the journey I was about to take there were always two follow-up questions: “Why?” and “Are you scared?” Without a doubt, no matter who I told, these questions always seemed to keep reappearing. I developed a couple of responses that would become my go-to phrases when asked these questions. Phrases like “because I want to travel” and “no, I’m not really scared, just excited”. While neither of these answers were lies, I guess I wasn’t telling the whole truth. Now that everyone reading this is thousands of miles away, I guess I’ll give you all the real answers.
Why? I’ve thought a lot about this question over the past week. During my long layover in Hong Kong I even wrote out a couple sentences about how I want to help people and make a difference. While that is definitely still a huge factor, it is not the only thing that lead me here. It wasn’t until we were in class yesterday and other people were sharing their stories about why they were here, that I realized why I was actually here. If I am being completely honest with myself, I did this for me (I mean that in the least self-centered way possible). I wanted to take this time to learn about myself and be able to stand on my own two feet. I want to prove to myself that I can overcome challenges and go through hard times without the comfort of home and family to turn to at any given second. So while I of course want to make a difference in these kids’ lives, I also want to figure out exactly who I am before I decide what I want to do with the rest of my life.
Are you scared? The honest answer: absolutely. While I’ve been pretending to have it all together and be some sort of fearless 22-year-old, I’ve been freaking out a little bit. Of course I’m scared to move to a new country where I don’t know anyone and I haven’t got the slightest clue how to be a teacher to kids who don’t even speak my language. However, the only thing scarier than moving across the world, would be not moving across the world. It scares me far more to stay home and always wonder “what if” for the rest of my life. So while I am scared, I know this is exactly where I need to be at the moment.
So if anyone reading this is thinking about moving abroad after college (highly unlikely considering I’m pretty sure the only one reading this is my mom), you should develop your own phrases to answer these questions, because I promise you’ll have to answer them at least one hundred times. If you’re still reading this, I’m impressed (and low key flattered) and hope I didn’t bore you too much. Until next time friends.