Last year I sold my car, donned a 40 litre backpack and took a one way flight to Bangkok.

The morning of arrival I was sitting on a tiny plastic chair, at the side of the street, eating rice porridge watching monks walking barefoot to collect food for the day.

My mind didn’t know what to make of the situation.

I couldn’t reconcile how Bangkok was happening whilst concurrently my former life in the UK was too.

The food, the traffic, the poverty, the “infrastructure”, the climate… it was a lot to take in.

If Bangkok was a shock, then the rest of the trip just built on it, one crazy experience after another.

The original “plan”, if you can call it that, was to backpack a bit of SE Asia, then to do a working holiday in Australia.

Somehow I never quite made it to Oz…

But there were 4 distinct phases of the trip…

Phase 1 – Backpacking SE Asia

Made the pilgrimage south from Bangkok to Koh Phangan, met a cool bunch of people in the lead up to full moon party, traveled with them for a couple months.

Phase 2 – The American Girlfriend

Mixed up a travel romance with long term prospects. Visit said romance in the USA and things quickly fall apart. I make the most of being in Cali and catch up with friends, then return to Asia.

Phase 3 – Chiang Mai & Making Money Online

Surrounded by internet marketers in Chiang Mai, I begin learning about ways to make money on the internet.

Phase 4 – Bali – Connecting With Nature

After figuring the money thing out, I decide to visit Bali. I fall in love for the second time on this trip (this time with a place), and end up staying for a while.

Lessons Learnt

You’d hope after gallivanting around Asia for this long I’d have picked up a thing or two. Here’s a short list of takeaways (in no particular order):

  1. Much of life is about mindset, not circumstance, environment or others perceived reality.
  2. People are fundamentally the same in all countries. They have the same wants, needs, dreams, goals and intellectual capability. But due to the dice roll that is life, we all start off in very different places, and some have much greater mountains to climb in terms of education and self reliance.
  3. Even when people do stuff we don’t understand, there’s usually a reason for it, and if its a dumb reason, they’re just lacking knowledge that we already have, they’re not deliberately making bad choices.
  4. Humanity is making great strides in all things, even if we don’t realise it (side note, read Abundance by Peter Diamandis)
  5. Humanity has the fundamental building blocks to keep building a better world for ourselves, its just about learning how to utilise them.
  6. We need to stop looking at things in terms of fashion or trends, in terms of group think or aesthetics. For example almost all cars are fundamentally the same backwards technology of internal combustion engines with pretty exteriors that we get conned into thinking are somehow better than one another. Instead we need to be able to separate marketing from practicality and remember why it is we’re building/using things and ask is there better ways to do so.
  7. That the best answer to ‘what is reality’ I can come up with so far is another question:
    ‘Can I create a reality I want to exist in?’
  8. That people who vacation or ‘travel’ for short periods of time are rarely able to question or change their mindsets. They’re still stuck in the “I’m going to go back at some point” mindset.

Parting Thoughts

There was no way I could have imagined how this past year and a bit would have played out.

But I tried, I tried before leaving to think long and hard about what I was doing and where I would get to.

As if dedicating lots of thought to the matter would make the predictions or plans more accurate.

Was it wrong to plan? Not at all.

But the trip has taught me to think in smaller chunks.

To let go more, and be open to the possibilities that arise when you step out that front door.

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Posted by John Alexander

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