Traveling has reinforced lots of mini life lessons and one is “trust your gut.”
I am currently in Ulaanbaartar, Mongolia. Last week I was in Mörön, Mongolia where I planned on teaching and staying until the beginning of April. But now on Saturday I will go to South Korea, have a 21 hour layover, and by Sunday night be in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
I arrived in Mörön ready for my next adventure. I was told I would be living in a ger and looked forward to the challenge. When I arrived I learned I would be “shared” with an English school and a hotel… And I would be living in a hotel. They were worried about the cold and I decided to just go with the flow. Life in a hotel would be more comfortable than a ger. And I could stay in the ger later if I really wanted too. But I was worried about the internet connection at the hotel as I teach online with a company and to do my job I need stable internet. I learned in Beijing that not all internet is created equal. I decided to worry about it when I got there as I was exhausted from a long bus ride and I was still adjusting to life in Mongolia.
The major factor of me leaving the work exchange was the internet was super unstable. I am not putting my job at risk for a volunteer position. I need to make money right now (and I actually like my online job and want to keep it for the time being). There were other factors in my decision too as Mörön had some qualities to become Chuzhou 2.0. I was living alone in a hotel and I ate every meal by myself. The staff was friendly and as they all want to learn English. I know if time passed we could of had some simple conversations but even so it seemed like it would be a lonely few weeks. The shower had no hot water which is definitely a first world problem but after five months of shower woes in China, two more months sounded like hell. In addition, I was teaching in person two hours a day and in my first week there I only taught once…and to only one student!
So I went back to Ulaanbaartar (which included another long bus ride) and I am writing this in Ulaanbaartar. I have been enjoying this oddly charming capital.
My motivation for travel has always been out of curiosity and in search of adventure never to “go find myself” but right now I am feeling pretty directionless with life. I am hoping warmer temperatures in Thailand will improve my moods. After living in China with no central heating and watching my hands turn purple while teaching and seeing my breath in my apartment and Mongolia in February, warmer weather sounds pleasant. Chiang Mai is full of temples and coffee shops and I haven’t been to a temple I haven’t liked and one of my hobbies is going to coffee shops.
I now have “extra time” and have been debating between going to Nepal or Laos. I know it sounds super hippie of me but I believe certain countries “call” us and Nepal calls me. After debating for some time I have decided to go to Laos as just the plane ticket to Nepal would cover my entire trip in Laos. Money isn’t everything but I need to use it wisely. Last night I did some Google searching and I am happy with my decision to explore Laos. I can ride a hot air balloon and learn how coffee grows while seeing incredible scenery.
I was talking about my brother about traveling and we both agreed that being open to adventure and having enough money helps ease the stress. I had enough money to leave Mörön, come back to Ulaanbaartar for a week, and to book a plane ticket out of Mongolia to anywhere I desired.
I took a big risk and taking a big risk means sometimes it doesn’t work out and that’s okay.
What do you do when your travel plans don’t happen? What countries or locations “call” you?