Anywhere-But-Here Girl: Accepting Life in the Present

Anywhere-But-Here Girl: Accepting Life in the Present

Anywhere-But-Here Girl: Accepting Life in the Present

I felt like my life was a movie.

I was on a boat, hair blowing in the wind, as I watched my favorite island slowly fade into the distance.

I stood against the railing, refusing to look forward. Only looking back.


I was drunk on the romance of it all. I envisioned my life on a sleepy island, laying out on the beach, drinking tea every morning, working on art.

I saw myself riding around on a moto. Learning to scuba. Rock climbing.

Somehow, I felt that my heart belonged on Koh Tao. In Thailand. In Asia. In this hemisphere.



Then the cold ocean spray hit my face and four words crept into my mind… “This is my life”.


For some reason this snapped me back to reality.


I was not living in the present moment.


In the United States at least, I believe many of us are guilty of this.

We are either worrying about the future, or longing for the past.

Sometimes there are things we wish we could have changed, or done differently.

And we want to have control over what happens next.

We very rarely appreciate the here-and-now.


As I left Koh Tao, my heart broke with the thought of what I was leaving behind.

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I dreaded returning to Seattle.

Mostly, I was afraid I would never return to the place I fell in love with.


What else was I afraid of? What was it, really?


I was afraid I that I wouldn’t be able to make happiness for myself.


In coming back to Seattle, I felt out of control.

In my mind, running away would solve all of my problems.

“Running away”.

That WAS the problem.


I can’t run away from my life.


Being the Anywhere-But-Here Girl means constantly looking for escape.

For an easy solution.

For a change of scene.


I kept forgetting one crucial thing though. I am the same person no matter where I am.


That’s not to say that I am going to stay in Seattle. Or that anyone should *settle* even when they are truly unhappy.


But I came to the realization that even if I moved to Koh Tao, I may still be looking for the next best thing.


Because I struggle with being able to appreciate what I already have.


In my process of longing and worrying, the memories I had made while in Thailand slowly became tainted.

By sadness.


When really, I should have felt joy for having had those experiences.

Excitement about going home to see my friends and family.

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Anticipation for future travel.


When I could no longer see the island, I looked forward.

I felt at peace.

Now, I am back home.


I am nostalgic, but I feel appreciation.

I feel happy.


I’m okay being here.

My life has brought me to this moment.


And in this moment, there is nowhere else I’d rather be.


5 thoughts on “Anywhere-But-Here Girl: Accepting Life in the Present

  1. I think a lot of us have felt this at some point, I know I definitely have. Every now and then your life hits this perfect mixture of moments that make it all seem perfect in hindsight. I have a place like this too. It’s been 3 years, and I still reflect on it fondly and often. What I’ve come to realise that it wasn’t so much the place (although it was beautiful), but who I was at the time. I was so damn happy. I felt free. I felt secure and confident, even though I was living in a hostel and eating rice for most of my meals. As I’ve come to this conclusion, I try to recreate that mindset in other places and I’ve gripped it again for brief periods of time. You haven’t lost your Koh Tao, it’s waiting for you to apply that mindset to the rest of your life ❤

    1. Beautiful words. All of this is still fresh in my mind so it is hard not to look back and ask *what if I had stayed?” And maybe I will go back. But the lesson still needed to be learned. It’s possible to find happiness anywhere, and leaving one place doesn’t need to leave sad memories. This is something I will need to work on for sure. Overall I feel so happy to have had this experience and learned things that will only carry me forward. Thank you for your response!

  2. I try to remember that all of my material possessions are subject to “moth and rust”. I can’t take them with me when I transition. Instead it’s the relationships and the memories I have that will live on.

    You are doing good stuff and I think you are awesome.

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