Since this post is still getting comments a year after it was published, it’s time for an update.
When I wrote the original post I was confused about whether I’ve made the right choices in life, about which path to follow, about whether to keep to the path I believe in my heart to be right for me and the path I believe I can also use to do something good in the world – or to change who I am and what I believe in because of pressures from society, from people around me, from –oh, I don’t even know from where; I don’t usually react like that to outside pressures and I don’t know why other people’s opinions on the most stupid things suddenly affected me so much. I guess it was since I was (and still am) approaching 40 (it’s getting closer now) yet did not feel like doing things women usually do when they get to this age: have kids, get expensive haircuts that make them look old, start using anti-wrinkle cream. I guess it was the shock of coming back from India to Europe. I guess it was a bunch of things: a temporary loss of identity, a period of questioning myself and my choices and my beliefs and my direction in life.
It is almost a year later and I am in Asia again. I have written my second travel book that was published last year in Finland and received fantastic reviews, and got an award for the Best Travel Book in 2011 from the leading Finnish travel magazine Mondo. I was interviewed by national newspapers and magazines, and I also got a chance to talk at the Helsinki Book Fair about the book and about my travels in India. In 2012 I have spent a few months teaching ashtanga yoga in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where I am still teaching for a few more weeks and loving every minute. I have travelled to Burma and had the most amazing time in that beautiful country. I’ve had some time on a Thai beach to think about the choices I’ve made and the direction life is taking me or the direction I am taking in life. This year I will still be heading to Cambodia to teach and I will also teach yoga in Switzerland and in London. I have met amazing people, I have learned a lot from them and I am honoured and blessed to call some of these people my friends. I am full of ideas for my third book (and my fourth and my fifth book) and I have started several new exciting travel writing projects. I keep getting emails from women who thank me for this blog and for inspiring them to travel and for providing tips and advice.
I know now what I want and I guess I always knew it, but got a little confused while trying to please others who, I’m sure, thought they had my best interests in mind but were trying to turn me into something I’m not. I almost gave up but only almost. And I am so happy I didn’t completely give up. Giving up writing and travelling and yoga would be, for me, the end of everything I am. A prison. A golden prison, perhaps, but a prison.
I didn’t give up, and now I’m having the best time.
So never give up. Never give up your hopes and dreams and beliefs and doing the things you know in your heart are what you were brought to this world to do. And even if you did give up, it is never too late to start again.
I was inspired to write this post by someone who commented on that famous Part 1. (You can read the comment and my reply: they are the last ones at the bottom of that page.) Someone who thought I was being selfish since I had been travelling and that I should “make something for myself”. So, having at first thought oh Lord what a twat, I now want to thank that 26-year-old boy who came to give life advice to a woman 12 years older than him. Your comment, young man, confirmed to me that what I am doing is right. Because I don’t want to give in to a society where 26-year old kids with “a flourishing career in finance” tell 38-year-old writer/journalist/yoga teacher/massage therapist women their life choices are selfish and irresponsible. That is one current I’ll always swim against. No offence, dear 26-year-old man. I know you’re still very young and you will grow up one day.