A Story Of A Life Designers First Time
Splash.
The bracing cold water hits my face and flows over my body as I dive out of the sun and  slip into the cool water. I exhale and let myself drift slowly downwards to sit crossed legged on the bottom of the pool. I remain motionless, listening to the faint underwater hum of the filtering system  and watch the bubbles float slowly upwards through dancing underwater sunbeams to break gently in an array of reflected light at the surface. It’s 2pm. Tuesday.
This time a month ago I would have been mid way through a 3 hour client meeting trying unsuccessfully to convince some highly agitated clients that, while I understand a two month project delay is unacceptable, redesigns at such a late stage take time and cost money and so are unavoidable. It is the same conversation I have every week and is currently going to keep me in the office until gone 8…again.
Shaking my head slightly in remembrance  of an old life that currently seems so distant, I let another bubble escape my lips and watch it float upwards towards freedom. As I look around my underwater paradise and watch the light dancing off the pool walls, I feel just like the bubble. It breaks at the surface, now forever free of the old confides that once trapped it.
I smile to myself. Yes, this is definitely different.
Bangkok Beginnings
Bordered by the mountains of Laos, the flats of Cambodia and the expanse of Burma nestles the land of Thailand, affectionately known to foreign felangs as “The Land Of Smiles.” Within this amazing landscape lies the capital of Bangkok, and it is here that I began my new journey as a life designer and traveling entrepreneur.
Thailand means a lot of things to a lot of people, but to this fledgling life designer 3 months ago, it represented the opportunity to change the course of my life forever.
I, like many before me, entered this new land and new challenge, a nervous and excited outsider, grasping my rucksack and the few familiar comforts I brought with me tightly as I left the airport and ventured towards an unknown life. Three months later I left a confident traveler, refined by this beautiful place and the proud owner of a radically redefined view of what life can be and what it means to truly live and define my own world without confines. This is my story and call to action.
Find Your Own Thailand
From the smiles of trained air hostess to the heart felt appreciation of an unfortunate blind Thai beggar for a cold drink on a hot day, it is impossible not to fall in love with the people of Thailand. It has been less than 90 days, hardly enough time to even grasp the very basics of the language of this country I have been so fortunate enough to have experience these last months and still, as I write this article while on the plane flying back to England, I am compelled to return in the future. Thailand was my chance to finally realise how important it is to honour this gift of life that is bestowed upon each one of us. You will have your own Thailand to seek out that is unique to you -it is up to you to rise to the challenge.
I am three months older since I first arrived but in a very real sense I have grown far more than this small timeframe in life would usually allow.This is the start of my journey and yet, if it had been the ONLY journey I was to take, that in itself, it would be enough.
Whup Whup Whup
I lie back and watch the rotor blades of the Cambodian room fan spin relentlessly in the ceiling above me. To my right is a view out of the window of palm trees and blue skies, to my left the two home-made walking crutches propped against the stark white wall. My traveling partner is out for a few hours, off exploring the city as I lie here high on pain killers. She has been incredibly good to me in my current crippled state and I am very grateful to her for this.
Its around 6, Wednesday I think. A few months ago I would still be in the office, wordlessly willing my client to put the phone down so I could finally escape and not have my evening plans ruined yet again.
Two different lives and I am trapped by both, one in an office on the phone, one lying in a bed with a fractured foot. Only one of these lives, however, had me racing through the mist in a Tuk Tuk at 4.30 in the morning, hiding from the cold whipping air under a blanket with a beautiful blond on my way over to the ancient ruins of Ankawat to catch the sunrise and as it happens, break my ankle.
I lie back, put on some U2 “It’s a Beautiful Day” and smile. Bono, you speak the truth, It truly is a beautiful day.
You get one life so make it count
What is the perfect life? I do not know.
What brings an individual happiness is different for each one of us, and what brings me  or you or anyone happiness now may not do so in the future.
What I do know, however, is that you only get one life, and one chance to make the most of it. For me, it unfortunately took a huge event in my life, one I would not wish on anyone, to jog me out of my rut and finally make me throw caution to the wind and stop playing it safe and actually start living my life. If I could reverse that event and lose all that I have done since then, I would in an instant, but regrettably I cannot.
I can however choose to honour the memories of those that I loved by not shying away from what life has to offer and to live boldly. This is a powerful motivator and one that drives me forward. You need to find your own motivator, the thing that will drive you to live your own personal journey boldly, fearlessly and adventurously, whether you choose to break completely free as I have chosen or  any multitude of other things such as creating a loving home, nurturing a wonderful marriage, building a successful career, raising incredible children or developing a deep social circle of friends.
Whatever stage of your life you are at, you need to know what brings you personal happiness and also brings happiness to those you care about. You need to know what this is and then you must pursuit it relentlessly.
Do NOT settle for Second Best
As The Dead Poets Society suggest, you need to “Suck the very marrow out of life”, do not settle for second best, do not except less then you can achieve. You have incredible abilities and talents that are unique to you, and only you – discover them, develop them and use them. Do not let life pass you by. Be forceful, make life play ball, make life work for you. Get your hands dirty, get sweaty, get involved until you physically can’t give any more and you collapse exhausted but content, safe in the knowledge that you gave it your all.
When you work, work hard.
When you play, play well.
When you cry, cry from the depths within.
When you love, love with your everything.
When you win, take the victory.
When you lose, accept the loss.
When you praise, give it lavishly.
When you give, give generously.
When you forgive, mean it.
When you are sad, appreciate it.
When you are scared, face your fears.
When others are scared, protect them.
When you do something, give it your everything.
When you live, live like your life depends on it
Do this and then, like the sweat after a hard fought sports match, you can be proud that you have earn’t the gift of life that was given to you. This should be the goal for every single individual. How dare you squander the gift of life, it is the most precious gift you will ever receive, so treat it as such.
Do not do it for the approval or respect of others, do it for you. Do not let any man have reason to say that you did not give it your all and played the game  as hard as you could and as well as you could and for as long as you could until you could give no more.
“Ahhhh”
I hear the sigh of my good friend across the table from me. She finishes the last mouthful and lies back and joins the other 3 already staring at the sky, silohetted against the setting sun. I smile and look over to my right to see my other 2 good friends also settling back, I follow suit and we all lie in silence staring at the sky and watching the changing colours and the sun disappears over the horizon. It has been a good day, there has been laughter, there has been tears and there has been relationship.
This time 3 months ago I would be shut off on my computer, exhausted from work and wanting to be alone before I have to get up and do it all over again in the morning. As dusks falls I close my eyes and think of those around me that I care about, I think of my family and I think of those that are no longer with me. I think of these things and I think of life and I know that I will never again shy away from living it to the full, boldly and fearlessly sucking the very marrow out of life.
This is your call to action. Grab life and do not let it get away without giving you everything it has to offer. You only get one.
Thailand was the start of my challenge in designing the life I want. No doubt yours will be different.
Find your own Thailand and take the first steps towards living the life of your dreams because the most important thing to remember is:
You only get one.

Splash

The bracing cold water hits my face and flows over my body as I dive out of the sun and  slip into the cool water. I exhale and let myself drift slowly downwards to sit crossed legged on the bottom of the pool. I remain motionless, listening to the faint underwater hum of the filtering system  and watch the bubbles float slowly upwards through dancing underwater sunbeams to break gently in an array of reflected light at the surface. It’s 2pm. Tuesday.

This time a month ago I would have been mid way through a 3 hour client meeting trying unsuccessfully to convince some highly agitated clients that, while I understand a two month project delay is unacceptable, redesigns at such a late stage take time and cost money and so are unavoidable. It is the same conversation I have every week and is currently going to keep me in the office until gone 8…again.

Shaking my head slightly in remembrance  of an old life that currently seems so distant, I let another bubble escape my lips and watch it float upwards towards freedom.

As I look around my underwater paradise and watch the light dancing off the pool walls, I feel just like the bubble.

It breaks at the surface, now forever free of the old confides that once trapped it.

I smile to myself. Yes, this is definitely different.

Bangkok Beginnings

Bordered by the mountains of Laos, the flats of Cambodia and the expanse of Burma nestles the land of Thailand, affectionately known to foreign felangs as “The Land Of Smiles.” Within this amazing landscape lies the capital of Bangkok, and it is here that I began my new journey as a life designer and traveling entrepreneur.

Thailand means a lot of things to a lot of people, but to this fledgling life designer 3 months ago, it represented the opportunity to change the course of my life forever.

I, like many before me, entered this new land and new challenge, a nervous and excited outsider, grasping my rucksack and the few familiar comforts I brought with me tightly as I left the airport and ventured towards an unknown life. Three months later I left a confident traveler, refined by this beautiful place and the proud owner of a radically redefined view of what life can be and what it means to truly live and define my own world without confines. This is my story and call to action.

Find Your Own Thailand

From the smiles of trained air hostess to the heart felt appreciation of an unfortunate blind Thai beggar for a cold drink on a hot day, it is impossible not to fall in love with the people of Thailand. It has been less than 90 days, hardly enough time to even grasp the very basics of the language of this country I have been so fortunate enough to have experience these last months and still, as I write this article while on the plane flying back to England, I am compelled to return in the future.

Thailand was my chance to finally realise how important it is to honour this gift of life that is bestowed upon each one of us.

You will have your own Thailand to seek out that is unique to you -it is up to you to rise to the challenge.

I am three months older since I first arrived but in a very real sense I have grown far more than this small timeframe in life would usually allow.This is the start of my journey and yet, if it had been the ONLY journey I was to take, that in itself, it would be enough.

Whup Whup Whup

I lie back and watch the rotor blades of the Cambodian room fan spin relentlessly in the ceiling above me. To my right is a view out of the window of palm trees and blue skies, to my left the two home-made walking crutches propped against the stark white wall. My traveling partner is out for a few hours, off exploring the city as I lie here high on pain killers. She has been incredibly good to me in my current crippled state and I am very grateful to her for this.

Its around 6, Wednesday I think. A few months ago I would still be in the office, wordlessly willing my client to put the phone down so I could finally escape and not have my evening plans ruined yet again.

Two different lives and I am trapped by both, one in an office on the phone, one lying in a bed with a fractured foot.

Only one of these lives, however, had me racing through the mist in a Tuk Tuk at 4.30 in the morning, hiding from the cold whipping air under a blanket with a beautiful blond on my way over to the ancient ruins of Ankawat to catch the sunrise and as it happens, break my ankle.

I lie back, put on some U2 “It’s a Beautiful Day” and smile. Bono, you speak the truth, It truly is a beautiful day.

You get one life so make it count

What is the perfect life? That I do not know the answer to.

What brings an individual happiness is different for each one of us, and what brings me  or you or anyone happiness now may not do so in the future.

What I do know, however, is that you only get one life, and one chance to make the most of it.

For me, it unfortunately took a huge event in my life, one I would not wish on anyone, to jog me out of my rut and finally make me throw caution to the wind and stop playing it safe and actually start living my life. If I could reverse that event and lose all that I have done since then, I would in an instant, but regrettably I cannot.

I can however choose to honour the memories of those that I loved by not shying away from what life has to offer and to live boldly. This is a powerful motivator and one that drives me forward.

You need to find your own motivator, the thing that will drive you to live your own personal journey boldly, fearlessly and adventurously.

Whether you choose to break completely free as I have chosen or  any multitude of other things such as creating a loving home, nurturing a wonderful marriage, building a successful career, raising incredible children or developing a deep social circle of friends.

Whatever stage of your life you are at, you need to know what brings you personal happiness and also brings happiness to those you care about. You need to know what this is and then you must pursuit it relentlessly.

Do NOT settle for Second Best

As The Dead Poets Society suggest, you need to “Suck the very marrow out of life”, do not settle for second best, do not except less then you can achieve.

You have incredible abilities and talents that are unique to you, and only you – discover them, develop them and use them. Do not let life pass you by. Be forceful, make life play ball, make life work for you. Get your hands dirty, get sweaty, get involved until you physically can’t give any more and you collapse exhausted but content, safe in the knowledge that you gave it your all.

When you work, work hard.

When you play, play well.

When you cry, cry from the depths within.

When you love, love with your everything.

When you win, take the victory.

When you lose, accept the loss.

When you praise, give it lavishly.

When you give, give generously.

When you forgive, mean it.

When you are sad, appreciate it.

When you are scared, face your fears.

When others are scared, protect them.

When you do something, give it your everything.

When you live, live like your life depends on it

Do this and then, like the sweat after a hard fought sports match, you can be proud that you have earn’t the gift of life that was given to you. This should be the goal for every single individual. How dare you squander the gift of life, it is the most precious gift you will ever receive, so treat it as such.

Do not do it for the approval or respect of others, do it for you. Do not let any man have reason to say that you did not give it your all and played the game  as hard as you could and as well as you could and for as long as you could until you could give no more.

“Ahhhh”

I hear the sigh of my good friend across the table from me. She finishes the last mouthful and lies back and joins the other 3 already staring at the sky, silohetted against the setting sun. I smile and look over to my right to see my other 2 good friends also settling back, I follow suit and we all lie in silence staring at the sky and watching the changing colours and the sun disappears over the horizon. It has been a good day, there has been laughter, there has been tears and there has been relationship.

This time 3 months ago I would be shut off on my computer, exhausted from work and wanting to be alone before I have to get up and do it all over again in the morning.

As dusks falls I close my eyes and think of those around me that I care about, I think of my family and I think of those that are no longer with me.

I think of these things and I think of life and I know that I will never again shy away from living it to the full, boldly and fearlessly sucking the very marrow out of life.

Answer The Call

This is your call to action. Grab life and do not let it get away without giving you everything it has to offer. You only get one.

Thailand was the start of my challenge in designing the life I want. No doubt yours will be different.

Find your own Thailand and take the first steps towards living the life of your dreams because the most important thing to remember is:

You only get one.

33 Comments

  • December 8, 2009 Reply

    Ideas With A Kick

    I find it interesting how big of a growth experience traveling can be. It’s a lot more than just seeing new or exotic places. It’s a way to experience, to learn and to mature as a person. One thing I notice is the people around me who have traveled a lot, they seem to have this wisdom and maturity about them. Even if they are usually young.

    Eduard

    • December 8, 2009 Reply

      Jonny

      Hello Eduard,

      Very well said my friend. Having experience a very small amount of traveling now I can definitely say that I have found those that have traveled to be more open minded, more engaging personalities and less confined by stereotypes which I think is probably a direct result of realising the world is larger then our own small sphere.

  • December 8, 2009 Reply

    jason khor

    I was very moved by the words “live boldly”. This was really well-written and very motivational. On top of that I enjoyed the narratives of your trip. I can understand how living out of your comfort zone has caused you to grown substantially more than if you had chose to remain at your old job.

    After reading this, yes, I will find my own Thailand.

    • December 8, 2009 Reply

      Jonny

      Hi Jason,

      Thanks for the complements. Good to hear you have accepted the challenge to “Find Your Own Thailand”.

      Also, great pictures from Pulau Ubin.

  • December 8, 2009 Reply

    Colin Wright

    Really beautifully written.

    You’ve totally captured what it means to be location independent. It’s more than just the ‘see the world’ thing, it’s the ‘don’t be stuck NOT seeing the world’ deal that really makes a difference, and what that means in every aspect of your life.

    • December 8, 2009 Reply

      Jonny

      Hi Col,

      Cheers man and I am looking forward to your own reports from abroad.

  • December 8, 2009 Reply

    Dragos Roua

    Amazing story. I visited Thailand too this spring, so I can relate a lot to what you saw. But as you said, you create your own Thailand :-)

    Your way of writing is really inspiring. And I mean really inspiring.

    • December 8, 2009 Reply

      Jonny

      Hi Dragos,

      Thanks pal. Really appreciate the comment. I wish you all the best in creating your own adventure.

  • December 8, 2009 Reply

    Casey

    As mentioned above, traveling is not about putting yourself into a postcard. Oh, it is so much more…

    • December 8, 2009 Reply

      Jonny

      Casey,

      So, so much more my friend.

  • December 8, 2009 Reply

    Brian Armstrong

    Great writing Jonny. Thailand seems like a decent alternative to Buenos Aires in terms of cost and quality of life. I’m curious, have you found a community of other entrepreneurs out there, especially tech entrepreneurs? How reliable is the internet? Thanks!
    Brian

    • December 8, 2009 Reply

      Jonny

      HI Brian,

      Buenos Aires is on my place of cities in which to live but having not been there before I cannot compare the two. However Bangkok and Thailand in general offers a very cheap and incredibly modern place to live. Once my traveling is over I am seriously considering moving back for a longer period to live in Bangkok as I fell in love with the lifestyle, people and general feel of the place.

      There are massive communities out in Thailand which are surprisingly easy to get involved with. Internet connection is quick and generally very easily found, although 3G is yet to be found. Bangkok is getting 3G next year. I didn’t have a problem and was able to skype and download at speeds faster then I got in the UK.

      There are alot of tech people who run internet companies from their laptop so you will never be short of people to connect with, trust me on that one. If you are considering it then I think Thailand is well worth a visit.

  • December 8, 2009 Reply

    David Turnbull

    Just loving your posts lately Jonny – I’ve been a fan of your blog for a while, but these last 3 posts have been absolutely amazing. :-)

    • December 8, 2009 Reply

      Jonny

      Hi David,

      Cheers man, appreciated. I’d love to know how you managed to get such a jump in subscribers. I mean you content is awesome but how are you promoting yourself man? Awesome.

  • December 8, 2009 Reply

    Sean

    Jonny,

    I just added this post to my bookmarks. I dont think I have ever added a single post to my bookmarks, but this one was worth it. You have just experienced everything that I am getting ready to set out to do for myself. The inspiration that I got from this post was second to none. Thanks for sharing.

    -Sean

    • December 8, 2009 Reply

      Jonny

      Hi Sean,

      Great to hear from you and thanks for the kind words. I am really glad that it has help inspired you as this is the biggest single aim of the blog. Good luck with your adventures my friend.

  • December 8, 2009 Reply

    Lisis

    This was beautiful. It sounds like you’ve had some pretty major learning opportunities lately, since you mentioned honoring your loved ones. I haven’t read about that yet (since I’m new here), but I have a feeling it’s something I understand all too well, as I’ve lost three people I loved dearly. And if that is the case, anywhere you go, whatever you do, you will see the world through new eyes and make the most of life.

    I love one part in particular, because it honors how different we all are, and how happiness means different things to different people:

    “Whether you choose to break completely free as I have chosen or any multitude of other things such as creating a loving home, nurturing a wonderful marriage, building a successful career, raising incredible children or developing a deep social circle of friends.”

    You are wise beyond your years, Jonny!

    • December 8, 2009 Reply

      Jonny

      Hi Lisis,

      I am sorry to hear about your loses. I lost my mum to cancer recently.

      Thanks for you kind comments Lisis, and I really appreciate you taking the time to visit the site and read the posts. I truly hope that it is helping make a difference in your life. All the best with things in the future.

  • December 9, 2009 Reply

    Carmen

    Beautiful post. This was so nicely written and captures the essence of what it means to be free!

    • December 10, 2009 Reply

      Jonny

      Hi Carmen,

      Thanks for the comment my friend. I hope it inspires.

  • December 9, 2009 Reply

    Earl

    So many excellent points in this post, especially regarding the understanding that “What brings an individual happiness is different for each one of us…”

    I’ve noticed lately there are too many articles written where the author tells the readers what will make them happy. The focus needs to be on the ‘living boldy and fearlessly’ so that we can all go after our own unique passions.

    We should all strive to exchange any growing list of regrets for a list of goals and dreams achieved. Keep at it Jonny.

    • December 10, 2009 Reply

      Jonny

      HI Earl,

      Totally agree with you mate. I also take issue with individuals that presume to know what will make people happy and then take the liberty of telling them how to achieve it. This, to me, is a fundamental misunderstanding of what happiness is. Great to have you as a long term reader on the site, greatly appreciated.

  • December 10, 2009 Reply

    Adriana

    stumbled upon this site and just have to add to my favs!

    • December 10, 2009 Reply

      Jonny

      Hi Adriana,

      Thanks, I hope that it will be of help to you in your own unique life. Welcome.

  • December 13, 2009 Reply

    Randall

    Fantastic post! I like your writing style! I love the way you paint a picture in the mind of the reader. I will be reading future post and have become a subcriber!!Thanks!

    • December 14, 2009 Reply

      Jonny

      Hi Randall,

      Thanks for the comment man. Greatly appreciated.

  • December 14, 2009 Reply

    John Bardos – JetSetCitizen

    Life abroad and traveling have been a fantastic growth experience for me as well. I find that the more you learn about a foreign culture and the more you learn the language, the more you discover yourself.

    • December 14, 2009 Reply

      Jonny

      Hi John,

      Yes, this is definitely true. I was talking at length with another buddy of mine that travels a lot and we came to the conclusion that people who have travelled a lot and especially those that have lived at length in another culture tend to be more interesting, have a better understanding of themselves and be more worldly wise.

  • December 16, 2009 Reply

    Moon Hussain

    Jonny,

    My first time here and a post I can relate to. I’m taking a road trip *really* soon to CA and for now, CA is my Thailand. I hope to check out Thailand and the world hopefully really soon. Hope we can connect through what we want to do!

    If you have a minute, please stop by my blog :)
    Thanks.

    • December 16, 2009 Reply

      Jonny

      Hi Moon,

      Thanks for dropping past and I wish you all the best in CA.

      I check out the blog, good look to it.

  • January 4, 2010 Reply

    NP

    Great post! I love it! I hope you don’t mind me using a few quotes from your post. I think it’s worth spreading the words. Cheers! :)

    • January 4, 2010 Reply

      Jonny

      No problem, quote away although a link back would be appreciated.

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