While I could lie through my teeth and tell you that life is 100% amazing and beautiful now that I’ve quit my job and live in an island paradise, that’s not really my style. I’m more of a realist; I’m well-versed in the fact that major life changes take some time adapting to. With that in mind, here is my completely honest, vulnerable truth of my first twenty-four hours in Haad Yuan, Koh Phangan.
It took eighteen hours of sleepless travel to get here. I’m semi-settled into my new home for the month after one tuk tuk; two airplanes; a bus; a boat ride sitting next to a crowing rooster; a side car (at the insistence of a graying-haired man and his half-naked, body-painted girlfriend); a taxi bus; a truck; and a trek across the beach with some help from an extremely nice new barefooted yogi friend who I will forever be grateful for for carrying my thirty kilo suitcase on his head.
To give you a mental picture of my new home, imagine that really bad Leo movie, The Beach, but with several dozen tourists and a bamboo tattoo shop. Now imagine my mental state after calling one of the biggest mega-cities in the world home for the past fourteen months and moving to said beach. Half of me is feeling completely grateful sitting here listening to Jimi Hendrix on the porch of my bungalow in a coconut grove. The other tired and dehydrated half of me that has not gotten any physical activity besides hauling heavy luggage around Asia for days and slapping mosquitos off every inch of my body is wondering what the heck I’m doing. I clearly need to meditate more before my first yoga class tomorrow.
At the moment, I’m sitting with my feet in a hammock on my front porch, overlooking coconut trees and Buddhist statues. I’ve been daydreaming about this moment since August – the point at which I was questioning whether or not to extend my contract in Korea for another two months. So why am I having to stifle that voice inside my mind questioning whether or not I made a mistake?
It might be all the ants I’m squishing on my computer screen right now. It might be the spider and cockroach as big as my face that greeted me on my bed when I turned on the light of my bungalow yesterday. Maybe it’s the army of giant ants, egg-laying mosquitos, and the hornet’s nest filling the bathroom. It could even be the foot-long lizard that stared me down while I ate pad thai last night and then came back to bark at me like a watchdog-style alarm clock this morning (as a returning visitor, he needs a name, by the way. Suggestions are welcome).
Why did I leave my cushy heated floors and subway seats, flushing toilets, paid-for apartment, readily-available internet and grocery stores, and amazing friends in Korea for this? Responsible Me is yelling at Other Me. While I’m anxiously awaiting my yoga course to start tomorrow and bumming out around this secluded, bug-infested jungle island, all Other Me can reply is, “Well… at least my hair looks dang good.”
I know the real answer for me coming here, and I know it was not a mistake. However, like any mentally stable person who quits a perfectly good job and leaves behind their family, friends, and the comforts of home to take on the adventures of life, I am temporarily questioning my actions and sanity.
I do believe in my heart that this was the right decision. After all, I’ve been waiting for this moment for seven months, preparing my body and mind like it’s my job. For today, I will do my best to yogi out, be in the here and now, and stop stress-eating M&Ms.