Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Next Stop....

Exactly one month from today, I will be on a plane going to a place over 8,000 miles away to begin the next chapter of my life. I'm truly thankful for everyone who has been more than supportive with my "off the beaten path" kind of lifestyle that I have chosen to live...

These past 5 months that I spent at home have been great. Other than the near anxiety attacks in grocery stores and on the freeway, dealing with this technology madness ("there's an app for that...blah blah blah) and not being the special white girl with royal treatment here, my readjustment issues were relatively minor. Being back in the US was rejuvenating for me, and just what I needed. Warm showers, carpet, washing machines, not having to tuck a mosquito net in at night, dancing at Phish, cuddling with my dog without being judged, Zumba, Yoga, cross country skiing, eating yummy food, etc. All of this has been wonderful, but what made my stay truly special was being able to spend time with all of my friends and family that I haven't seen in years. Whether it be a year, or 4, we all caught up right where we left off. 
My beautiful family @ Christmas
The inevitable has come, and my time at home is slowly coming to an end. As most of you know, I've been called (by my own heart) to go abroad again. The world absolutely fascinates me, and settling down just isn't a thought in my mind yet. For me, traveling is more than just sightseeing or learning a new culture. It is the freedom and inspiration along with the changes and growth within myself; both intellectual and spiritual.  My mind and spirit evolve with each new experience I have, or new person that I meet. Meeting people of different cultures, helps deepen the understanding that we are all one. Although from different cultures, we still have the same wants, needs, purposes, and desires.

My heart has been a wonderful guide to me thus far, so I will continue to listen to it. By not following my heart would be depriving it, along with my mind and spirit, the stimulation and passion that it needs.

"Now what?" A question we begin to hear the day we graduate from High School. 11 years later, I am still searching for answers to this question. However, this time with less stress and anxiety. Now this question exhilarates me. The more that I break out of my comfort zone, the more I understand just how much potential and capability we all have. It's simple: If you can dream it, you can do it. ( I think that maybe was a Nike ad from the 90s or something .. I don't know... but the corny phrase is still stuck with me.)

Well, with all that being said .....I've been called to go live in the beautiful city of Kunming, China, the capital of the Yunnan Province. After actively searching for the ideal place for me to spend the next year, and make some money doing so, I have finally made my decision.  My departure date = February 18.

To give you an idea where Kunming is;
The city on the map that is closest to the border of Laos
Kunming is located on the eastern edge of the Himalaya Mountains. It is nicknamed "The City of Eternal Spring." Kunming is described as having a "laid-back" atmosphere (as far as Chinese cities go), and is in close proximity to nature and good trekking. There I will be teaching English at a private language center to children ages 3-12. There are currently 15 foreign teachers working there. Talking to a few Americans who are currently there helped reassure me of my decision.

After a year of teaching there, I hope to save enough money to spend 6 months afterwards backpacking and volunteering with local organizations throughout Southeast Asia. Of course while I'm there, I hope to ride an elephant, scuba dive off the coast of Thailand, participate in a 10 day silent meditation retreat in a Buddhist temple tucked deep in the Himalayas, and roam the jungles of Vietnam pretending I'm Forest Gump. =) Of course, visitors are always welcome and encouraged!

From a village of 700 people to a city of 6 million, this experience will be, to say the least, much different than my last. I hope you continue to follow me on this new and unique journey back into the world. Thanks again for your support.

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