Learning Who I Am!

Once in a while, I come to a standstill. It’s during those times that I find my head is the clearest. Thinking comes easy. And so, it’s during this standstill in Bangkok that I find myself evaluating my journey and what I’ve learned about me. In saying that, please keep in mind this has nothing to do with the people I’ve met or the things I’ve seen! This is truly my evaluation of me!

I’m not a tourist! This came as a huge revelation to me! There is nobody I know that reads and actually studies Lonely Planet books like me. I can tell you every great spot I should have seen while here. And yet, today when I sat here at the hostel and looked back through the pictures I’ve taken, the best shots were ones of ordinary life. I guess that’s why in these last few days, I’m not concerned with whether or not I see the Grand Palace and every temple in town. Watching the street vendors, seeing mothers walking with their children, watching teen-age girls giggle and flirt with the boys, seeing people enjoying themselves in the park – those are things that remind me that we are all one human race!

I can travel alone, but it’s likely I will chose not to in the future – at least not for this long of a venture! There are times when I wanted to share the joy of what I was seeing and experiencing. There were also days when I felt on the verge of being overwhelmed and eaten alive by this area of the world. The unrelenting heat, the total difference in culture, and the physical pains that I endured alone may have made me stronger, but it would have been nice to have someone to talk to during those times.

I’m quite content with hostels! Yes, guesthouses can be a little more quaint, but for me the hostels offer more of what I look for in travel. I found I could always make friends in a bigger group of people. Clean dorm rooms and good showers are important to me! Orderly processes of check-in and check-out seem to work better for me!

I’m a big city kinda girl! Bangkok was NEVER, EVER on my bucket list. But it was a necessary evil that I had to endure to come to SE Asia. I made sure I didn’t fly into here but Singapore instead. Dread consumed me for at least one whole day in Koh Tao knowing Bangkok was my next stop. So yes, this was something I learned about me that I think maybe I knew, but now, it’s confirmed. Big cities, even Bangkok, don’t scare me – they entice me! You can be sure, New York City is now on my bucket list!

I am blessed!! I never realized how rich my life is. At 54, I’m fairly healthy, I have many, many friends, two wonderful sons, family, and I am on the other side of the world. During these past few months, I have heard from so many people who are following my journey! Many friends and new followers are taking this voyage with me and so while there are days when I feel very alone, I know I can always log on to the Internet and find friends who are with me in spirit! For that, I am so thankful – I recognize now how my words touch others and how their words touch me!

Biggest revelation: I am strong! Much, much stronger than I ever imagined! Regardless of the physical pains I’ve endured here, I’ve maintained a positive attitude for the most part! I’ve figured out how to get from here to there and back again on my own. When the need for help arose, I asked for and accepted it graciously. When I was scared, I searched inside for strength and found it! And when I was lonely, I let myself feel loneliness and recognize it could be as short-lived as I wanted it to be! There have been people in my life who said I lack self-confidence. Maybe I projected that because I felt the need to be what was expected of me at the time. Travelling alone, I found the space to be just me and found that they were wrong about me.  I AM STRONG!!

For those of you following my journey, I want to thank you once again for your comments and encouragement. Many, many times when I needed support, you were there! I hope you will follow along as I head out of SE Asia and on to Europe where I will walk the Camino de Santiago! Thank you again everyone!!

Sometimes the best way to figure out who you are is to get to that place where you don’t have to be anything else.”  Source Unknown

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To my heroes – my niece Morgan…and my friend Joe!

My beautiful niece Morgan!

This blog is dedicated to my niece, Morgan and my good friend, Joe Hamilton in Colorado Springs. I hope they will forgive me for posting my thoughts!

A few years ago, my beautiful niece Morgan was involved in a serious car accident. She suffered numerous injuries including head trauma. The healing and recuperation was a long, long process for Morgan and she will tell you today, there are still lingering effects from the injuries. For all the pain and suffering she went through, my sister Carla and her husband Billy, along with nephew Ricky and niece Missy, endured pain also. They watched as she lay in a hospital bed with her head swollen. Every step she had to relearn, they took with her. She struggled  with ordinary functions of life such as eating and getting dressed. There were years of therapy and she still struggles today with some cognitive skills.

But what I see, is a loving young lady who always has a smile. I see a niece who flew out to Colorado and worked her butt off helping me pack and move to Tennessee! I see a niece who partied like crazy with me in Las Vegas – we had the best time ever! And, I saw a beautiful person who said please and thank you to everyone on our trip. I watched her in McDonald’s, speak to a young girl who obviously had some type of mental problem. The empathy Morgan showed her was so touching!

What I see when I look at Morgan…is a hero!

And now my friend Joe. On February 29, 2012, his daughter Ashley was in a serious car accident. Ashley is still in the hospital, of course, and undergoing treatment and therapy for all her injuries including serious head trauma. Even though I am miles away in Thailand, I can feel the pain that Joe is suffering as he writes his thoughts and advises all of us on Ashley’s progress. And yet, I see something very different in Joe.

I see the lunches we shared together with friends from work! We would laugh and laugh at the silliest things! I remember the night he stopped by the Dublin House and we shared drinks with friends and just had a blast. I see a man who was dedicated to the company and more importantly, to the customers. And I remember him talking about his daughters and seeing the gleam in his eye and sometimes, even a tear! I see a man strong enough to show his emotions for those he cares about. For all the sadness that is happening in his life right now, I know he will be okay. He will be strong for his daughter – he will be strong for those around him! He will continue to keep us informed by posting routinely – he will take care of our needs even when he’s tired and discouraged. And he will be by his daughter’s side every step of the way!

What is see when I look at Joe….is a hero!

To my two heroes, don’t ever underestimate your ability to touch other lives. You do it daily – at least I know you touch mine! Thank  you for being so strong!! I admire you both!

Love,

Cheri