Mount agung in the sunset Life thoughts

The working culture that made me escape

I want to tell you something about the working culture in my home country. Still, to this day i am affected by this culture. I realized it one day while i was laying in my hammock. I suddenly felt guilty and started thinking i should go out and do something. People are going to start thinking i am not doing anything. I had to literally calm myself down and tell myself it does not matter. And how the reality really is: i am doing a lot.

Every single day i practice teaching yoga. Every single day i listen to educational podcasts. Every single day i study yoga philosophy. Every single day i write a lot down my own thoughts about it. Every single day i study sequencing.

Gili trawangan island yoga

And all this i do on a tropical island, laying in my hammock, or on the beach, while enjoying it. And enjoying the life i am having. And because i am enjoying it in a beautiful place, it makes me feel like i am not doing enough. I am just being lazy and having fun.

I have gotten rid of many things that have been planted into me, but this one just sticks. The constant need to feel and be effective. That’s a result of first bosses being bullies (the feeling of never being or doing enough, never getting a thanks or appreciation for what you have done) and the idea that what matters the most in your life is how much you work.

Gili trawangan island yoga

A few examples of this culture:

  • Once i heard a lady say she does not understand why the room for employees to take a break is right next to where the customers are being served. She was shocked that they would actually let people see the employees going in to take a break.
  • A place i worked at provided me food for lunch, but i was not allowed to eat there so customers would not see me. Eating. Doing something totally normal everyone does.
  • At my first job ever the room of the lady boss was right next to where i worked. She had a window to my working spot and she was by the window, all day, looking at me. When she would see me stop to stretch or adjust my position or leave for toilet, she would come to me and say “i have been keeping an eye on you and you do not do your work efficiently enough”.
  • I got fired from a job the day before my salary was supposed to be raised. I sent a letter through a lawyer to demand for the money and the papers that legally belonged to me and i got a call from the ex boss, a grown up woman. She told me i do not deserve anything in life and she is not surprised if i never get another job because she knows people like me and people like me are lazy and inactive.
  • The fact that many employers bully the young people who come to work for the first time in their lives: they don’t know their rights, they are not being treated well, and they start despising the whole idea of working – that is exactly what happened to me when i was under 20 years old. The horror and the anxiety of having to face another bully as a boss made me not want to apply for jobs, and this made me lazy and not worthy in the eyes of the society and in the eyes of other people.
  • When i told someone about this, they said “that’s how it is to be a working adult. No one of us has it easy.” It is when i started wondering for the first time, is this what life is going to be like? Is this what i am going to have to accept?
  • When i was leaving to my first backpacking trip, some people asked me “how can you leave when you don’t know how the economical situation will be when you get back? You should rather grab this job now and hold on to it.”
  • When i got back, many people were only interested in what job i am going to apply now that i am back.
  • I feel that the quality of you as a person depends on how hard you work. People burn out and they are respected as “hard workers”.
  • I feel like the general idea is that if you do enjoy your job and what you do, you are really not working hard enough. Are you really working at all?
  • Once i read from the newspaper that at some day cares the children use a time card to log themselves in and out “to get them used to the working life from early age”.
  • The fact that if you are chatting with your workmates and enjoying working, maybe even laughing, you are not apparently getting your job done properly.
  • Basically the whole idea that the job you have is the most important part of you, and the more you work the more worthy you are.
  • + I will never understand why “stress managing” is a thing – oh, she handles her stress very well. She is a good employee. Hard working. When actually instead of managing the stress, i think we should be aiming to reduce it. Even to get rid of it one and for all.

Gili trawangan island work

… and how the ability to work under pressure is so appreciated

The least favorite thing of mine when looking at advertisements for jobs: when almost every single one of them say “you need to be able to keep a smile and work well under pressure.” It makes me cringe. Big time. Because some people, including myself, just do not work like that. They do not do their best work when being pressured by the task, the people around, the customers or the bosses. They lock up. They lose their ability to act. Even the simplest tasks become hard. Like copying papers. I feel that instead of wanting the employees to work well under pressure, the most important thing an employer can do is to try to reduce it. It’s a big part of their responsibility to make the working environment kind. So that people can flow, their smiles can be real and they can work better, they can do the job and the task better.

Beach yoga in Gili Trawangan island

I know from my own experience it is possible to work like that. Without being pressured from anywhere, with a kind environment of non-judgment and understanding, with bosses that are nice for you and give thanks. Not only i did enjoy going to work, i did everything i was supposed to do, and i did it well. Change that into a bully-boss who pressures me and breathes on my neck – i lose my ability to work. And it has nothing, really, to do with how good of an employee i am. It has everything to do with self love and respect and deciding i deserve better, i deserve a surrounding that will treat me like a human. And now, at 28 years of age, i know i will never accept bad treatment from people ever again. It does not matter if they are my bosses or anyone else i cross paths with. All of us deserve to make this decision for themselves. To stand up and change for the better.

Drop the self-doubt, make it happen Life thoughts

About overcoming self-doubt

When i thought about teaching an actual yoga class someday, i was immediately filled with self-doubt. Just some of the thoughts swirling in my head:

How the hell can i do this?
What if i freeze in the middle of the class?
What if i forget what to say?
What if i mix up left and right?
What if i forget what a leg is called?
What if my instructions are not clear?
What if everyone hates my class?
What if i am not creative enough?
What if the other experienced people and teachers judge me?

Drop the self-doubt, be here now, be there later

And have you ever had this moment: You have to do a thing. Then you watch someone else do the thing. And comparison starts eating you up: maybe i should do it more like her? Maybe i should also include this and this.. Maybe i should use these words, they seem better than mine. She did it so well, mine is nothing compared to hers. What if others will compare us? They will probably not like mine as much. Maybe i should try to make mine more like hers.

I feel myself wanting to curl up to a little ball and stay there. Forever.

Self-doubt is heavy to carry. It weighs you down. It’s a real, deep feeling that eats you up in tiny little pieces until you are left as a nervous wreck. And it’s up to you to either let it happen or stop it before it really begins. And when you think about it a bit deeper, it’s only lies. It’s all what-ifs. It’s not reality, it is an illusion in your own mind. It’s nothing that has happened already, nothing that’s happening to you right now.

I explored my feelings and came to the conclusion that my self-doubt is caused by the following things:

  • fear of not being perfect (=messing up words, mixing left and right, forgetting something, not being clear enough)
  • fear of judgement (=what if they will hate it? what if they will think i am not good enough?)
  • comparison (=the teacher i had before was so good, i am not as good as they are.)

Drop the self-doubt, find your own way

My advice to myself for overcoming self-doubt

  1. Your breath is your strongest ally. So be there with your breath. Connect with it. Every time you remember, come back to your breath.
  2. Acceptance. Practice fierce, radical acceptance towards the fact that you are feeling this way. Tell yourself it’s okay. You are human being with feelings. There is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong if other people see your nervousness. So accept your feeling instead of fighting it. Acknowledge it but don’t dwell on it. Create space around it. You are a human, you have a feeling, and it’s fine.
  3. Get out of yourself. No one is thinking about you as much as you are. No one is thinking about your performance as much as you are. No one is thinking about your speech and movements as much as you are. Literally no one cares about it as much as you do. No one judges yourself as much as you do. So get out of yourself and realize: it is not about you.
  4. I repeat: it is not about you. It is about the people who come there to practice with you. It is about sharing what you know with them. You are just there, in between the people and the yoga. It has nothing to do with you or how you mixed up left and right and how you forgot the name of a body part.
  5. If someone is judging you – this also has nothing to do with you. Someones judgement does not define you. It does not define your practice, your knowledge, your class. It only has to do with the person who is judging and their inner journey. It is none of your business what they think about you.
  6. No one expects perfectionism. Neither should you. You have seen your favorite teachers make mistakes. They don’t dwell on it, they don’t stop to think “oh man, i messed that up. Damn, what do i do now? I can’t believe i made a mistake”. They carry on without apologies. They are used to it. Because it happens to all of us, literally. So why should you expect perfection from yourself? As you know, expectations create fear. When the fear is there, you can’t focus on the doing. So drop it. Drop the perfectionism and know that whatever happens, it’s ok.
  7. When you compare yourself to another person and how they do a thing, you start drifting away from your authentic self. When you try to follow a script that’s not natural to you, you drift away from your authentic self. And when you drift away, you are trying to play a role: a role of yourself, a role of something else, a role of the perfect teacher you want to be. And when this happens, you start automatically being more insecure, more clumsy, more not-knowing-what-to-do-and-say. So be authentic. Be how you are, right at this moment. Do not try to be who you want to be after two years of practice. Do not try to imitate someone else. Do not lose the authenticity. “Start where you are, with what you have.”
  8. And remember: whatever happens in your first class, second class or on the 150th class, does not define you as a teacher.

Beatles ashram in Rishikesh India

With these things in mind, i will start preparing myself. By practicing compassion towards myself, practicing acceptance towards all the feelings that are rising up. And by keeping it super simple for now.

Morning beach yoga, vasisthasana Life thoughts

This is the life now.

I wake up to the sound of rustling leaves and the wind shaking the bedroom windows. It’s 5 am and for a little while i dwell on the feeling: imagining i am in Finland, it’s cold and dark outside, i have to get up and go outside to the freezing rain. This image is a way for me to remember to count all the blessings life is offering me right now. So that when i open my eyes, i tap right in to the reality. This is the image that made me the most anxious when i used to be at home. But now, I get out of bed, walk into the front door and open it to the warm tropical morning. The wind greets my face as i let the loudly meowing cat in.

Mount Agung in Bali

The reality and the blessings. I can pack my bag and my yoga mat at 6 am in the morning. I will bicycle to the beach that is less than five minutes away. See the sun rising from behind the Rinjani volcano in Lombok. Do my morning yoga practice as the sun rises. Then buy a cheap meal of rice and vegetables from a local woman. I can read and study while laying in my hammock, i can lay on the beach next to the ridiculously turquoise sea, i can breathe in the ocean air. I can call this my home now.

Dancing on the beach

For a long time i had a huge “india hangover”. It was really hard to come back to a world that was so quiet and so organized. To walk the streets where no one was honking. No crowds, no cows, no noise. And strangely, i missed it. I missed the chaos and i missed all the feelings i had while i was there. The ridiculously drugging feeling of bravery, the thrilling feeling of being on my own in such a place. And being back in familiar, peaceful Bali was a big shock. Coming to the Gili Trawangan island, that had been quieted by the earthquakes, made me feel strangely lonely. I was surrounded by new people, who were to slowly become the people i would interact with every day from now on. Suddenly i was here, settling down for a while.

abandoned temple in bali

Every morning, every day and every evening i would repeat myself the words someone said to me while in India. “Promise me you will try to find stability in your life.” And i keep repeating them, still. And slowly, little by little, i have been finding glimpses of a ridiculous joy. I danced around my house and told myself, this is my new home. Here is my new kitchen. This is my room, my bed, my hot water shower. This is my garden and i am going to give it my love. This is my new cat, these are the kittens and i can watch them grow. This is my porch and these people are my neighbors. And this is my life.

Biking towards the sunrise

A comforting feeling of stability is slowly coming for me. I have set up a routine of practicing and reading. Studying yoga texts and planning classes. Because sooner or later, on this island, i am going to teach yoga for real. And it makes me both excited and scared. Mostly excited. For the first time in my life i feel like i know what i am doing and i know what i want to do. I have goals that i know i will keep reaching for.

Gili Trawangan beach

The thought of accidentally moving to Indonesia even though i was supposed to go back home in May feels so funny. A few days ago i closed my Finnish sim card. Soon i am trying to register an Indonesian one. I gave up on the phone number i have had since i was eight years old. That’s twenty years. The life as i knew it has already changed so much in the last nine months i have spent away from Finland – i am ready to let go of it all. Even my old dear phone number.

Street art in Rishikesh India Life thoughts

Week six in India

Every time i set off to go somewhere on my own, i have this certain feeling. Of fear, anxiety, aliveness and excitement mixing together and making me feel like i have never been in the moment as much before this. It feels like every breath i take is the most important breath of my life. Things feel surreal. That is exactly how i felt when i left Thailand towards India, and that’s exactly how it felt when i boarded the night train last night and my dear friends left me there, alone. Alone in India.

So full of adrenaline. Excitement. Secure feelings of safety and confidence. I sat there, alone, accompanied by seven indian men who didn’t know exactly where to look and how to deal with the fact that i was there.

A night train in India

From my journal today:

“Rishikesh is to me like a dream, details are slowly fading away from my memory, like a dream i had couple of nights ago, or a movie i saw last weekend. I still feel it and i remember it, but it doesn’t seem real anymore. And now, and now… Open heart. Trusting my gut feelings. Trusting myself. Being brave, being courageous. Having faith. Because i am alone in India.

Two weeks, me and India, open plans. I will greet myself with love. With caring. With smiles, with forgiveness. I will read, study, yoga, wander, sit by the river, breathe everything in, the colorful chaos that is India. I have a feeling, a wonderful, secure feeling, that not only everything will go well, but i will have an amazing time.

A butterfly in a himalayan temple

I am ready to take in all the rest India has to teach me. I can’t even believe how strong the calling is. To go on my own. If i had the choice to go with someone, i would still go on my own. The calling is stronger than the fear that lurks in the background. And that’s how i know i am doing something very right.

And here i am… Sitting with the men. They shared their snacks with me, helped me make my bed and offered me a turn to charge my phone. I am in a country where it’s recommended i travel only during the day. ‘Don’t take the night train or the night bus’, i read this line so many times. Yet.. Here i am. Feeling safe. Chatting casually with the men. I am in a country where instead of everyone saying “enjoy your trip” they said “please be careful and stay safe”. When i first landed, the pilot said “good luck” instead of “enjoy your stay”.

A monkey alone in india at maa kunjapuri temple

And this is exactly what i needed. To be alone in India. To be as brave as i am right now. Not to let the world make me scared of something. I needed to come here and see for myself. And the people.. They look at me because they are curious. They are interested. They don’t look at me because they want to hurt me. They are people. Just… People. For every bad one there is a hundred with a good heart. And that’s what i sincerely believe. I know the feeling in my guts if someone is not to be trusted. That’s what i am listening to.

I needed to prove myself i can have an open heart like this. To believe that this man who is sitting next to me does not want to harm me. I can trust my intuition, i can trust the world, the universe. I can travel in a night train alone in India, in a compartment full of men, and still feel safe and secure and good.

A wall text in Beatles ashram, rishikesh

These are the things that change me. I need to dig so so so deep into myself to find the trust, the courage, the strength, the confidence. In moments like these, i have no choice. It is the only option. To look into myself, find everything that’s already inside me. And when i know i found it once, it will be forever with me.

I did it. I did it. Here i am, waiting for the train to move the last kilometers towards the holy city of Varanasi. What’s there, i don’t know – taking it easy, studying, letting go and accepting the fact that all the people i met in Rishikesh are gone now and i am alone. Alone in India. Greeting myself with love. And new beginnings.”

Evening barbecue in thailand Journaling

New rules

I made new rules because I tend to be all over the place. One piece in the past, one in the future, a half of a piece maybe here. And my thoughts in every single thing i should be handling. I don’t realize i don’t need to do it all right now. I don’t realize i can really do only one thing at a time. And to do it properly i need to give it my attention. I know i need to pack, i need to do laundry, i need to e-mail my hotel in Delhi, i need to contact the girls coming to the same flight as me, i need to eat lunch, i need to stretch, i need to make a shopping list for Phuket, i need to drink water, i need to dry my yoga mat, i need to walk the dogs. That’s what i know. But what i usually don’t realize is that i’m not going to do it all at one, right now.

So i made new rules that i want to remember. To simplify life and to simplify the doing. So i would not be all over the place. My mind needs to be here, focusing on one thing at the time.

Journal page about slowing down

Do one thing at a time. And this means really one thing. If i am drinking coffee, i am drinking coffee. I want to taste the coffee. When i am walking, i want to make every step as important as the one i arrive with.

Do it slowly. Everything will be accomplished.

Put your mind into the doing. So that i know that what i am doing right now is the most important thing i am doing. So that i know whatever i will do, i will do it well and focused. Even if it is eating lunch.

Do not judge if you don’t know. And even if you do, don’t. “That guy is strange. What’s wrong with him. Why is he like that?” I notice myself thinking sometimes. But the thing is, i will not never know his story. Or her story. It is not my place to judge and critique how someone else is. Because it really, really doesn’t have anything to do with me.

Notice your breath. It’s the link to this moment.

A page in my midori traveler's notebook

Be there when talking to someone. I want to really be talking to them, and listening to them – not glancing over their shoulder or on my phone or waiting for the conversation to be over. Genuine connection. Genuine communication. Give the people your full attention.

It’s OK to feel things. It’s ok to be hurt, to be sensitive, to feel tired, to erase yourself from the situation, to be weak, to be angry, to be anxious. It’s ok to feel them. Be there and feel it. Don’t suffocate them. Let them be. Then let them go.

Drop everything that is pulling you down. It doesn’t matter what it is. People. Situations. Overthinking. PMS. The past. The future. If it doesn’t serve you, drop it. Just drop it. Like a heavy baggage.

Anything concerning other people is really, really none of your business. Why am i letting myself thinking mean things about people, why am i judging them for acting a certain way that does not appeal to me – they are not in this world to act so that would be pleased and happy. Because again, really – it doesn’t have anything to do with me if someone has big fake boobs or if someone acts a certain way. It doesn’t have anything to do with me if someone is too loud or too quiet or doesn’t very much like tofu. Other people are none of my business.

Midori Traveler's notebook spread

A dog on the earth, Thailand Life thoughts

This earth is your home

Sometimes I feel so small in front of this earth. Powerless when the thunder shakes the trees in the garden. I feel so tiny in front of volcanoes that steam and glow in the night. So vulnerable walking on the ground that lives and moves. Knowing that anything could wipe me out at any second. Knowing how nature will always win in the end.

A beautiful morning mist in Thailand

Some days i carry the pain of the world so heavily my brain cannot take it. The other day my mind shut down and i spend the day in bed. The next day i woke up and faced the world again with a clearer heart. I wanted to kidnap all the trucks on their way to slaughterhouses, i wanted to stop all the men in suits who care about nothing but making more money, i wanted to stop the whole world full of people and shake them, to tell everyone to take a really big step back and have a look what’s going on. But I realized the pain is not for me to carry. The world is not for me to change.

But still, i feel so responsible. Not just by what i do to be responsible, but also the way i think. I get my energy from the nature, from the big old trees i walk by, the ground i caress with my bare feet, every nourishing plant i eat. I feel responsible on giving back to this earth. Every day i thank her for existing and nourishing me, for letting me exist in it. I love her endlessly, the drops of water falling down, the thunder that makes me cover my ears, the ants that bite me in the dark of the night, every new green leaf that grows and every old one that drops.

A huge June mushroom

I want to spend time with her and tap into her rhythm, welcome each day and appreciate the abundance of care she offers me. I want to remember to appreciate every step in the forest. Or in the jungle. And to remember what a wonder it is; this mushroom grows here, from the earth. Or this fruit. I can pick it and eat it, and it provides me with energy and nutrients. It’s a miraculous thing, really. And miraculous how often we forget this. To be thankful.

Wild herbs collected from the earth, finland

Hammock time relaxing and doing nothing in Cambodia Life thoughts

There is beauty in doing nothing

When was the last time you did nothing, purposefully? I don’t mean waiting in lines or the doctor’s office, or being stuck in the traffic or standing in the bus station. But doing nothing without checking your phone, without waiting, without reading books or magazines – just nothing.

We are taught from a young age that doing nothing is bad. It’s lazy, it’s not beneficial, it’s something to be ashamed of. And it results in us as expectations for ourselves, as doing too much and not getting rest. It pressures us to do more, to get more results, to do and do and do our best all the time. Because doing nothing is bad, right?

Cats chilling and doing nothing in a spirit house, Thailand
I don’t know anyone who is better at doing nothing than cats.

But doing nothing results in doing more.

I got this thought first time about three years ago. I woke up and my first thought was “today I will get something done”. When I opened my eyes, I saw a white mosquito net, heard the distant waves caressing the beach and the morning crickets starting their concert slowly but steadily. I was on a remote island with no wifi, no electricity and almost literally nothing to do. I was shocked to see how much my carefully trained mind wanted to do something. To get something done. Something that will bring results. And I did not even know what it was – just something. Even on a remote island where I came to relax, I felt it was not okay to just be.

I spent there six weeks practicing on doing nothing. At first I was almost desperate. The hardest part was trying to convince myself that it’s ok to not do anything. I am the only one judging myself. I told myself over and over again: I am here to do nothing, I do not need to get anything done, I don’t even have anything to get done – I have nothing and I need to do nothing. My body was restless and I wanted to do beneficial things, something, something.. Just something.

Palm trees in Koh Tonsay Cambodia

And then it changed. My mind was suddenly bursting with ideas and creativity. I was writing from morning until the darkness fell. Went to bed at seven and woke up at five. Suddenly I felt like I have everything I need. I was freed of the haunting feeling of wanting to be important and successful and productive. The productivity appeared by itself and I started having a blissful feeling of joy in every single moment.

All this slowly disappeared when I left the island. Six months later I was in Bali and joined a restorative yoga class. I lifted my legs up on a bolster, closed my eyes and listened to the relaxing music and thought to myself: why do I need to take a yoga class like this to let myself be? Why do I need an excuse for doing nothing? Why do I need a permission for it?

A stunning sunset in Flores, Indonesia

The philosophy of doing nothing

Recently my boyfriend told me about a thing called wu wei. It is one of the most important concepts of Taoism. It is literally meaning non-action or non-doing – or the paradoxical action of doing nothing. I was instantly fascinated about this and remembered my time on the island. How doing nothing helped me to do so much. Never in my life I had had so much ideas, so many words pouring on to the paper. The result of doing nothing was one of the most creative times in my life so far.

And still, I fight with this. It is in our culture to be productive and get something done and work hard. You do nothing and instantly feel lazy. I have heard people judging someone who works in a grocery store for going to take a break so that the customers saw them going. I was forbidden to enjoy my lunch where customers could see me taking a break when I was working at Subway. We admire people who do many things at the same time and we praise people who work a lot without breaks and vacations. Ambition is the most important and respected trait we can have. We are allowed to rest without judgement only when we burn out – and even then, we feel the pressure to get back to work quickly instead of healing ourselves first.

Sitting by the river with bananas
One day when we were sitting by the river doing nothing, local kids joined us to do the nothing.

I have ambition. I have so much ambition to learn to let myself be. To let myself do nothing. Ambition to silence that “do something!” repeating in my head over and over again when I sit down to relax. I want to learn the mindset of the thai woman who was sleeping on her desk when we went to check in to our hostel. “Hahaha sorry I was relaxing”, she said. No worries, we answered – I respect this more than all of the bosses who breathe on their employees neck even when all the work is done.

Challenge yourself to do nothing today. See how long you can take before your mind starts telling you to make the bed, to do the dishes, to prepare food, to exercise, to study, to check e-mails, to work, to distract your nothing with something.

A thai buddhist prayer time

Life thoughts

is this the life now?

I have spent twenty-six winters in Finland and two on the other side of the world. I remember December 2016. One morning i was sitting by the dinner table with my morning coffee, staring into the distance, thinking; is this the life now? Am i going to get this degree and find the job and work for the next three winters? It was only six months after we got back from a ten month trip with my boyfriend. And six months of feelings of unease – i had a huge pressure of feeling the “what now? what’s next?” A huge pressure to make a plan, to figure out what i want to do. I tried to go to school to relieve the pressure, just to have an answer to the questions. To have something to answer to people when they would ask “so you went traveling, what now?”

A beautiful green mountain view after a hike in Pulau Padar, Indonesia
Pulau Padar, Indonesia

“Well… I am going to school. I am really liking it and i am trying to find a job for the summer, the usual things…” But seriously, i wasn’t doing it because i wanted to, but just to have something to say to people, and something to say to myself. That i am being a good person, i am trying, i am doing something, i have it all figured out. I couldn’t stand to admit to people and to myself how lost i felt in the world and in the society. And i couldn’t stand to admit that i have no idea what to do.

All i really wanted to tell to everyone was that i had seen a glimpse of a life in places where it never gets cold. In places i can pick my own coconuts from the garden. In places where the ocean glows red and turquoise in the light of the setting sun. I have seen what life could be like, and i will not be happy here, i will not be happy if i stay.

Traveling gets rough sometimes, so hammock time and cocktails on the beach are needed.
Chill time in Koh Tonsay, Cambodia

So i had to go. While drinking that coffee i said to myself, for some reason: this time next year i will be in Bali. I don’t know why exactly it was Bali, but that was decided then and there, that’s what first popped into my head. And the 6th of December 2017, everything i own was safely packed up in a small room of my childhood home, and i was on the empty plane going towards Denpasar. Traveling alone for the first time in my life, even though to an easy and safe destination, filled me with so much emotion i can still almost feel it. The feeling is safely packed inside my heart, where i treasure it and hope to never forget.

I was supposed to be going back. I wrote fourteen job applications, sent them before i left traveling but only got an answer to one of them. During my second whole month in Bali i wrote three to four applications per week and looked at available jobs every day after lunch and got one interview. I was trying not to be stressed about it, but my date of going back home came closer and closer, and i had nothing to go back to.

Traveler's notebooks traveling in Kampot, Cambodia
Well traveled traveler’s notebooks in Cambodia

It took me a ridiculous amount of time to realize i do not need to go back. I was trying too hard to control the future i was about to lose because things were not going the way i wanted them to go. I was trying to protect the ideal plan we had made for ourselves. It came to me very slowly, the realization that i don’t need to be in Finland to live my life. I don’t need to keep Finland as my home, as my base. I can do anything – i actually can do anything! What a relief it was, when one morning realized it. I let go of every piece of control i tried to have, i let go of expectations, i let go of the “what now? what’s next?”

Suddenly every little detail started falling into place. I got an offer to work in Thailand for next high season. My boyfriend got a job from a little island in Indonesia. I found myself paying a deposit of a yoga teacher training held in India next July – and i got a promise that i will have a spot to keep classes in Thailand.

Two little cambodian boys making a show on the sidewalk of Kampot, Cambodia
Local kids making a show for us in Kampot, Cambodia

There it was and here it is: we are officially starting a life out of our backpacks, at least for a year on, who knows how long. The next twelve months i am going to live half in Indonesia and half in Thailand, traveling to India in the meanwhile. It all sounds so strange to me, still. Sometimes i sit down and quiet myself. I look up and see the palm trees. I close my eyes and hear the sounds of the jungle. Then i wonder; is this the life now?

And i smile.