My friend told me I’m the most intuitive person she knows, which was both shocking and endearing because anyone who knows me knows that I can be very indecisive.
Do I want a manicure with pink nail polish or purple? I’ll pick pink and then ten minutes later be like, “actually, let’s do purple.” Going to a restaurant with me is a feat you have to be ready for. I’ll debate between two items and ask the server their opinion, and then ultimately end up going with a third option I didn’t even know I wanted. However, when it comes to colossal choices in my life, I always have a gut instinct that sings loudly. It chants “HEY, DON’T DATE THAT GUY!” or “GIRL, LEAVE YOUR JOB AND TRAVEL!”
Then, of course, I like to fight this instinct. Is my gut REALLY a trustworthy source? Like who put you in charge? Isn’t my brain the rational one? Turns out, my gut’s always right. Every time. And when I think she is wrong (yes, I have given my gut the all-knowing female quality), she always turns out to be right a few days/weeks/months later.
So, despite my one million excuses I made up for myself to stay in Chicago in a job I didn’t necessarily love, my intuition was a steady force guiding me towards my soul’s journey of going abroad. I would find myself on travel and teaching blogs late at night, watching videos on what to pack while I was at work, and fantasizing about walking the streets of Asia on my commute home. To deny myself the opportunity to travel and teach abroad would be neglecting the innermost part of me that makes me feel alive.
In all honesty, I felt stuck. In my life, in my career, in my head. I was miserable. I would constantly ask “is this really what life is?” I was working a job I didn’t like, to pay for an apartment that was close to my job, to come home, workout, make dinner, eat, sleep and do it all again the next day. It was an endless cycle of misery. At least in my head.
Now, I could tell you that if I changed my perspective about my life and my job, it probably wouldn’t have been so bad. I tried to be positive, but it was almost like I knew that if I found true happiness in Chicago, I would never leave to go abroad to fulfill this part of my soul that was craving travel. So, I allowed myself to stay stuck. Which, in the end, wasn’t a bad thing because it forced me to create an escape plan.
Also for the record, it wasn’t all bad. Chicago is an incredible city with countless opportunities for fun. I had amazing friends and family within minutes of me, and a steady routine that I found some peace in. However, at the end of the day, I had this biding feeling that I was missing something.
So, I set out to find that missing piece.
I worked really hard to get myself in a place where I could feel as comfortable as possible going abroad alone. I researched like a mad woman. I would be on travel blogs getting sucked into the vortex of articles upon articles so that any question someone threw at me — “Where are you going to live? What are you going to do there? How are you going to make money? What are you going to pack? — I had an answer to.
While still working at my full-time job, I took an online TEFL course to receive my teaching English certification.
Finally, I was ready.
My lease in Chicago ended in February. So, before then, I worked on selling some of my stuff and packed up the rest to bring to my parents’ house. I am so grateful my parents allowed me to store my things in their home; however, selling/donating all of your belongings or putting them in storage are also viable options if you don’t have the luxury of free storage.
Then, February 18, 2020 I flew to Bali, Indonesia to get my 200-hour yoga teacher certification. Afterward, the plan was to spend a month exploring Bali before I headed over to Chiang Mai, Thailand to teach English.
This plan was more for peace of mind because with the rampant Coronavirus that swept the world, this plan had to change. However, traveling teaches you to roll with the punches.
As of now, I am residing in Bali waking up every morning grateful and appreciative I followed my intuition.
Thanks for jumping along on the journey! All of your support keeps me going.
If you’re curious why I didn’t come home during the Coronavirus pandemic, you can read more in part 2.