You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place. // Miriam Adeney
I’m currently on a train in Scotland, rolling through the lush green countryside. There are deep blue-grey lochs on my left and clean white light filtering through the many windows in my car.
This is my life, or at least it has been for the past 5 years. I somehow find myself in the most beautiful places, usually by myself, or all to myself, if you frame it that way.
It’s my 28th birthday this Saturday. The past years have been a whirlwind of travel memories, some of my strongest friendships, losses, and countless new beginnings.
One of my goals on The Atlas Heart is to break down travel misconceptions or judgments about places and ideas. Perhaps it could be that destination that everyone warns you not to visit because of how dangerous it is, or maybe you yourself had preconceived notions that were proven wrong once you arrived to where you were going.
My aim is to present a variety of different opinions and experiences through the eyes of other travelers. It’s important to hear travel stories from all different perspectives in life, I call it seeing the world through a kaleidoscope lens.
I never expected 2017 to be a year to myself, but then again, I guess you never really know what life will bring you with each new year.
I should know better by now.
Even though I didn’t expect it to be a year to myself, I can say with full clarity now that I’m so very glad that it was. This was the year that I found my independence again, understood fully what I deserve in my life, and embraced my alone time.
I’m someone who is already pretty good at being alone. I’m an introvert, most of my pastimes are solo ones – reading, playing my guitar, listening to music, cooking. And my work is very much a solo pursuit, from writing to doing digital marketing for clients.
I’m used to being alone, but 2017 was a year where I really just had myself to pull me back up from my bootstraps, to lean on, to make sense of stressful, happy, and sad situations.
I’ve always had a big heart for animals. That heart has only grown fuller as I’ve traveled more and seen the amount of animals that need help around the world.
From the many stray dogs I saw roaming around Greece, to the homeless kittens in Thailand, and yes, even dogs who were rotting from the inside out in Myanmar, there is plenty of help that is needed around the world and right here at home.
I’ll be the first to say that before this year I had never volunteered at an animal shelter. And to be honest, I initially did it for selfish reasons. I was going through a difficult time in my life in Thailand, and I just wanted to feel that unconditional love that animals are so good at giving.
My friends and I made our way giggling in a tuk tuk to the party. The night before we had danced on a moonlit beach, Leos in hand, swaying in time to the palm trees and chill electronic beats.
“Wow, you seem to be doing so well. If I was in your position, I would not be this okay right now,” one of my friends said to me, when I mentioned my abrupt breakup from two weeks ago.
I shrugged my shoulders, “I guess I just want to be happy. I don’t want to be sad over something that wasn’t meant to be.”
“‘Live each day as if it’s your last’, that was the conventional advice, but really, who had the energy for that? What if it rained or you felt a bit glandy? It just wasn’t practical. Better by far to simply try and be good and courageous and bold and to make a difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you. Go out there with your passion and your electric typewriter and work hard…something. Change lives through art maybe. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved, if you ever get the chance.” // Emma Morley (Excerpt from One Day)
When I stepped on that flight to Hong Kong last October, I had no idea how much my life would change in the course of eight months.
This is why a second visit to Thailand changed my mind about the country.
When I was planning my first trip to Asia in 2013, the countries that I was most looking forward to seeing were Thailand and Indonesia. I thought for sure Bali and Thailand as a whole were going to be my favorite spots from my two months of travels.
In reality, they ended up being the biggest disappointments from that trip.
Maybe it was because Thailand was built up so much by other people before I went, or maybe it was just because I didn’t jive with the country at the time. Whatever it was, I hardly enjoyed my time in Thailand and wrote it off that Thailand is overrated and that I probably wouldn’t be back anytime soon.
May was the month I turned 27! I started the month in Thailand and ended it in Laos, my 28th country. And let me just say, I’m glad my country count is keeping ahead of my age, I think that’s a good sign.
This month included meeting up with one of my close friends, Pascale, who I met in Thailand a couple of months ago. May was also a month of readjusting to another new Asian culture, and finally discovering Laos for the first time, a country I’ve been wanting to see for years.
This is where I went and what I got up to in May.
Hello friends and welcome to my new monthly wrap-up series! In an effort to stay relevant and keep you informed on my current travels (since this blog is usually a month or two behind on where I actually am), I’ve decided to start writing personal wrap-up posts.
We’re already eight days into May, clearly I’m falling behind on keeping you guys up to date on my month-to-month travels. So, let’s dive right in!
After a difficult March, April was everything that I needed to feel rejuvenated and grounded again. There was a lot of social fun involved, but also plenty of relaxation that I enjoyed in Koh Lanta, working on music and freelance work. I also added a couple of new Thai destinations to my travels, and started planning out the rest of my year.
So, without further ado, let’s review what I got up to in April!
I don’t know where this year has gone already, but I am left gaping every time I look at a calendar and realize it’s already May. May, people! That’s the fifth month (my birthday month, woot woot!), as in, 2017 is already almost half over.
In other words, I need to get my bum into gear. I had so many plans for this blog in 2017 and I’ve only incorporated a few of them so far. I’m ready to throw myself completely into my passions and not look back.
As I mentioned recently on here, I want the rest of this year to be a year to myself. And no, I’m not meaning I want to go be an anti-social hermit and have no friends. I mean I want to focus more on what I want this year, and not make compromises in my life to make someone else happy.