Greetings from Chiang Mai, Thailand!
I’ve started this blog to document my evolution from school nurse in Chicago, to expat living in Thailand, to world traveler. I’ll be sharing my experiences traveling and living abroad, along with tips to make globetrotting or adjusting to living in foreign country easier and more enjoyable for you. I hope this blog will encourage you to get out and explore the world!
“You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.” – Joseph Campbell
So, Kimberly, how did you end up in Thailand? I’m glad you asked. Less than a year ago, I was living a comfortable life in Chicago as a school nurse. I had an amazing condo, new car, and all my bills were paid. I also had a nice cushion in the bank, but was still unhappy and felt as though something was missing. I sought happiness in material possessions as many of us do or have done before, but of course that was merely a temporary fix. I was bored, complacent and eventually decided to just settle in and accept my mundane existence. Then in March of 2018, a friend of mine that had moved to Thailand the previous year invited me- well I invited myself, to fly out to Chiang Mai to visit them. The weather was amazing, beautiful mountain views, the food was great, the cost of living was cheap, and never in my life thus far, had I been to a place where the people were so considerate and kind. Sure, I got more than my fair of stares, but tall, black chicks with pink buzz cuts, gauged ears and tattoos weren’t exactly commonplace for them, so it didn’t really bother me. Chiang Mai made me feel safe, comfortable and at ease. I had spent less than two weeks there, but I had never been happier or more at peace. I belonged there.
I had already begun planning my return trip to Thailand before the plane landed back in Chicago. I loved Chiang Mai. I loved way I felt when was there and I wanted to feel that way all the time. I was tired of just existing and not living a happy, fulfilling life. Few things in my life had brought me joy, and Chiang Mai was at the top of the list. That’s when my planning shifted from taking a month-long vacation back to Thailand the following year, to uprooting my entire life and moving there completely. After all, I could always find another job as a nurse if for some reason I had to return to the states, so I took the risk. I had nothing to lose really.
Only 4 short months after my initial visit to Thailand, I did it. I took a leap of faith that my life would change for the better. I boarded a plane back to Chiang Mai- indefinitely. I can honestly say my life has absolutely changed for the better since the move. I’m more relaxed, less anxious and overall happier than I ever thought I could be. I have wonderful, loving and supportive friends, and those relationships have helped me to become a more outgoing and social person. There have been so many great experiences and opportunities I’ve had while traveling and living abroad that would have never come my way had I stayed in the States.
Luckily for me it’s all worked out thus far. Every morning I wake up to a view of the mountains, the coconut tree right outside of my window, and I smile. Some days I still can’t believe how my life has changed and how much I’ve grown as a person in such a short period of time. The shift in environment has brought me more peace and joy than I ever thought was possible. Only 8 months into my move to Thailand, I have traveled to 4 other countries and will have 2 more crossed off my long list in the next 2 months. A minor accomplishment for some but that’s a huge deal for me, considering my passport was blank prior to my initial visit to Chiang Mai less than a year ago. Better late than never right?
Traveling and living abroad has absolutely changed my life for the better, and I can’t wait to cross another country off my wish list. I encourage everyone to travel more, whether it be across the world or cross country. Life is short, get out and explore! You never know what life-changing experience awaits.