One minute I’m begging to be paid more than coffee and bananas to play the twenty-four-hour-seven roles of David Brent and Nagging Mother while upping my patience level to that of Mother Teresa.
The next I’m about to hop on a bus making an overland Christmas pilgrimage through Myanmar before pit-stopping there for a new year’s Vipassana retreat and heading to Koh Samui for three months in paradise.
It came after two weeks of meditationless wobble, a polite interrogation of my solo travelling, side hustling existence and some judgemental commentary on my flightly lostness. And I stopped to think…why am I here?
I am here to be happy, to be freely roaming the East, to be my own puppet-master. I’m here to love, to learn and to laugh, to have adventures – to see new places and meet new people.
I’m here to let my stomach make all of my decisions and for Fate to guide us along the way. To continue on a journey of self-discovery and self-improvement, to let my conscious awakening unravel and to be open to whatever opportunities come my way.
The stars had collided and exactly what I wanted fell from the skies, but eight weeks heading up a “fair trade lifestyle brand” in Chiang Mai was enough. I was spinning round in circles again – working far too hard for far too little and feeling a lot like a puppet on a string.
I had plans to head to Mumbai for Christmas then return to Chiang Mai in the early New Year before heading to Nepal until the end of January to set up a supplier. But dates change, minds change, people change -and so do the plans.
So for the third and final time this year, I quit.
I’m definitely not advocating “flighty lostness” and I don’t believe in quitting every time things get tough, but I deliberately pressed the pause button on life and left the restrictions of reality behind so that when things aren’t what I want, I can move on.
I’m moving on.
It’s an unconventional existence and I know that everybody around me will find it hard to keep up, but I guess this is the whole point of a No Plan Plan. You have a rough idea of what’s going on but you accept that literally anything could happen and those plans you have can, and probably will change.
So it’s not really flighty and it’s definitely not lost – it’s actually quite the reverse. It’s taking life by the bollocks and being assertive. If something is really not right, leave and if you have somewhere better to be, go.
THE CHRISTMAS PILGRIM
I have three days left in Chiang Mai before I say a fond farewell to the Land of Smiles and take a two-day bus ride over the border and into Myanmar, making my way East to Yangon.
And while my social media feeds fill up with fairy lights, santa hats, grottos and sequins, my friends drink their bodyweight in prosecco and sing Christmas songs on karaoke, my family eat cheese, sip port and have scrabble wars, I’ll be making a much more modest festive pilgrimage.
I’ll be heading North by bus through a land I know very little about and on Jesus’ birthday I’ll start a Vipassana retreat in the country where it all began.
There’ll be no advent calendar, no presents, no cards, no Home Alone or Elf. No scrabble, no cheese, no port. No annual dirty-old-man’s-pub-crawl, no carol concerts and no It’s A Wonderful Life at Woolton Cinema.
I won’t be drinking Ovaltine, doing crosswords and jigsaws with my Grandma. I won’t be lying on the sofa in my Christmas PJs and I won’t be whipping out my port sippers. I won’t be shuffling around the house in ridiculous slippers, or leaving a trail of glitter wherever I go.
Instead I’ll be indulging in nothing but simplicity and silence. I’ll be ending 2018 and starting of the New Year exactly how I intended