Chapter one of this new life in flip flops was not what I originally thought it would be. Not only because my VSO placement ended up being a bit of an own goal but more fundamentally than that, in my initial thinking VSO wasn’t even part of the ‘plan’.
Disillusioned with my life in sunny Manchester and, more specifically, the crappy politics of working life in a large UK institution I made a decision to say Fuck It, hand in my notice and head off with a rucksack on my back to travel for a bit and discover what and where felt right.
Approximately 24 hours before I planned to hand my notice in an email landed in my inbox inviting me to begin the interview process for my VSO placement and the rest, as they say, is history.
Much as the placement wasn’t right, it did help me get a lot of stuff sorted in my head in regards to the what and the where.
Things I learned:
- I LOVE Cambodia. The people, the country, the people, the climate (ask me again in a couple of months when it’s 40 degrees plus and 90% humidity!), the people, the food, the people, the bonkersness, oh and did I mention the people.
- I really, really, really, really like wearing flip flops every day
- I thrive on standing out, being noticed, being different, being more than a little bit bonkers and laughing at life and myself in equal measure.
- I like having a base. I’m glad I didn’t end up going backpacking – travelling out from one place is far more me.
- I have an inbuilt need to help other people on a daily basis and this needs to form part of my working life (in fairness I thought the placement would give me this but as they say in Stoke ‘you know what thought did…’.
- I still don’t suffer fools gladly. Yep, I knew this already but I now know it’s not limited to UK based fools.
- Whilst I’ve found inner peace through yoga and meditation visualisation proves more challenging for me. That said, whenever I do manage to visualise anything it generally involves being by water.
- I really enjoy writing and think I’m pretty good at it (lots of people I know have told me that, but perhaps more importantly, so have some people who don’t know me)
- I am my own worst enemy. Yep, that’s another one that’s actually old news but I feel like for the first time in my life I’m properly tackling that one, putting Norman in his box and switching up that old self talk so it helps and doesn’t hinder my progress.
- My family and friends are even more awesome than I already thought. Can’t write any more on this just now as I’m in a café and thinking about how blessed I am to have such wonderful people looking out for me is making me cry.
And so to the point of this blog:
- Where has all of this learning led me?
- What is chapter 2 of this new life in flip flops going to entail?
Drum Roll Please………….
This time next week will see me sitting in an airport hotel in Bangkok, having left my flat and made myself temporarily homeless, awaiting the arrival of my little sis and her clan.
I am beyond excited to have the opportunity to share my world with not only my sis and brother in law, but with the two little girls who bring more joy to my life than I ever thought was possible. After a whistlestop tour of Bangkok (I’m desperately trying to get over my long held Bangkokaphobia before they arrive) we’re going to explore the Kingdom of Wonder together and myself, Emily & Grace will all be blogging about it so watch this space to find out more.
And after that?
Well, first of all I’m moving base. I’m heading to one of my favourite towns in Cambodia, Kampot, to live by the river and only a few miles from the sea (taking my cue from all those water visualisations). This post I wrote on my first visit to the town might give you an idea (other than the presence of water) as to why I’ve chosen to move there: A trip in superlatives
And as for what I’m going to do. The plan as of now goes like this:
- Find a base in Kampot (probably a long stay guesthouse) from March to June, at which point I’ll be returning briefly to the UK to earn some cash working in a Summer School and catching up with people.
- continue to wear flip flops every day
- Write for pleasure. Having enjoyed the writing process to date I have developed an itch to write a book and so I’m going to scratch it
- Write for money. I’m currently exploring avenues to make money from writing and will continue to explore this in Kampot
- Look for online and face to face English teaching gigs
- Explore revamping and reigniting renaissance4women as an online coaching business
- Test out the feasibility of running small group PT sessions in Kampot
- Join a crafting community or if there isn’t already one then create one
- Look at ways to practically support the work of a great project in Kampot called the Banteay Srei Project
- Constantly look for opportunities to generate income through sharing my skills and expertise to allow me to live in the Kingdom of Wonder for the foreseeable future
So there you have it. Thank you all so much for being with me through chapter 1 – I really hope you keep popping by to see how chapter 2 is shaping up in my new life in flipflops.
P.S. By the way, if you have any suggestions for money making gigs that might suit my unique mix of ‘talents’ then please feel free to share them with me