What do you do when you don’t know what you want to do?
Wondering, “What I’m doing here?”, in Jaisalmer, India
After graduating college I was fortunate. I had no student loans (thank you parents and incredibly proactive financial planning…) and fell into a good job using my public relations degree. Yet I was in a rut. You know that post-college slump that I think most people experience but that no one ever tells you about before you leave school? That was it. I knew I wasn’t happy and kind of lost. But what to do?? Where to go? Which direction, career- and living-wise, should I even consider to fully pursue?
I had no idea what I wanted but instead of just sitting around becoming more stuck in my routine and the mundane comfort of the familiar waiting for something to happen…I moved to Asia. It wasn’t quite that simple or quick (I had lived at home and commuted two hours a day for several years before I made a change), but it also wasn’t that crazy or difficult to do.
In the past 10 past months I have traveled through Thailand, India, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos with a friend and on my own, learned to ride a motorbike, picked up some bed bugs, have been pinned against a wall by a jeep, ridden an elephant and a camel, survived five fevers and not one, but two 33-hour train rides, got pissed on by a monkey, head-butted by a cow, had my ass grabbed in a temple, eaten some of the best food in the world and found myself a legit home and job in the incredible Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Ultimately, I’m a 20-something Pacific Northwest native trying to experience different things, people and places to help decide how I want to shape and live my life. Traveling opens us up to, literally, a world of ideas, opportunities, lessons, activities and relationships that we would not have access to otherwise. Though I have a home base at the moment, I will be traveling more in Southwest Asia, Australia and New Zealand before heading back west….and by west I mean hopefully getting stuck in Europe somehow. Many people have told me I’m lucky, and I am, but I did this all myself and can’t stand it when people believe they can’t travel for silly reasons, think there’s a shelf life to traveling or simply don’t have the balls to do it. I’ve schemed and saved to be able to live and explore abroad for an extended period of time – and have no plans on settling down anytime soon!
Follow me and my stories at Gen Y Wanderer as I write about what it’s like to be an American millennial abroad trying to figure out her next move.
Photographs by Alana