Our experiences are the lens from which we interpret the world, intelligence gives the ability to question, learn and comprehend and our emotions gives our lives meaning. If you could experience life without feeling then why would anything you do matter? What would motivate you every day? And how would you make decisions? What we feel cannot be disentangled from who we are or what we experience.
Who hasn’t wanted to rip out their heart when they are in pain, who hasn’t wanted to bottle their happiness for darker days? Feelings drive us, motivate us and make what we experiences matter. Can you have rational thought if you couldn’t feel? I often think about how emotions are the double edged sword of who we are and can give us such wondrous highs and such painful lows.
This is me being selfish because I am constantly battling my own emotional baggage that has acted as chains on my soul. I think of my emotional immaturity, what I’ve missed and how I lock the negative emotions away but they don’t really go away instead they erode my ability to connect with other human beings. I write about it here just to have an outlet for thought.
Your feelings don’t define who you are because we are more than any one part of us, so we are more than what we’ve experienced, what we feel or our body. It is how they work together, how they intermingle that makes us who we are and gives us the potential to do good or bad. How does one person decide to help the person in need and how does another walk away.
I need to learn to break free of doubt and be open to connection instead of opting to keep myself separate. Being in Pai for the last year has made me realize I have to confront my demons. I cannot afford to run from my own faults and weaknesses or I might as well put a gun to my head now because this cannot continue if I am to have a life worth anything.
Some people want to change the world, they are able to harness everything they are to bring people into their world… I will probably never get even close to that but I hope in some way I can make a difference to someone out there. I hope I can matter even if I never know to who myself. So how do you give yourself the ability to change? To stop being a prisoner to your emotions and instead use them as fuel to drive your mission and your goals.
I don’t expect anyone will ever read what I write or that anyone will give a damn and I can’t worry about what people may think because I know that writing it and not hiding it in a journal somewhere is the last thing I need to do. Sometimes you need it to be out there even if you know no one will ever care. It was never about that, it was about finding a way even if it is a small way of letting down the walls even when no one will walk through.
Everyone has issues no one is an island but we usually keep it to ourselves. My outlet is to write about it, just to write but that isn’t action it only stems the tide and doesn’t get to the root of my issues. When I am around people I talk a lot because usually when I am at home I have no one to talk to its been that way when I was in Toronto, when I was traveling and it is that way now.
I think too much not to know my faults are what really matters is how I’ve dealt with them and what I am doing to put them behind me so I can move forward without being dragged into the abyss through them. I think in a lot of ways wanting to fight in the muay thai ring is a battle with my fear and a way to forge belief out of the ashes of who I am now. I don’t have confidence and I am going to need a lot of help to get into shape if I fight.
I hate asking, I don’t want to bother anyone but I have no choice. I have to do it my own way because of the time I have left and the resources I have on hand but I have to get past the fear and not let it control me. I have been talking about it forever and talking is worth nothing now it is time to act, it is time to face one of my demons so I can forge a path when I am not defined by my fear.
Emotions are powerful motivators that are a gift and a curse, they are empowering as much as they can be debilitating and to harness them you have to understand them so you can see how they work with your experiences and your mind and body to make you who are for better or worse. Always work for the better, by understanding them you can change them.
I’ve known mine for a long time now I have to deal with fear and confidence. To remove the power of fear and give make it fuel to find the confidence to believe not just that I can get into the ring but that I have value and that I and that we all matter. If I can find a way to believe then it will have been worth the struggle, dealing with your emotional centre makes the physical training for muay thai seem like a walk in the park. So if I can do one then I can do the other and so can all of us as we face own demons in the dark.
Pai, as the sun sets in the Valley
After taking a long road,whose only consistency is the sheer number of deft turns that are so numerous that you lose count of them within minutes you have no idea where you are going. At every turn you can see the forest and hills that surround the region and seem to go on and on and on. As I sat in the minivan with other tourists from around the world all I could think is when was this place first settled. Who was the first to realize that you can never conquer the mountain, you have to live with it, nature could never be tamed only managed.
When the van finally stopped turning and turning and then the turn in the road gave way to a descent, with a gentle angle going down, now you could see the land calm as it the waves of hills eroded in a lush valley. You always felt the hills, they surrounded this valley, it was farmland in the shade of the hills and although you would want to see the sun there was something about seeing the clouds meet the mountains and hills that made this valley feel like it had touched the heavens.
As our green minivan passed the World War II bridge all I could think about was the history that happened before modern times. When invaders from one of the many Burmese Empires came from their side of the hill country came in their vain attempts to conquer the walled fortress that was the heart of Chiang Mai, the new capital of the Lanna Empire after Chaing Rai had ceased in that role in 1296.
What was wandering into the jungles of the mountains like back then, when what would take just a few hours take days to transverse. When you are fighting the stench of disease, looking for sources of water and sustenance does the beauty make a different or was did they consider it to be a viper wrapped in velvet waiting to kill those who take decide they don’t have to be humble in front of the hills.
The hills of Northern Thailand may not have the sheer vertical presence of true mountains but they are to be respected for what they offer in life from fertile soil and an abundance of water to what they can take away, the life of the foolish who think their dominion surpasses that of Nature’s.
She allows us to take up residence but can be as forgiving as she can be vengeful, that is why you must always be ready for both. That is why for eon’s the people have prayed to Buddha, their Gods and the land to grant them luck in surviving the hills and the jungles. Today Pai is a sleepy place, full of tourists, vendors and hostels. It is a place to bask in the beauty of the valley as much be in awe of the hills that shelter it and give it life.
I can here to search for my sense of self, to test the lmy limits, to rest before I go off again to explore. That is the journey I seek in the hills, from the wonders of Agra, to the mountains of Nepal, the islands of the Pacific and the ancient wonders of Asia to the hills of Pai.
I was heading into town for dinner when I saw a few of the guys but instead of stopping when they called at me I just kept on going. It was a stark reminder of how I keep myself segregated from most people. There are a few reasons for this, one of them is that that I am on a strict budget which doesn’t allow for me to go out and spend like some of the other people that I know can do.
I know a lot of people here in Pai, mostly from the gym and some not but I don’t make an effort to get to know people, I keep to myself, I am always guarded and while I am very open in some ways I am closed off in many others. It also doesn’t help when you are good at compartmentalizing your emotions so you can avoid dealing with things which is probably one of my default actions.
Having lived alone in a shadow of shame has just made me closed off, I don’t think about going out and finding a girl because it just never crosses my mind because I don’t believe I have anything to offer. I need, must break out from this cycle of emptiness. It is a feeling of being hollow, as if people see you but never know you. It is dull pain that doesn’t hurt a lot but is a constant pressure on your psyche.
Most of the time I am alone, I don’t live next to the gym and that means I just don’t randomly come across people. I am not a quiet guy when I am around people but if I am not at the gym then I am usually alone, watching a show, writing or just reading. I just don’t have anyone I can talk to at the moment. I had 2 roommates in the last place I lived and although the girl was difficult bordering on impossible at least I got along great the other guy.
Now I just feel separate from everyone and everything and I’m not even sure why. It doesn’t have to be this way and it’s not like I am anti-social it’s just that I default to isolation and that comes from the shadow of shame. I hate feeling vulnerable, I hate having to rely on others because I’ve been burned by that in the past, I try to do things on my own as much as I can.
Even thinking about fighting my first instinct is to keep it quiet and go on my own without having anyone at the gym know. I just always walk the path as much on my own as possible and that is something I continue to struggle with every day. I don’t have to be on my own all the time, I can and need to trust and I need to put myself out there to find and keep the friends I’ve made and beyond that getting “the girl” if I could only recognize it when I see it which is as likely as me flying or might as well as be.
It’s like if I decide to fight I am not doing it alone, you get the help and support of a lot of people at the gym that will give advice, be sparring partners and so on. Some of them may even come down to watch to support you and that is a gift, one that has faced a lot on my own appreciates more than most will ever know.
So to break past my isolation I am going to try and pick up LOL, hang out more and just be more social. I can and must do it to evolve who I am for the better so I can be a more complete person, a better friend and a good assertive guy for some hot girl out there. So that’s one of the goals let’s see if I can make it happen.
I knew nothing about the world when I started and only know a little bit more in the 2 years I’ve been abroad. It’s been almost 9 years since I moved away from home to Toronto, Ontario spending years trying to find my way. I left Canada in 2013 and have been on the road since then, traveling throughout Asia and trying to figure out what I am after. I consider it the answer to the question never asked because I still don’t know what I am after.
If it was Friday back in Toronto I would be in my box aka where I lived and searching for work, trying to find something to keep busy while I sought out options. It wasn’t a life it was my own personal version of hell where each door that shut in my face was a constant reminder of what a failure I was. The reason why I couldn’t find work was because I was too desperate and no one wants someone who is desperate.
I had no faith in myself that I could be capable and while it was slowly improving I just got tired of being invisible. I couldn’t date, bring friends over or go out because I was ashamed of what a shell of a life I had. I don’t even think I truly realized how broken I was at the time because I was able to compartmentalize my emotions and stop from feeling it, even if only for a time.
Instead of that I wake up early every morning go to the gym here in Pai, bike downhill into town and to the gym where we do a session of muay thai for about 2 hours, then eat at the gym and head home and I rinse and repeat that in the afternoon.
I don’t usually go out and most don’t bother asking me since they know I don’t go out that much so much like back in Toronto I live and die by my budget which has made me very disciplined which can be both good and bad. Good because I can stick to spending less but bad because I miss out on a lot. It’s made me somewhat of a loner here at the gym even though I’ve been there for almost a year.
It’s not that I am alone but for me it feels that way. I 3 km from the gym and when I finish my second session of muay thai I tend to go home and stay in. It might be because of where I am in life in comparison to where a lot of my friends and family are at. Most of the time since I started traveling I’ve been on my own, not all the time but the majority of it I’ve had to do it by myself.
One thing about having not succeeding is you have an urge to prove your self-sufficiency even though in reality I am not I crave the trappings of it maybe just to delude myself into believing that I can shelter myself through the storm. You are always changing and I am not the same person I was when I left home in 2013 but I have so far to go and in reality my issues have nothing to do with traveling, it’s just that through the act of being so far away means you can let go of a lot of misgivings without the same repercussions you would face at home.
I have yet to fully embrace that kind of exploration but I am getting there and that is a plus in my book. I am not a confident person by nature but even then how I see who I am is much different, more open even if still guarded, a bit more confident outwardly even if shamed on the other. I don’t think I’m alone in being guarded, it’s more a fear of rejection and a protective mechanism than anything that comes up by default.
I give the illusion of being open while still having my walls up and the searchlights trained on any possible threat. It’s just who I am but something I am trying to change. They say hope is a powerful thing and it is but it is also a big tease, as you reach for whatever it is you hope for and just always seems outside your grasp but that really has nothing to do with the goal and all to do with the person.
Without belief how will anyone ever believe in you, without focus how can you hope to achieve and without support how can you reach the summit of whatever you are climbing towards. You have to break the cycle of negative reinforcement that keeps you for believing you can make it. You have to work on the small steps instead of seeing how far the top is.
You have to shape the world around you as much as it shapes you with not just good thoughts but good actions that will ripple their way into the future. I have not had real hope in a while but I can find a way to do more than hope I can act with a mission, a focus and a smile that will take me to the place I fear be it to tell a story, into the ring or just like.
I could hear the birds begin to sing, the dark giving way to the haze of the early day and the mist over the hills rolling through the hills in the distance. It was through the in-betweens of the wooden planks that make up the walls of my bungalow where I could see the night become day. I could hear the dogs that seeming patrolled their territory bark whenever something came past. It was time to give a thought to the morning, to frame what would come before it really started.
You heard the world awaken with the sun, the temperature started to rise and I had to prep myself for another day at the gym. Will it be a good session or a bad one I hoped for the former but my head and my heart often have other ideas. I’ve repeated this routine for the last year but knew it could go on no longer that it, no I needed to make it change.
How to make it change was in as many small ways as it would be large ones. It was to use this day as my start, to jettison the baggage into the morning air and start fresh with the knowledge of yesterday but without the emotional fear that has locked me in this cycle of rinse and repeat. So I took my bike and rode to the gym hoping it wouldn’t rain and that I could get through a session without being a wreck afterwards.
Using the 10 minute bike ride to the gym I always thought of story ideas I could write. Having been stuck on a single world I created was debilitating as much as it was exciting and on the ride I decided to let it go. It’s not that I won’t continue to work on the tail but I let it go as something I need to finish ASAP. I stop obsessing over it and just focus on a story, any story so I could hone my craft after a long time of letting it wither.
So as another session of muay thai began it always starts with skipping unless you come on temple run day where you go take a run from the gym to the Mae Yen Temple otherwise known as the White Buddha. I’ve done that run 4 times and each time it left me gasping for breath. Each day is a chance to start again, so I let go of all the frustration, fear and pressure and be in the moment.
To reclaim the start you must see it in a new light and as the day began and everyone made their way to the gym I was determined to metaphorically make today, this moment my point of reclamation. That nothing anyone said or did before mattered, that all that mattered was the focus I could bring and the intentions I carried which was to forge a new path, maybe that would be to fight, maybe that would be a new story but it would be a beginning I could build off of and that for me is something I treasure.
Today at the gym I was told off by someone when we were going to get food for taking too much and being selfish and he was right. I was being selfish and for that I am sorry. People have been so generous with me I should show the same courtesy as they do. I kind of did what we used to do when I first got to the gym when it was time to eat just dive in and I should have been more aware. I will not make the same mistake going forward. I appreciate this person telling me but I don’t know them and they don’t know me and although I appreciate him letting me know I will ignore this person for all intents and purposes.
I don’t know if his mind is made up about me and it doesn’t matter because I don’t have the time or energy to try and change it if it is and frankly it is irrelevant as I have more pressing concerns. That entire situation is a reflection of the lone nature of my existence. It’s not as if I am selfish to get more and more because I know that isn’t the case. I am selfish because in most instances in the day in and day out nature of life I only have myself to count on.
I have received a lot of help been shown moments of immense kindness but they are fleeting, they are gifts each time and sometimes I reciprocate when I can but that is rare. That is a situation that goes back years, since I’ve been traveling I’ve met the kindest of people and I wish I was like them more, instead of being selfish but the length of my travels and the limits of my budgets means that I can’t be as free as many can be. A lot of us are living on very little out here and so for me everything is dictated by one work budget.
So while I can be generous with my time I am not generous with my money to others or myself. I need to recognize how fortunate I am and that is hard many days when you know you don’t have a job or career to go back to. I am still so lucky just being able to travel anywhere when so many people will never have that chance. So I thank the French guy for being brutally honest with me, for reminding me to be more thoughtful of others and show kindness and understanding.
It’s funny I should thank him in person but I won’t. I don’t really care what anyone thinks of me and I’ve never given this person a moment’s notice and who knows how long they will be here for. Most people come in for a little while and are gone. I am here longer but sooner or later I will move on to the next step. I hope I can carry these lessons with me. The memories of the kindness shown to me and to be generous in some way even if that is with only my time.
When you look back you can always make more money but you can never get back your time once the moment has passed it is gone, it is nothing but history, a memory to remember. So I will remember the moments of kindness shown to me and will return the favour out in this world while being selfish isn’t that far removed from being generous. In some ways we are both selfish in some ways and generous in others.
I hope I can be both when the need arises that finding balance between both is important. I have lean back towards the centre without forgetting why I am here and what my goals are.
In 2013 I had hit a wall that I just couldn’t get over, searching for work, scraping the bottom of the barrel for anything if only to keep busy. I didn’t believe that I could because I had been kicked to the gutter more times that I care to remember. Here is the thing I knew staying in Toronto offered no solution, that going home was a dead-end and that I needed to find a way to escape.
So I decided not to just move but travel the world and booked a one way ticket to Thailand, on June 17th, I flew to Vancouver and by the 21st I had made it to Thailand after a 12 hour delay in China. In the beginning of this trip when I was asked why I was out here I said I was running and that was the truth as I saw it.
I was running for the expectation and the disappointment I felt by not being successful when all my relatives were getting married, having kids and having good paying jobs or successful careers. I had none of that, I hid myself away, I lied through my teeth and eventually I just felt like I didn’t belong.
Today my life is not travel, I just live in Pai and am doing muay thai. If you would have asked me last August if I would ever consider getting into the ring, would have said you were crazy, that would never happen. Now here I am almost a year later with a goal of making it into the ring by my 1 year anniversary of starting muay thai.
I didn’t start traveling with a plan, I just winged it all the way, my only goal was that I couldn’t return home via the Pacific, I had to make my way around the other side. I’ve spent way more time in Asia than I ever thought I would. The reason it’s been cheap to live, the places to see and the people to meet are too numerable to count and I stopped just running away but realized I could be running towards.
I am not going to say that everything has amazed, no some days were horrible, like when my passport was stolen, when I was almost robbed by a drug dealer, when I was alone in India for the holidays, when went to the emergency room after passing out and living with a roommate that made a place you wanted to think of as home more like a nightmare. Hell everything I brought with me has had to been replaced and sometimes more than once.
You can never have the good without the bad. That doesn’t mean that the bad has to happen or even that the good will be what we expect but when you are traveling for an extended period it changes as you change. I was originally traveling for the experience, I’m not one that let’s go easily socially. I don’t really party, I rarely drink and in 2 years have not been with anyone.
In the end though the good far outweighs the bad though by an infinite margin, having trekked the Himalayas, seen ancient temples, learned to dive and learned to fight but it is the people I will remember the most. From the locals that helped me when I was lost, to those who shared a snack, gave directions or the people I see every day at Charn Chai or in Pai itself.
It is the people who make the place shine. I am now traveling to learn, now it is about muay thai, tomorrow it will be something else. While I’ve wandered I’ve met friends that I never would have expected and have become more willing to let go of the limits I’ve self-imposed and have boxed me in.
I was thinking of travel blogging after going to tbex in Toronto but I didn’t, it would have been amazing but it would have been work which I probably didn’t want to do after grinding it out in the job market. You could have said that if I would have started my blog in that capacity I would be further along but I can’t say I regret what I’ve experienced in the least.
So what lay ahead in my immediate future is to prep for a fight sometime soon, write a script for a sci-fi competition, get a working holiday visa for New Zealand and find a way to make some a little money so I can continue the ride.
Before traveling I was thinking about getting a personal coach, I just felt like such a failure I knew I needed to do something. I was close to doing it but then held off and a few months later at the spur of the moment decided to wander the world. I’ve made so many mistakes, been to the hopsital, was almost robbed by a drug dealer, got lost on a dive and it goes on and on but I would not trade it for anything.
What I need to learn now is to focus, on my training and on the art of words so that when this chapter ends I can put my best face forward for whatever comes next. I guess what I know now is to let go of expectation, to understand the doubt and go forward despite of it. To never apologize for who you are not because you are perfect but that at least you are trying to improve even if it isn’t straightforward, even if it hard, even if it takes years and many attempts it is worth the time.
Page 1 of 16012345...102030...»Last »