How Thailand Transformed My Life
This month, three years ago, I was 23, restless and ready to chase bigger dreams. I was unsure of what career I am heading off, all I know is I want change, I want something new and ultimately go out of my comfort zone. Sick working on a cubicle I decided to work in a Pharmaceutical Company where a lot of moving requires. Until unexpectedly an International Pharmaceutical Company offered me to be assign in Thailand (oh wait, Thailand? Hmmn I don’t think I’ll be liking to work there, Thailand is pretty much the same as the Philippines, sure I’d love to shop and travel in Thailand but not for work!) But at the back of my mind I was thinking why not? It’s still different in a way and it’s going to be a new experience! Little did I know that that decision will change my life and the way I see the world. Here’s what I’ve learned from living and traveling to Thailand for almost three years:
90% of the population of Thailand are Buddhism, that’s why Temples are one of the main attractions in the country. I visited a lot of them and got curios about what they are believing in, what is it about Buddhism. I started reading articles about it and based on my understanding Buddhism goes beyond religion and is more of a philosophy or ‘way of life”. It’s a philosophy because philosophy means “love of wisdom” and the Buddhist path can be summed up as 1.) to lead a moral life. 2.) to be mindful and aware of thoughts and actions and 3.) to develop wisdom and understanding. Buddhism explains a purpose to life , it explains apparent injustice and equality around the world and it provides a code of practice or way of life that leads to true happiness. As I got hooked in knowing more about it my journey to awakening started, and my love for yoga and meditation got me on a habit. Having a spiritual awakening is synonymous with realizing that there is more to life than you have been taught to believe. There is more to you, the universe, God, and the human experience than just paying the bills and joining the rat race. Something within myself begins to detect that there is deeper meaning waiting to be discovered and as I begin to detect this, my mind, body and soul begin to transform.
ROAD TO MINIMALISM
When I’m on my first months in Thailand, I often go to shopping malls and night markets after work or on the weekends. Knowing that most of all stuff in Thailand are really affordable I often ended up buying things that I really don’t need and doesn’t actually serves me. Shopping mall in Thailand can be overwhelming, to the point that I just stopped going in there and realized how much stuff I own in my cabinet. Minimalism to me is an attitude, and the never ending shopping malls in Bangkok taught me that. In a society that tries it’s hardest to make us define ourselves by our possessions, minimalism makes me take a step back and ask if the things we have are genuinely leading to fulfilling life. At it’s core minimalism is a way of focusing on quality over quantity and objective determining priorities. I cannot wait to share to you how minimalism works in my overall quality of life, it’s freeing and giving me more sustainable life!
Khao San Road in Thailand is definitely one of my favorite place on earth. It’s a road where you will see different nationalities, travelers with different stories on a backpack. In here, my dreams of seeing the world is always on fire! People here inspire me that if they can do it, I can also achieve it. I realized that traveling shouldn’t be expensive, that people watching, experiencing the authentic culture, going to the off-the-beaten-path is more meaningful than going to the crowd. Nomadic traveling helps me to travel light, find ways on how to go out the cheapest way and the possibilities are endless. To be a tourist is sure comfortable but a traveler might be lost but actually found!
Thai people are very business minded. You will often see a college student selling stuff or used clothes night after class, a grade school boy showing his talent on a weekend market or a group of family cooking street foods to make extra money. Don’t be surprise! Cause a typical family in Thailand affords to buy a car, own a condo unit or even travels a lot. it works here, because they are doing their full capability to sustain a living or merely a hobby that makes them happy. That’s why Social Entrepreneurship came into my mind, Thailand provided the resources I need so I can offer something great to my buyers and make a profit and take into account a positive return to society and find solutions to social problems (my home country, the Philippines) I guess this is my big dream next to see the world!
I believe that the greatest gift that you can give to yourself is to at least once experience cultural immersion. I remember myself having a hard time living in a country where language is totally different from what I know, it’s a struggle how simple ordering of food and commuting can be frustrating, but you have to adjust, you have to learn how to deal with different people.
There is an intangible value which comes from acclimating a new place, integrating into the community, interacting with local people, and understanding the way other’s live. My world became a whole lot bigger. It builds respect and an opportunity to appreciate everyone and everything, you will learn more about you as you are learning form others, you see everyone as equal. There could be a lot of reason; but Cultural Immersion has broaden my horizon.
Two years ago, most of my time are spent at work, had a little chance to spend time outside and see more places, oftentimes all the activities and planned travels are just on my list, too difficult to fit in to my busy schedule. This resulted me to have an anxiety (It’s another story). It came in to my realization that money will just come and go but giving time to others will actually go further. Working in Thailand taught me the importance of work-life balance, right then I’d make sure that I balances it off by doing different activities and socialize. Work and life balance will give you an optimistic life, as what a dying man once said “I wished I hadn’t work so hard”. Health is the most valuable asset in our lives. Make work-life balance your top priority.
STAY HUNGRY, STAY FOOLISH.
Thailand placed a big part of my heart, leaves an unforgettable impact in my life. It started to redefine my idea of success, starts growing humility and EVOLVE. I am not the same person I was before, adrenaline has been part of my life and I can never go back home!
“It’s not our experiences themselves that shape us, but rather the meaning we give them.”
What about you? is there a place, event or maybe a person that changed your life forever? I’d love to listen to them and learn from it too!