I finished my last university exam in December 2006, on my 23rd birthday. The months that followed were similar to the past six months living with my parents. I was a new grad and the world was my oyster, yet I couldn’t manage to find a job. I was frustrated.
My parents had planned a trip to Florida and since they were worried about my emotional state they forced me to come along. (No complaints!) After a long day at Magic Kingdom, we decided to get the most out of our overpriced tickets by staying for the parade and fireworks finale, wreaking even more havoc on our tired and sore feet.
I remember staring up at the bright lights in the sky and believing that there was something so magical about Disney World. “A dream is a wish your heart makes” played over the loudspeaker as an array of colours lit up the Disney kingdom and Tinkerbell went soaring through the sky. “The magic of Disney” was coming to life right before me – so corny yet so beautiful – and I felt tears forming in the corner of my eyes. (Can you say “Drama Queen”?)
I remember going back to our condo that evening and timidly admitting to my parents my thoughts on the fireworks: “I felt like my dreams really could come true!”
Before I left for Thailand my friend Jen told me that she thought my blog was an encouragement for people who dream big dreams. As a 27 year old trying to figure out what the heck I wanted in life, I was both surprised and encouraged that she saw it that way.
Now here I am, living a big dream, and writing about it on my “quarter-life crisis-turned-ride-of-my-life” blog.
When January 2011 rolled around I decided that my goal for this year was to be engaged. I don’t mean that in the marital sense. I mean it in the “slowing down and stopping to listen” sense. A little less Facebook, a lot more real life. To embrace people, conversations, and daily interactions that I might otherwise overlook or try to rush. To make the most of every opportunity, and especially to maximize my time here in Thailand.
I will be honest and say that it would be very easy to live my day-to-day life here in Bangkok without investing in those things that really make my heart cry – the things that I have dreamt about being a part of. I have a choice in how this dream is going to play out; the things that I am going to choose to engage with and embrace. And beyond that, I don’t want the dreaming to stop just because I made it here. I hope instead that it will be a catalyst for dreams to come.
“Choose a Door” is not only the most-read article on my blog, but also the most searched. This leads me to believe that we’ve all got a little bit of Erica Strange in us. Hoping, wishing, wanting, waiting. And in it all, acting. Choosing.
And so I ask, from one dreamer to another: What are you hoping for? And what are you doing about it?
This post was supposed to be an update on my weekend trip to Ayutthaya, but I took the advice of a former colleague instead: follow your compass, not your clock. And this was the direction of the compass tonight. That said, here’s some pictures from Ayutthaya, the old capital city of Thailand!