Now that we’re settle in to life in Chiang Mai, Thailand, our focus has been on work.
I had around 8 articles I needed to write about traveling through Nepal and Ben has had to prepare our Amazon stores for holiday shopping. It’s nearly impossible for us to get much work done while continually traveling, though, so we’ve been left to do odd things here and there the last few weeks as we traveled through Nepal and entered Chiang Mai as work piled up in the background.
The first things we did once we arrived in Chiang Mai were to enroll Whit in an international (English-speaking) school and rent a furnished, 2-bedroom apartment. Whit’s in school from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., which gives us more time than we’ve ever had to focus on work each day.
So far Ben has been pretty efficient. He’s created and adjusted ads we’re running on Amazon for holiday shoppers, arranged promotions for new products he’s just released, had tons of conference calls, and even organized a local MeetUp for other advanced Amazon sellers.
I, on the other hand, have felt like a failure.
I finished most of the articles I planned for Nepal, which is great, but second-guessed myself at every turn. There is lots of vulnerability in writing! Not only am I publicizing my personal thoughts and experiences, I’m also trying to give people honest and helpful advice on things that might be important to them.
Another big part of my job is pitching my work to new people. I’m constantly looking for travel publications or tourism boards who would be interested in a partnership, and lately I feel like all of my requests are falling on deaf ears. This fickle business definitely ebbs and flows, and, unfortunately, so does my attitude. Sometimes the rejection brings me to my knees and other times I’m so jaded by successes that I barely acknowledge them.
This past week has been one where I generally feel like the worst writer/ promoter/ photographer in the world.
I feel like I work better when my mind is partly distracted, so lately I’ve been catching up with my old friends Lorelai and Rory Gilmore. I started at Season 4, my favorite, and skipped the first half of Season 7, my least favorite. I’ve watched the series about 38 times and know each line and set piece by heart so I’ve earned the right to pick and choose.
One night last week I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned under the powerful mental influence of feeling like a failure until I finally got out of bed, grabbed a packet of ramen noodles, and chomped down in the living room while finishing the series on my phone.
That series finale… it gets me every time. I cry more often during that episode than I did the first time I saw The Greatest Showman (so a lot, basically.) The town loves Lorelai and Rory so much that they stay up all night to put together a spur-of-the-moment surprise going away party for Rory. Luke collects everyone tarps and sews them together once they realize it’s supposed to rain. And then the Girls drive up to the street corner and see everyone cheering and waiting for them. And then the piece de restistance, Jackson and Zack run up to them with umbrellas to help them walk over in the rain.
Not only do they get this incredible party thrown in their honor, they don’t even have to get wet walking to it!
Not to me while awake at 2:00 a.m. feeling like a failure.
Luckily I have a dear friend I left in Greensboro, N.C., who is also a Gilmore Girl freak. She also happens to be one of my biggest cheerleaders. I texted her while tired and emotional and just started rambling about how Rory was so loved she didn’t even have to get wet while I am stuck in stupid Thailand where no one celebrates Halloween.
Her response: “I miss you too!” More tears.
I hadn’t even said that. I hadn’t needed to.
In my sleep-deprived state I began to feel things I’ve been repressing for months. I started to miss my favorite restaurants in Greensboro. I missed having more than 5 shirts to circulate. I missed having a big house with enough space for us to comfortably work from home. My oven. My car. My friends. My family.
Things I feel guilty for missing as soon as I remember how lucky I am to be living abroad.
Surely I’m not the only one who lacks perspective sometimes!
Here’s the point: traveling is great. It’s amazing. I absolutely 10000% love my life and all of the choices we’ve made and the blessings we’ve received which led us to this incredible journey. But loving your life doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Problems don’t go away just because you’re living your dreams. Some problems disappear, new ones replace. I call it ‘the circle of issues.’ And it’s real.
But the next day I woke up early to join some new friends on a quick trip to an elephant sanctuary to feed baby elephants, wash them in mud, then play together in a fresh waterfall and I realized that every problem has it’s moment. And then you need to move on.
Because life really is great. Even when it’s not.