I love the expression that goes something like: “When things don’t work out the way you planned, just yell ‘PLOT TWIST’ and move on.”
This has been the theme of my life the last year, and I’m totally okay with it.
Change, flexibility and openness all leads to more growth- something I want to run towards (not away from). Through all that has lead me to this journey I’ve taken and all that has transpired since I left, I have learned to find confidence in the path. I keep faith in the road before me- even though I often can’t see more than a few steps ahead of me. I’ve learned to value the twists and turns and unexpected avenues. It’s all part of the experience. It’s all part of this roller coaster of a journey I’m on- and I wouldn’t dare get off yet.
I’m almost 9 months into my year of travel and (up until the other day) I had a set plan for my final 4 months abroad. I planned to spend May through August in South East Asia. I even had plans for someone special to meet me in Singapore.
Everything looked good… But something was tugging away at me inside. Something wasn’t right as I continued down the planned path. I stopped feeling happy and excited when I researched where in SE Asia I would go next. Usually looking up flights is exciting for me- but something shifted.
When I came back from Greece and Ireland last month, Thailand felt different to me. I felt like I was suffocating in Bangkok (a city I LOVE) after breathing in all the open air of Ireland.
Look at the difference…you can see why I went into shock overload, right?
Walking around the city in Bangkok this time, I felt overheated to my core after the perfect cool temperatures in Greece. Everything felt different this time around (this being my FIFTH time back to Thailand)- and not for the better. I longed to be elsewhere but couldn’t figure out where or why or how.
My gut was trying to tell me something and every second that I ignored it, new stresses kept coming at me.
I’ve been talking about getting in sync with what I call my “internal compass” for months now. It’s that thing we all look to inside to help us make a decision. It’s our gut, our intutiion, our sixth sense. Mine has become my main source of direction these days- a massive improvement over my previous lifestyle where I relied mostly on my head and my ego to call the shots. Now, I lean completely on…or into, rather, my internal compass to direct me on where my next steps should be.
My plan to stay in South East Asia was not in line with what my internal compass was telling me. Even though it is the safest and smartest financial decision to stay in South East Asia, I didn’t come all this way to be ignoring my gut instincts. I was (am) being drawn somewhere completely different.
As I’ve sat down and looked at flights countless times over my last 8 months, South Africa constantly came to my mind. I brushed it off and said I would “visit Africa another time- another year.” But why does it have to be another time or another year?
So I sat down (and listened to my internal compass) and reworked my budget. Can I afford to go to Africa? If I tweak a couple things in my budget, turns out I absolutely can!
Am I ready for a completely new continent like Africa? Yep! Do I need to meet any specific visa requirements or immunization records? Nope!
So, why the hell not?
Click, click, booked! Done.
It’s amazing what’s possible when you listen to your gut or your “inner compass.”
As soon as I even began looking up the flights to Cape Town I got that familiar feeling… Excited butterflies followed by pure bliss when I was issues my E-ticket. And THAT is what keeps me on track. I know I’m going the right direction when I get that feeling.
I like to think I’m mastering an art. The art of following your intuition and staying true to yourself.
And thanks to my strong (and now very loud) internal compass, tonight I’ll be flying to South Africa.