Egle’s story: trip to Thailand changed me unrecognizably

Storytime! Meet Egle, a Lithuanian girl who had it all – career, relationship, good salary, and bright future. By our society’s standards, she was successful! But unhappy. So she left everything she knew and went on an adventure to find her true self. This is her story.

Even though traveling was always part of my life, if anyone said that I would give up everything in my country and move to Thailand- I would never believe that.

Before I lived a normal life, I moved from my hometown to the capital city after high school. I got a good job in an international company; I was thinking about my bright future, a vast career in the corporate world. I also was in a serious relationship, thinking of getting married and having kids like everyone else around us.

But some part of me wasn’t happy. I felt pressured to live this normal life – having kids, being a wife, having a good job, and buying a house with a mortgage. And I felt it wasn’t me.  I felt lost.

After 2 years of thinking and dreaming, I brought a one-way ticket to Bangkok. My plan was simple: 3 months traveling around Southeast Asia and finding myself. At that time, my main goal was to answer the self-realization question and find the purpose of life.  So, in 2019 September 18, I left for Bangkok for the 3 months adventure.

It was already November, and I remember I felt that it’s time to find the answers I came for. I still needed to figure out what I want to do with my life, so I went to a remote village in Laos, locked myself in for 3 days. I did many things: danced, sang, drank, and smoked. Nothing worked.

I was so naive to think that these big questions will be answered in a day…  The more I pushed myself, the more I suffered.

These annoying thoughts began to leave me gradually when I started traveling again. Meeting new people, seeing new places helped me to break my habitual thinking habits.  But at the end of three months, I felt that it is not enough time, I need to stay here for longer. I decided to stay for an unlimited time until all the questions will be answered.

This realization didn’t go well with my boyfriend.  I didn’t want to hurt him, to keep him waiting (even though he said he would). So, we broke up. I needed freedom to be on my own. I didn’t want to take responsibility for another person’s happiness.

Sure, I felt afraid. It was unknown. I was alone in a foreign country thousands of miles away from everything and everyone I know.  But I felt free! I had a 5000 EUR budget for my 3-month trip, but I lived from that money for a whole year without working – just traveling and enjoying my life. But then the Covid-19 pandemic came… That time I was in Vietnam, planning to go to Hong Kong to apply for a Chinese visa to move there. At first, the situation looked temporary, but I decided to wait. I decided to go to Cambodia instead, and spent the whole month hitchhiking across the country.

When the situation got worse, I crossed the border to Thailand. In the worst case, I was thinking of taking a flight back home. All the travelers I met were leaving. They were asking me, “ Aren’t you afraid to stay here? What about the money? What if you can’t go back home?”. I didn’t know the answers to any of these questions, just a strong feeling that it’s not time yet.

So I stayed with this uncertainty. I was afraid. I didn’t know how long it’s going to last, what’s going to happen, so I decided to find a safe place until things get more stable.

I found an animal shelter in Thailand’s deep south, where I spent 3 months volunteering with stray dogs. It was a memorable and rewarding experience, and there I felt truly safe.

When the situation got more stable, I started missing some challenges, so I found a job as an English teacher in a school in one small village in a less touristy part of Thailand. It was a great job! I loved working with kids, and I felt fulfilled! Also, the salary was good, and I got enough money to travel around.

Since I was the only white, blond woman in the village, everyone knew who I was! They used to invite me to participate in all local festivities and religious ceremonies. I felt like a part of the community like I was living the dream!

But after a while, I started to feel lonely, isolated from people of my age, so once again, I packed my bags and left.

And ended up in Chiang Mai. It is an amazing city where spirituality and traditions meet western culture! Again, I worked as a teacher and met lots of amazing people from all over the world! They influenced me a lot. I started to practice martial arts, cooking healthy food, I traveled on a scooter all around the region. It was an exciting part of my life, one of the best!

After 6 months of living my best life, I started feeling the need for change. I felt that it might be the end of my Asian adventure, at least for now. After almost 2 years, I decided to go home.

So what is next?

I don’t know! I still haven’t answered this self-realization question, but now I don’t care. It’s okay not to know. This trip changed me unrecognizably. I don’t remember anymore what kind of person I was before.

The most important thing is that I found the meaning of life, and it is simply to live, to experience it fully! That is what I am going to do! First, I want to walk the Camino de Santiago trail and after that maybe South America. I don’t know, but just in case, I ‘m already learning Spanish. Who knows what adventure awaits!

You can follow Egle’s adventures on her insta: @egle.kersu