Sometimes, running away is the best decision you can make
Imagine you’re in a building and a fire breaks out. What do you do? You get the hell out of there. As fast as you can.
You’re running away from the fire but you’re also running towards something. You’re running towards safety.
In most cases, you might not know what you’re running towards, but you’ll find out when you get there. Finding out can lead to epic adventures.
So, what was I running away from?
Let me start by saying that I had a great career in IT that last almost 20 years, with a few breaks. I loved my job and had great co-workers. I earned very good money, and had a wonderful manager. There was nothing not to like.
Most of that time I lived in a great apartment in London. I loved it there.
I had everything. Why would I want to leave?
When I told friends that I was quitting my job, selling everything, and moving abroad they were shocked. Some even thought I was having some sort of mid-life crisis. I wasn’t.
So, why not stay?
At the time I’d recently split up with a long-term girlfriend and felt that life had become slightly stagnant. I was still enjoying myself, but something wasn’t quite right. I yearned for more.
I’d also spent the last 3 years building a very successful ecommerce store. What more could a man want?
I wanted something new. A new adventure.
By chance, I met a Thai woman that was studying English in London. We became good friends. A few months later her course came to an end and she was due to move back home.
We’d discussed how I was feeling a yearning for a new adventure, so one day she suggested I move to Thailand and start my adventure there. She said she’d show me around and help me get settled.
There was no way I could turn down such an opportunity.
What a fantastic idea. One that had never crossed my mind.
I had only visited Thailand once in the past. It was a 2-day stopover on the way back from Australia. It was so hot and humid there that I vowed never to go back.
In life you’re allowed to change your mind. I did just that. I decided to give Thailand a second chance.
I took me all of two minutes to come to a decision. I told my friend that I would indeed take up her suggestion. She was leaving in a month. So was I.
We booked our flights the next day. Strike when the iron’s hot.
It’s funny how a chance meeting can turn into something so huge. This is what I love about life. You just never know what can happen. Keep your eyes open or you might miss these opportunities. I could easily have decided not to go and still be living in my London apartment. That wouldn’t have been a disaster, but I shudder to think of everything I would have missed out on.
My friends now thought I had really lost the plot.
“You’re moving away in a month? That’s sheer madness. It’s not even possible to organize everything in that short period of time.”
Of course, it is.
You can do anything you set your mind to.
If I had said to myself that I’d spend some time organizing the move it would likely have dragged on into months. By setting myself a close deadline I knew I had to get organized quickly.
My business was already sold. My current contract at work was ending in 3 weeks. I got offered a renewal but turned it down.
I contacted an estate agent and put my apartment up for rent. I found great tenants in a few days.
I then set about selling all my possessions, except for what I’d take with me. I had nothing to come back to.
What if I didn’t like Thailand? I could easily go someplace else. Just because I decided to move to Thailand doesn’t mean I had to stay forever. That was never my intention anyway. I could always move back to London if I hated being away. As far as I was concerned, this was a move with zero risk and massive upside potential. Those are the types of bets I’d take all day long.
I had nothing to lose but everything to gain.
So, what was I running towards?
Initially, I was running towards a new adventure in Thailand. I knew that doing so would likely open up even more adventures. I love traveling, so this was like a dream come true.
I was running away from my old life and running towards my new life. Even though I didn’t know what that new life would be like.
It might be seen as a risk by some people, but you don’t get the rewards unless you take the risks. Just being alive is a risk. Staying in London would have been just as risky.
Too many people think that taking a new direction in life is risky. Yet they fail to see that following their current course is often riskier.
I think the problem here is that it’s easy to see what you currently have and are giving up. It’s not always clear what you’re getting in return. You have to have faith that things will turn out just fine. You need to be able to trust your instincts.
Moving opened up many new adventures. I’ve traveled to numerous countries around the world, started all sorts of side hustles and businesses, and generally had a fantastic time. I also met my wife in Bangkok, so that turned out to be a huge reward.
Nowadays I split my time between Asia and Europe. I love having the best of both worlds. When I get a little bored with Bangkok, I head to London, Berlin, Split, or elsewhere in Europe.
When the cold winter months arrive in Europe I head back to Asia. Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, and Seoul are my favorite places.
This year my wife and I are setting off on a new adventure. We’ll be visiting some old favorites as well as places we’ve never been.
We’re running away from Bangkok and running towards London, Moscow, Kyiv, Tbilisi, Istanbul, and others.
I love running. I’ll keep running. Both away from what I have and towards whatever new adventures await me.
Life is beautiful.
I was inspired to write this after reading a similar story by Sara Burdick.