I was talking to a friend recently on the subject of success. I asked, “What does success look like to you?” While they were describing some things to me, something stuck out. They had said the following, “I never thought I would be where I am now… I had all these plans and thoughts about the way my life would look by now and all of it has changed.” It inspired me to write this third article about my time in Thailand. The concept of planning and how we tie it into our lives and how travelling works in conjunction with it. Let’s talk.
In my opinion, past generations have been content following the general path of previous generations, and by that I mean sticking to the “mold”. This mold goes something like this… Find a girlfriend, get married, move in together, buy a dog, buy a house, have kids, work 30 years, retire to have your last 30 years be enjoyed in you red door, white picket fenced house. It’s a prototypical plan that we all follow and expect to have accomplished or be going through at some point in our lives. While that mold still is applicable to some of the millennial generation I think we see a drastic change in most of the millennials. Things like “gap” years or moving abroad, to starting your own company, and so on are now typical paths we can take. We are continuing to push off big life decisions to find paths we are passionate about and to see what this world has to offer.
This concept of a life plan really plays into almost all aspects of our lives. We even schedule our vacations to a “T” and have every last second mapped out of what we want to do. I see the value in scheduling certain aspects of your life and trips, but what happened to spontaneity and impulse decisions? Where is the flexibility?
So, what does this have to do with Thailand? Just as my friend had this life plan, I had a plan for Thailand, where I was going to go and what I was going to see, that all fell apart the third day in. I was finishing up my open water scuba certification and a new friend I had met during diving, was asking what I was going to do next? I had told her about heading north to Chiang Mai and seeing the elephants. Then, fly back to the city to head back to the U.S. to finish off my trip. She responded by telling me to stay south and see the other islands, so on a whim…I did. I loved it!! That night I proceeded to go on a local pub crawl involving multiple bars, a ladyboy show (holy schnikes), multiple fire juggling shows, and even an LED rope light turned jump rope. The following morning came and then I continued travelling with a new group of people that we had met involving scuba trips, GoPro filming, and drinking out of sand bucket all the while not having a plan of what to do or where to go. Had I not taken that opportunity I probably would not have made the friends that I did and not gotten a full experience of the south. It’s amazing what a group of young, ambitious, and adventurous people can find in a foreign country.
Just as my friend did not have her plans go the way she wanted I had my plans change completely as well. Life does not slow down. I know I am only 25, but to this point in my life I cannot believe how quickly the years have gone by. It’s an amazing ride and I am blessed to have been able to do what I have and see the places I have seen. I have always been somewhat impulsive in life, but I too had this concept of the life I wanted. I think now my ideology has changed. We don’t need a perfect plan for life. I have set goals for myself and know what I still value, but trying to put a timeline to these is almost impossible. Life is full of turns and twists. You never know what will happen next and that is the beauty of it, we learn to deal with the hand we are dealt.
Everything happens for a reason. In life we have all these plans and preconceived notions of what we want to do and how we want it to look. I think the biggest challenge we face as young adults is truly defining what we love to do and what is important to us. The same perceptions and plans that our parents define as success or what it looks like may not be the same for you. So I challenge you to go explore and let life deal you what it will. You will never know your true capacity if you’ve never tested. So try something new, do something spontaneous, and get out and find your passion. It may be in the last place you thought you would look…