Without a nickel to my name Hopped a bus, here I came Could be brave or just insane We’ll have to see
Well, it was not a bus, but a plane and I have some savings. Still, boarding on that plane (on both, as I had a connecting flight) had the flavour of an irreversible move that acts as a cornerstone in my life. A one-way ticket! Just how much more adventurous could it get? Not that a return flight isn’t just a few clicks away, but what matters here is the intention. There is nothing harder and more liberating than detachment.
If we consider Buddha’s words as truthful and accept that attachment is the root of suffering, then there is something symbolical in me detaching from all I know and love by moving to the world’s most Buddhist country.
My first stop for 2019 is Thailand with its 93.6% Buddhist population. The duration of my stay will be 2 months and no, it is not a “soul-searching, trying-to-find-myself-trip”. I’ve done my homework on that! It is a “get-out-of-your-comfort-zone”, “survive”, “widen-your-horizons”, “learn-new-things”, “get-involved-in-new-projects” kind of venture.
One step at a time
Detachment planted its seeds in my life some years ago. It started out with me noticing and assessing how many things I own and buy, most of which do no more than collect dust. And so, I embraced minimalism. Not that I own 30 items. My quick-draws alone surpass that number. But I do own only that which I use and need (check out Maslow’s hierarchy of needs).
The change was a fun process. I resold many things and used most of the money to fund my new passion’s equipment a.k.a. climbing stuff, which I very much use and need. If something was not on the sales life, I would give it away to people in need. Some things I donated to charity, others I reshaped. Old dresses turned into new tops and skirts. And not for a second have I felt loss. On the contrary, liberation was in order.
In time, I realised that it is not only material things we need to get rid of. It is also toxic relations, the need to explain yourself all the time, exhaustion from doing things you find pointless, anxieties of missing out, not fitting in, total control, fear of failure. You know what I mean. Who doesn’t? Once you realise all that, you naturally become somewhat anti-social, observant and disgusted by how our materialistic economy has made us live.
Changing life triggers an emergency alarm in the minds. Before you go down that road, you will first need to change your perception. This is the hardest and most important step. For example, when you liberate yourself from the unnecessary, try not to think about emptiness. Instead, think of it as a space created for you to enjoy.
That stash room filled with boxes of useless things can give space to a place where you can dance, draw or just spin around. Time spent with toxic people just because “there is no one else” or “I don’t want to be alone” or “I love him/her even though I feel miserable” can create space for getting to know yourself. Use it to learn new things, to create yourself, to share with those who appreciate you and whom you appreciate back.
It is precisely the feelings of emptiness and loneliness that trigger attachment. Once you realise that you always have your own company and it is up to you to make it a good one, being alone won’t necessarily mean being lonely. After all, you have to keep up with yourself for a lifetime!
Changing perspective is one of the most powerful tools a man has. Better make the most out of its use!
2019 Detachment Challenge
More than a year ago (end of 2017) I took out my Jack-Sparrow-kind-of-compass, mapped out where I am and where I want to be. I then figured out the first small steps I will have to make to create the change I wished. It needed not be a jump start. Because no, you don’t just twist like a Superman and voilà–you have changed. It takes time and dedication.
“In any given moment, we have two options: to step forward into growth or step back into safety.”
– Abraham Maslow
I took Abraham Maslow’s words and stepped forward into growth. That meant to get out of my safety zone, ditch home and everything familiar, and adapt to the world out there. Do not mistake my decision to move to Thailand as a whim. There is a solid logic behind it. My one-way ticket is to a nomadic lifestyle and the choice of my first stop being Chiang Mai is because of the Annual Digital Nomad Summit that is taking place there in January. A strategic step to growth, new projects and networking.
In the ordinary run of a grown-up’s lifestyle, I break the habit and dive into the unknown. With hope, spontaneity, wonder and simplicity all being qualities I embrace, I packed my backpack and here I am–brave or just insane?