Everyday we get up, get ready, and leave for work. When we reach the end of the street, I go to the left and she goes to the right. She goes up the escalator and gets on the beauty of engineering that is called Skytrain, and smoothly rides into the city overlooking the infamous Bangkok traffic. I catch a bus with wooden floors, get a window seat for a much needed breeze, and patiently observe motorbikes cutting through hundreds of cars in the horizon.
She teaches well-behaved classes of 25 at an all-girls Catholic school, and I teach cramped classrooms of 50 rowdy kids at a school with no air-con. And you know what? Even though our circumstances couldn’t be more different, we both enjoy our time here – because we choose to.
We make choices. Sometimes these choices are conscious, well-planned, and when something happens we know it’s because of our decision and nobody else’s. On the other hand, sometimes things just happen, usually when you least expect them, leaving us either pleasantly surprised or somewhat disappointed. However spontaneous our choices may seem, we probably decided on something a long time ago, and over time those experiences slowly make their way into our reality.
Auste and I have been very busy and sleep deprived for months, and now for the past few days we’ve had an absolute lounging experience – we barely left our apartment, ate lots of food, and stared at the computer screen all day. We’ve been relaxing and ‘wasting’ time to such extent that deep inside it felt as if we were committing a crime! But those two or three days have given enough time to think, recharge and get back into planning. I think if you stop doing all the things you want to experience and do nothing for more than 3 days, you would naturally get attacked by all the things you don’t want to experience.
This unproductive lazy experience was nothing but our choice. It wasn’t planned, nor was it very conscious – it just happened. It didn’t bring much excitement or help us tick things off our “to-do” list, yet it left us pleasantly surprised when we sat down and planned a trip we’ve been longing to do. Travel – that was the choice we made before we left our home six months ago. Since then we have settled and got back into the domestic mentality. We decided on it a long time ago, discovered it, abandoned it, forgot about it, and without much thought our choice made it back into our reality.
I can only contemplate why we stopped travelling, searching and exploring in the first place. Perhaps our life would have turned into a short holiday rather than a more in-depth cultural adventure. We stopped because we need a home, even when we’re on the road. I believe we all need a place where we could recharge mentally, emotionally and spiritually. People go to ends of the world to find their hope in sacred places – temples, churches, mosques. Why not make your home a sacred place? A home is where you can wake up with good intentions every morning, have an exceptional day every day, and go to sleep with thankful thoughts every night. It is your choice.
We need to expose ourselves to external influences and experiences, so they could interrupt our own thought patterns, as much as we need to expose ourselves to different cultures and languages to appreciate our own – all in search for a better, more peaceful self. The world is made up of individuals. They make up communities, cities, countries, and the world. If I cannot find peace within, yet wish for world peace, I am taking one step forward and two steps back. Make a choice, and the rest will fall into place.