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Random thoughts: Giving up?

These last 2 weeks have been one thing after another; money stolen from my bag on Koh Rong Island in Cambodia and from influenza to another sickness which required minor surgery.  My trip, you could say, has gone slightly pear shaped.  These events couldn’t have come at a worse time.  Had they happened at the beginning I would have surmounted them and used them as a springboard like I did the other challenges which presented themselves then.  However, now as my bank account dwindles and the draw to begin working on other goals becomes stronger I have to wonder if they are a sign.

I’ve been here a week in Trat, Thailand and I have to say that today might be the first fully lucid day I’ve had, minus the numerous drugs coursing through my system.  It’s been fever, hospital visits, and even a bit of surgery.  I was planning to stay in this town just a couple days, maybe see nearby Koh Kong Island and its beautiful waterfalls by motorbike but things didn’t turn out the way I expected.  Life felt that after 6 months of smooth sailing it was time to throw a few curve balls.

As I mentioned in my last post, Comfort Food, this has been a time of great learning for me.  I’ve figured out a few things about myself that up until know hadn’t been clear to me.  The little bit of hell I’ve lived through has been an overall good thing for me but it has also brought into sharp focus the need to make a decision, and soon.

That decision is what to do next.  I don’t mean in that philosophical sense or the ‘so son, what do you want to be when you grow up,’ but in that down to earth, I’m running low on money and I can do what I want to do but…

Though there are many options open to me I’ve narrowed it down to two.  They are: book a flight home and use the resources I have left to get started on the next stage in my life or continue on to Nepal and see what happens.

It seems like a cut and dry type of decision, right?  I can figure out what most of you would do without much thought but for me things are a bit more difficult.  To me, heading home seems like giving up.

Giving up you ask?  After 6 months of trotting around Southeast Asia kicking ass you really think heading home now would be giving up?  You’ve done so much, seen so much, met so many people, aren’t you satisfied?

I don’t really have an answer to that question.  Satisfied?  Maybe… Do I want more?  Hell yes (I think…).  Do I see the current situation as a challenge that can be overcome?  Yes.

The problem isn’t heading home.  It isn’t the suddenness of the situation.  What has my mind turning cycles like a well used lathe is the motive.  Why am I making this decision?

For me it’s always the ‘why’ of an action that I look at.  Why a person does this, why a person does that.  Many people say I think too much and that I should just leave things at face value, but that’s not me.

If I were to leave for the wrong reason I would look back on my decision with regret.  Like most people I have some regrets in my life and this is not one of those things I wish to have those feelings about.  This trip was supposed to be my climax of living in Southeast Asia, my opus of this part of my life.  If it ends with a fizzle then what was the point (though surgery in this part of the world doesn’t seem like a fizzle, lol)?

Then again if I head to Nepal it’s a completely different set of unknowns, a set of unknowns that appeal to me quite a bit.  I would be in Nepal pretty much broke with the challenge of figuring out how to make money and get back to the U.S.

I’ve noticed that recently as my bank account has dwindled I’ve been a heck of a lot more resourceful as well as productive.  I’ve researched ways to make money, I’ve pounded out article after article, I’ve searched for ways to sell my photography, all because I needed a bit more cash to make the Nepal dream come true.  Bit by bit I was edging closer and closer to my goal using my newfound energy.

Then I had money stolen and got sick.  It felt like someone had taken an ax to my tree and chopped a huge chunk out.  My goal was now twice as far away and I had half as much time to get there and I had only a fraction of the energy necessary to get it done.

That brought me to my current situation of having to make a decision and soon as to what to do next.

Go home, go to Nepal, which will I do?  Will I be able to align my feelings and motives correctly with the decision I make?  Either way things will happen.  Stay tuned for what happens…


5 Responses to Random thoughts: Giving up?

  1. Justin says:

    Too bad you’ll be leaving SouthEast Asia either way…I can’t say for sure, but I’m looking pretty hard at making my way out there before the end of this year :) It’s either there or Antarctica, and if it ends up being there, first stop will almost definitely be Thailand (I haven’t been there since I was 14!)

  2. dad says:

    I’m sorry that so many bad things have happened to you, especially at this time, when you were going to make that last great leap. Weighing the two alternatives in your mind is a good thing. The prospect of you heading for Nepal, as admirable as it may be, to get there almost destitude, with no resources to speak of, is appalling to me. As much as I feel your pain at this point, the thought of you returning to the States, with some resources, seems to me the most logical. When you get back, you need a place to live, a car of some sort, and most important a job. At this point, I believe, you have no goal in mind other than perhaps returning home. You have, at least not to us, disclosed any destination to return to or any opportunity for employment, or how you will live until some of these things come to be. Going forward on your travel will make your return even more difficult You will have enough difficulty coming back here with limited resources, let alone go to Nepal and end up broke. Then what?
    You know Mike, I don’t want to sound preachy, I admire your desire to conquer this last bit, but sometimes we have to give up a part of a dream to face reality. You have hinted at this many times in your notes, and I believe that you are seriously considering returning to the States. Weigh carefully the results of your two choices, then be wise and choose the one that is logical and offers the best opportunities for a future.
    I’m sorry if my note is a downer, but after your last experiences, both Mom and I are very concerned, more than ever, about your health and your safety and your future. I cannot presume to make this decision for you, but I think you know which direction I would recommend. Apparently your running out of money. Don’t go for broke, it’s not worth it, especially being stranded in Nepal. You’d be a long way from home.
    Take care of your self, get well, and make a wise decision. We love you and we’re praying for you.
    Stay in touch. Love…..Dad

  3. Ross Cooper says:

    Hello Mike,
    I’m also sorry to hear of your recent woes. You speak of having just two options,heading home or carrying on to Nepal almost broke. Having spent some time in the part of the world you are considering visiting, I must strongly advise you against arriving in Nepal with no funds. I met many ” broke” foreigners in Nepal and I suspect that,unless they received funds from home,they remain broke in Nepal.
    If you are keen to carry on I would say make some $$ where you are before venturing on. Thailand has many possibilities for Westerners to earn some quick money[teaching English and doing English language voice recordings are a couple of easy options]. Earning decent money in Nepal will be much more difficult, if not nearly impossible. Whatever you decide is your choice. Just try to travel safe and travel smart.
    Your friend Ross

  4. admin says:

    Good luck wherever you chose. I personally prefer Cambodia over Thailand. Something about the heart of the country. Bangkok is crazy for partying but when it comes to enjoying other aspects of a country Thailand is a bit bland in my opinion. Antarctica…now that would be someplace to visit and take pictures…

  5. admin says:

    Hi Ross,
    Thanks for the opinion/advice. If I went to Nepal I wouldn’t expect to make money in the country but rather off the things I would do in the country, photography/writing. Unfortunately things like those wouldn’t pay off for a long time (until publication) so what I thought might be viable isn’t. It’s been a week or so since I wrote that post and things are beginning to sink in. Not getting to Nepal is hurting more and more but, like everyone has said it will be there in the future. Life, however, might have something else in store for me. As for making money in Thailand, it can be done and I have made a decent amount of cash in the short time I was there but…well, I don’t really like Bangkok or Thailand that much. The country just doesn’t vibe with me. No idea why. For know I’ll take my chances back in the US and go from there. A plane ticket to this part of the world is only $1000 and I can easily find work for a teacher in Taiwan or something…not my first choice though…


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