“Trust your own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else’s.” — Billy Wilder
Let’s dive into a little story I am going to get so much wrath for, but it is essentially to talk about. My leaps are your gains too.
I want to first and formost give a huge shout out to my mother, for being such a huge support in almost every decision I make (while she was NOT in support of this one I must add) and for the night of sleep I am sure she lost this day. There wasn’t always a day she’d be the first one I’d reach out in a situation I was uncomfortable in, and I am so beyond thankful I have that ability now. I love you, and am so proud of you always!
Now let’s get to it shall we!
I had just taken a four hour van ride, up and down mountains. FOUR STRAIGHT HOURS, of curves and hills. I was dead. Everyone in the van who spent three hours puking were dead. Car sick, dead. I had traveled from Pai, back to Chiang Mai for a 4am flight the next day. While I loved staying in the Night Bazaar district, it wasn’t the closest to the airport for a 4am flight, so I stumbled into a Starbucks with my pack and sour stomach to find a place to rest my head for the night.
I sat down in the lounge area, and got chatting with this older man who had lived in Chiang Mai for about 25 years, originally from South Africa. I’ll forever have a soft spot for South Africans, should have known I was doomed for making normal rational decisions from that point forward. Long story short, he was a very wealthy and generous man, and insisted I have a proper shower and night sleep and not spend my night carrying my pack around town looking for a place to sleep. Now boys and girls, I am NOT advocating on making the same choice I did, because it truly was a risk vs. reward, and could have been a very possible dangerous situation. But I AM advocating for YOU to choose the choice you feel the safest and most grounded in, in every aspect of your life. That goes for ANY situation, not just staying with a stranger in a foreign country. I am huge believer in listening deeply to your gut, and after making it known that I wasn’t sure as a solo female traveler I felt safe going back with him, I listened to what my body was telling me, and ultimately made the choice to go.
I just want YOU to feel be supported and encouraged to make the best decision for you always, no matter what, and not feel shame or regret in it. They are both such wasted emotions, and I WANT YOU TO ELIMINATE THEM! Whether you choose yes or no, go into that choice with your whole heart and soul. I chose not to share this story with anyone while there, because the shame and guilt I felt in making what everyone would tell me was a bad decision was overwhelming. But it was decision I made, in confidence in knowing myself and my inner voice well, so there was no reason to feel the shame I know many reading this have felt. Believe in yourself, and listen to the advice given to you from the ones who love you the most, but don’t ever allow social shame to weigh on you or your decisions.
Have that one night stand, wait until marriage to have sex, end a relationship everyone encourages you to keep if you’re unhappy, quit your job and travel the world, quit your job and take a 10,000 pay cut for something new you truly believe in, stay in the job everyone else tells you to get out of if you love it, stay with a stranger in a foreign country if you feel its the right choice for you.
Just promise me, you won’t stay stagnant, or unhappy, and you won’t base all your decisions on the input of everyone around you. Many would say I’m stubborn because I don’t always appear to listen to advice I receive, but it isn’t that I don’t listen to the ones I love, I just listen to my inner voice equally. Finding that balance takes practice, but it is such a beautiful trait once you can start trusting your inner voice.
LEAP into what you believe in, and shake off that unnecessary SHAME! You’re beautiful, no matter what you choose. I have your back, for real.
This decision was very much beyond a decision I would have normally made, but while traveling I learned you have to truly trust yourself, and have to trust that the whole world isn’t against you. “The dangers of life are infinite, and among them is safety.” — Goethe. I shared this story with a fellow traveler, who told me when she had arrived in a new city she met a local man, and after chatting for a little decided to take a motorcycle ride around the city with him, and disclosed the immense risk vs. reward she felt in that situation as well. As a traveler, I found it quite common to hear often similar stories, with each person sharing having found a beautiful lesson with every outcome.
It is such a shame we live in a world and a period of time that the dangers of accepting a geneours offer from a sincere stranger is so strong. While I didn’t feel 100% comfortable for a couple hours after settling in, especially when we had a glass of wine before dinner, I was screaming at myself internally, Kelsie this is it, you are doomed, there’s something in your wine, RUN WHILE YOU CAN STILL SEE STRAIGHT. But folks, there was nothing in my wine, I ate a 200 dollar dinner, slept in 100% silk sheets, had a free ride to the airport at 4am and now have a life long friend in Thailand and a job offer to go back whenever I choose to. Whatever the outcome had been, that was the choice I made and was prepared to take full responsibility in it.
I absolutely realize this situation could have went one of many ways, however, the reward was worth the risk for me. Who’s to say I would ever make the same choice again, a part of me believes you can
not get that lucky twice, but again, is that just the ideology we’ve been conditioned with, ‘that the whole world isn’t safe and strangers just want to hurt you?’
“Yes, risk-taking is inherently failure-prone. Otherwise, it would be called ‘sure-thing-taking.’” — Jim McMahon