Why I Chose Thailand

I’ve been asked that question a lot. And until recently, I hadn’t quite developed my thoughts enough to put it into words, but I think after 3 months I have gained insight into it. Plain and simply put I wanted to experience what it felt like to truly be alive. I often felt like I was sleep walking through life. Just going through the motions. My life was… too easy. I’ve always done the “right” thing. From being responsible, to being in bed early, or not over eating too many chocolate cookies. Oh and I’m really in to routines! I was, in my eyes, boring. For many I’m sure this seems like a good thing, and don’t get me wrong, I know having my stuff together is anything but a bad quality, but I felt as if I was missing something. I knew there was more to life beyond the confinements of my comfort zone. I think I have my family to accredit that to. I was raised from a young age to believe that dreams can in fact become reality. I was just reflecting on the fact that 10 years ago this July, my mom, dad, brother and I spent 20 days riding our bicycles over 1,000 miles, from Colorado to Wisconsin. I was 12, Kyle was 10. I’m still amazed, probably even more amazed now, that the 4 of us accomplished that. Although I have to admit I don’t remember loving that experience at the time, I know it has shaped a huge part of the person that I am today.

Prior to coming to Thailand, I remember packing my little blue car full of my possessions to bring them to my parents house in Wisconsin. Upon loading my car, I found my “vision board” (something I created that had goals for my life pasted on it). The relates to the power of the Secret and the law of attraction (thank you dad for making me watch that at 16, even though, once again, I didn’t appreciate it at the time.) Glancing at the vision board I had created a couple years ago, I was amazed at how many things on there I had already accomplished. From getting a degree in teaching, to running a marathon, to low and behold owning a Ford Focus (I didn’t even remember that being on there!), to the heart that represented learning how to love myself and others, to my picture of the Eiffel Tower, that represented the yearning I had to see more of the world.

I remember being at UNC and wanting to study abroad one summer in Thailand, but it kind of fell to the wayside, and my desire dissipated. So when deciding where my life was going next, it seemed like the best time to learn about myself, to learn about others, to develop more in to a strong, brave person. So I chased the dream that sparked a couple years ago, and thank God I did.
I can’t say I’m done learning about myself. I don’t think we ever are. Or that I’m happy every day all the time, because I don’t think anyone ever is. But I can say I’m happier than I’ve ever been. The funny thing is, the things I always thought would make me happy in life, really aren’t the things that make me happy at all. My happiness isn’t related to the way I look, or in the miles I can run, or what I have, or don’t have. My happiness is accredited to the small differences I get to make on the hearts of others. I’m not talking about a profound world changing difference. I’m talking about the smile I see spread across someone’s face when I tell them I love their shoes, or they have a beautiful smile, or giving my students a hug, bringing my co-teacher chocolate just because I want to. Then there’s the differences Thailand has already made on my life. Those differences are found quite simply in happiness. Happiness from a sunset that takes your breath away, a beautiful waterfall, new friendships, a night out late, breaking the routine, a family that loves me, learning what it means to believe in myself, and a student telling me, “teacher Kayla, you’re beautiful,” those are the cracks I’ve found that my happiness is hidden in.

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