When I wrote the first draft of this post, I was exhausted, I was dehydrated, I was hungry and I was fairly emotional, but underneath it all I was happy. I still am. (Happy, that is). That’s because after a year of planning, saving and then waiting, I’ve finally done it. I’ve finally been able to make the big move my husband and I have been planning to live in Asia.
If you’ve been following me on social media you will probably have seen it all already, but on Tuesday I hugged my family goodbye, got on a plane and flew to Thailand.
I’m so tired from working so hard to make this happen, but it is infinitely satisfying to know that it was all worth it.
As I write this I’m sitting in a comfy hotel bed looking out across Kata Bay in Phuket, Thailand. I’ve been here for five days and the long process of unwinding has well and truly sunk in. I have worked really hard all year to be in this position and it hasn’t been easy keeping it a secret, but it’s been necessary.
A few people who were in the know questioned why I had to keep it hush hush, and suggested that it would be much better if I just told everybody what was going on. But to explain why I wanted to keep things so close to my chest, I have to go back in time a little bit.
You see, this was all supposed to happen a long time ago. In 2014 my husband (then my fiancé) and I were supposed to take a long holiday to New York after I finished up at a very stressful job. We were then going to move to Asia and begin location-independent life then. Unfortunately due to various things we realised we didn’t have the money to make New York happen and so we had to cancel. Our plans to move to Asia were then subsequently put off for the same reasons.
That was pretty traumatic because, firstly, we sunk a fair bit of money into the plane tickets and our accommodation, and we lost a sizable chunk of it. (Steer clear of Airbnb hosts with strict cancellation policies. Trust me). But secondly, I had to go through it all in full view of my blog readers and everyone who followed me on social media. Now, all of my readers and followers are a very nice bunch and I don’t think anybody judged me or thought less of me. But still it sucked to have to go through that disappointment in front of everyone.
When we first realised we couldn’t go, I was convinced it was just a minor setback. I kind of thought we’d be financially okay enough for me to get over to Asia by January (I actually wanted to leave Australia on New Year’s Day – it would have been a meaningful day to make such a big change). Soon, though, I realised that we couldn’t really pull that off either, so I suggested March. My husband then suggested October 2015, because that would give us more time to save up money and to better prepare ourselves.
At first, since I have the patience of a toddler, I completely refused. But then I realised it really was for the best, and I agreed. But I wanted to keep my cards close to my chest. I’m pretty much a once-bitten twice-shy kind of girl, so I was petrified that the door would be slammed in our faces again (even though I subscribe to the Law of Attraction and I well know that fear can create the very thing you don’t want).
This was also such a personal and monumental event in my life, and I didn’t want to let just anybody in on it. So I decided I didn’t want to tell anyone until the time was closer. I figured I’d probably let people know a little while beforehand, but as time went on and I stewed over it for a little bit, I realised I didn’t want to tell people until the actual day – and not only that, but I didn’t want to share my destination or purpose until I was actually in Asia.
I told a few people, such as close friends and of course family, and I also told a few people who I thought might be close to my location and who might want to catch up. To be honest, I think I’m probably the worst secret keeper ever, because the list of people who knew stretched out to longer than I imagined – and I constantly dropped hints about it. I saw tons of people posting about their own adventures, or about their own various travel plans, and I just wanted to scream, “Me too! Me too!” But I had to bite my tongue.
I also tried to drop hints here on my blog as well. Go back through some of my posts, such as when we got married. If you read them again you’ll be able to see how desperately I was trying to tell you guys what was going on without actually telling you guys what was going on.
(By the way – what a year this has been. No wonder I’m tired).
Luckily for me, after a long wait, my time for travel actually came and so now I can share more with you guys.
So at the moment I’m in Phuket with my husband and my father in law, having a two-week holiday in Kata Beach, one of our favourite places. (Those of you who followed me on my old site, Not Done Travelling, will remember my posts about it – I will be resurrecting them in updated versions here). My husband then has to return to Australia for a conference so he is flying back with my father in law shortly, and I will continue on to visit a few other places on my own. Following that, I will journey to the place where we have decided to live for at least the next few months. I’ll write more about that when the time comes, but if you’re savvy you can probably figure out where exactly it is.
I won’t pretend the secret-keeping process was fun; in fact, I kind of hated it a lot of the time, but I feel it’s sometimes necessary when you run a blog and big things are happening in your life. This is why I also didn’t post much about my wedding until it had happened, and why I kept my cancer treatment a secret from you. (Don’t worry, I’m in perfect health now and I have complete approval from all my doctors to travel).
In the spirit of trying not to keep secrets from you, I’d also like to reveal this; I had some further plans originally for early in 2016, involving some on-the-ground volunteer work for one of my favourite organisations. I was approved and the ball was rolling, but due to financial issues and a few other things, it’s not going to be possible. I’ll keep the details to myself for now, in case there’s an opportunity to get involved later on, but I just want to share that I have learnt a lesson from this, too. Even if you’re trying to do something for entirely noble reasons, that doesn’t mean those doors are going to open for you. Sometimes things just aren’t meant to be.
So here I am, overseas, officially location independent. It was so hard saying goodbye to my family, especially my baby nephew and my 2-year-old niece (in fact, the first thing I did when I got on the plane was have a breakdown in which I repeated to myself, “How could I have left them???” over and over again for about an hour). I still get really emotional thinking about how much I’m going to miss them (ugh…god, I have to stop thinking about it or I’ll cry again). I guess, all I can do is focus on all the good things that will come from me following my dreams, and hope that I set a good example for them about listening to their hearts, even if they’re too young right now to really comprehend that.
I’ll try not to overwhelm you with too much more info just yet, but once I get to my new home I’ll give you another update about our future travel plans. Things were supposed to turn out this way, and I know that because this is how things have turned out. Looking back, I see now that if we’d gone earlier in the year then we wouldn’t have been emotionally or financially ready, so even though October 2015 felt like forever away one year ago, that kind of doesn’t matter now that it’s upon us.
It reminds me of a quote I once read. I can’t even remember the full quote, just part of it, and one sentence that really stuck with me. “The time will pass anyway”. That’s what happened. I was devastated at not being able to go to New York and not being able to go to Asia earlier…but the time passed anyway, and here we are.
We can’t stop time. So if there’s something you’re looking forward to and you just can’t handle waiting for it, don’t worry. The time’s going to go no matter what you do, so you might as well make the best of the situation you’re in until you get to the situation you want to be in.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me over the past year, everyone who left supportive comments on my social media, and everybody who knew my secret and didn’t blab it. Love you guys in particular. Xx
Now it’s your turn! Have you ever kept a secret about something until it happened? Any advice for location-independent life? Let’s discuss!