Did Things Circle The Drain?
This has been one wild year, nothing I was expecting which goes for many. And this post I’m going to reflect on all that was accomplished throughout the year. I’m going to do my best to try to include everything without looking at the 2019 Year End Review for guidance.
To keep it all in a logical, succinct manner, I’ll try to organize it by month. So back in January, I learned that during any crisis, it is unwise to handle it on your own. This is when emotions are the highest leading to impaired judgement. It is wise then to contain or marginalize the situation to the best of your ability while you gather support from the people around you to strengthen your position and provide better information/judgement to make a better decision. I encountered this first hand when handling nasty YT comments from a former student in Thailand. It’s best to have backup rather then handling these situations on your own.
It is also important to be careful what you wish for. Honoring commitments, spoken, written or not is something important following through on it though is far more difficult. You are always going to have more energy in the beginning then at the end of a commitment. Whether it was tired of being an English teacher or tired of training Muay Thai, a commitment is a time/energy investment, though I was able to follow through this time around, it is important to keep this in mind before saying “yes” to any future obligations.
On another note, I’m proud to say I’ve been a University Guest Lecturer this year. It was a brief stint, but it taught me that in any endeavor, there is no guaranteed success. When you are outside a traditional school/work setting/ It’s a matter of putting your best effort and being patient enough to see if it will work.
Moving into March/April, things were put on a bit of a standstill. It was a state of limbo of just waiting for an end to lockdowns that seemed to never come. So by May when I was still on the move, I put in a lot of effort in building up my website visibility. I ended up getting a 1000 followers on it and to further my reach. I reached out to a bunch of podcasts and ended up being featured in a radio show.
And despite all odds, I made it to become a WWOOFer, starting out in the outskirts of Mexico City (Milpa Alta) all the while learning how to work with medicinal plants (wink), farm animals, weeding, planting and what not.
I bought a guitar to teach myself a new skill during this time, which I did decently enough, enough to get out in the streets of Brazil and busk as a street musician. A bold move I think and one that may not directly impact career prospects but it will translate into future bold endeavors as the confidence screaming in the streets of a foreign land will transfer to other fields.
And before leaving Brazil, I did get a small chance to learn how to sail a boat while with a tour group in the Amazon jungle, something worth mentioning I think.
A bigger accomplishment is improving my ability to speak on video which I think is an important skill to build. Speaking in a variety of different settings is an important skill no matter where or what profession thereby making it a key skill to master.
Language is also key in what I worked on this year. It started off with Thai and has built to a solid amount of Spanish and Swahili. Not fluent by any means but a respectable amount which will be improved on.
Travelling during lockdowns I’m also familiar with, one can say I’m an expert in this niche based on sheer experience.
Establishing local contacts is what I’ve also become familiar in. Church groups are great even when I’m not religious as it opens up bounds of opportunities. It’s a great way to insert yourself into a new society. Friends of friends in a foreign land is also useful and something I’ve utilized in Tanzania as well, no direct experience with success but useful to have anyhow.
Moving onto something more concrete, I’ve also become decent at the drums for what it’s worth (well the basics)
And I’ve done some mission work that has helped raise some funds to support an orphanage. That is definitely worth noting.
Lastly, for reasons to personal for me to want to make made available to the public, I think I’ve become a monster.
As for next year, I really can’t say, I’ve failed so fair in getting what I want in Africa, which is fine, I’m still young and it’s not like I’m sitting on my hands. What I’ll focus on instead is doing what I do best, that is going to new places that unlock possibilities I’ve never thought of , getting in there and embracing the culture/people order to leave new skills, new assets (intangible or not) and eventually I will stumble upon what I’ve been looking for since the beginning.
Crisis management experience
Powered through commitments
Became university guest lecturer
Established substancial website audience
Improved speaking on video
Featured on a radio show
Busked on the streets of Brazil
Picked up basic Spanish & Swahili
Competent at establishing local contacts in a new environment
Became lockdown traveller
Performed some Missionary Work