Laura Dal Farra
We all have our individual reasons for training and a number of us have the desire to come to Thailand to continue our training. Some of us want to stay for a few weeks, some of us longer; some of us don’t want to leave. What I’m going to attempt in this piece is to aid you in reaching those goals. There are too many of you out there who believe you can’t live the dream, whatever the parameters of your dream may be and I’m going to outline how I’ve been able to live mine.
Am I a financial advisor? No. Do I have any educational background to back this up? No. I’m just a chick that realized one day that I was tired of the mediocrity in my life. That the life I was living wasn’t mine, and I used everything I had in me to make it to where I am today – to Bangkok, training muay thai fulltime for an indefinite amount of time – aka living the dream.
I think life can have an interesting way of sending us gifts – for me, a number of them have come in nasty, nasty packages. I meet enough people who seem to be on the tip of really following their dreams and for the purpose of this piece, I’ll say the desire to come to Thailand to train, and just don’t do it. Personally, it took a few brushes with death to dial in that stalling was pointless. Let me put it this way, the instances where I came close to dying weren’t drawn out, medical issues. I didn’t have the luxury of time to reflect on anything. They were unexpected, quick and violent. When I think about the first situation, the cliché of seeing your life pass before your eyes before you drop into the deep sleep didn’t apply. All I had was rage that passed to a calm promise of retribution and then the quiet acceptance of imminent darkness. After I regained consciousness, realized I was alive and had time to reflect on what had occurred, what came piercing through was…that’s it? THAT’S IT? And it hit me how messed up everything was, because on the brink of what I thought was certain fatality, there was nothing. NOTHING. No precious moments. No white light. NOTHING. Waking up was something completely different though – it was an overwhelming, split-your-lip-on-your-teeth backhanded bloody bitchslap.
Life is short.
Yet still I hesitated. The fear. The self doubt. I knew I needed to follow my dreams, but eventually I got lulled back into the habit of my life. The comfort. The pacification. I hid what I didn’t want to face until it drifted from memory. Then a few things blew up and I went through some intense years – each day dictating that I live in the present as there was no time to reflect on the past. Years I barely remember, not due to anything other than I was in full-on survival mode – psychological, spiritual and at times physical and financial. It was crazy. When I finally cleared away all that was holding me down, when I finally had a moment to breathe, something snapped, the complacency dissipated and I dedicated the next few years to coordinating the life I’m leading now. Was it easy? No. Was it like running and face planting on ice? At times, yeah. Was it worth all the sacrifice? No question.
And what about my job? My security? From the course of my life, I’ve learned that everything is impermanent. Everything. I’ve had so much loss and change I’m not going to outline, but the one thing derived from it is, no matter what life throws at you, it’s your choice whether or not you get back up on your feet. It’s that simple and I’ll apply it to my view of the current/at least the last decade state of employment in the West, or perhaps, more aptly put, North America (as I’ve never worked anywhere else).
More often than not, I believe, we’re viewed as commodities. I learned early on, through experience, that rather than concentrate on a career, what fit my personality was to view myself as my own business, my own manager. Life was my career because I didn’t want to blindly trust a company I was employed by – the days of working for one company until retirement were over. Instead, I did the best I could to work in environments with good people, even if it meant taking a pay cut – and from there, I tried to appreciate the impermanence of it. Again, this is an extension of my personality – the idea of someone else, aka an employer, deciding the course of my life wasn’t something I was down with. If it was someone I trusted, someone who I believed lived a life of integrity and was concerned about my future as well as theirs, possibly, I don’t know….don’t get me wrong, I’ve been blessed with some amazing employers, but I’ve also witnessed so many people suffer in their jobs (hence their lives), so many people live in fear – actions that would result in someone getting served a brick across their head where I grew up seemed to be commonplace, even encouraged in the corporate environments I worked in. Gifts in nasty, nasty packages…..
Basically, why am I not held back by job security? Because, in my opinion, it doesn’t exist, so rather than worry about it, I trust in myself that I’ll be alright – whatever happens – it’s all good. It may not be easy, it may not be fun, but I’ll be alright. Everything is constantly changing, so maybe that perfect job I left was perfect for the time I had it, but it doesn’t mean it will be perfect tomorrow, or even there. Also, what I left behind may just be a fraction of what’s to become. The world is an interesting place and I’m cool with enjoying the mystery of it all…but again, that’s my story and we each have our own. You have to know yours.
Know what you really want. Not what sounds cool, not what other people have done, what you really, really want. From there, you’ll have a foundation to build on. What’s your motivation? What’s your timeline? Are you happy with coming out here for a few weeks? A few months? More? What kind of gyms do you want to train in? Do you want to travel? What comforts are you willing to live without? Don’t worry about your debt or dependents if you have any yet….keep playing around in your head until you have an idea of the dream, even if that idea is not knowing and just seeing where life leads. Sometimes the dream changes, mine did. I checked out Havana first because I thought about training in boxing there….I didn’t know from the start that I’d be out here in Thailand…
And from there, I’d suggest being realistic about yourself. Balance the dream with what you know you’re ready for and willing to sacrifice. Know your boundaries, financially, physically, psychologically and in your heart. If you know deep down, you can’t handle hardcore training and possible isolation for months on end and want to party – then do that. Don’t try to be something you’re not here. There are Farang creeping all over this country that seem to be lost – I don’t know their stories, and I’m not going to even guess, but from my experience, I’d say, don’t fool yourself into believing you’re someone other than who you are. And excuse the mom moment here, but whoever you are, it’s all good. In short, don’t limit yourself, but don’t con yourself either. Be awake. Because whatever it is you try to repress…it will follow you and in some cases, blow up when out of your element.
In the next segment, Part II, I’ll discuss what I did financially to reach my goal of coming to Thailand. My intent with this piece isn’t to be either self righteous or to lecture, it’s to be straight up and honest – to let you know exactly what the underlying factors were that motivated me coupled with the mechanics of how I made it out here. I’m trying to provoke some thought or perhaps resonate something within you, to do the same thing. Essentially to just believe that if you want to come to Thailand to train for whatever timeline, it doesn’t have to be a dream outside your grasp. I really believe that if more people understood they had choice and power in their daily lives, that we’d all be a little happier and perhaps nicer to one another. I hope this has been beneficial.