Adventures in Going Nowhere

We’ve been on our gap year for about three months now and have been to two places: Hawaii and Thailand. Two places in more than eighty days isn’t really remarkable on a gap year of world travel, but we prefer to travel slowly. More specifically, we like to find a spot we like and just stay put for awhile.

We’ve found our spot here in the Chalong district of Phuket, Thailand. We live in a nice apartment complex, which is directly across the preschool and primary school our kids attend. Each day is an easy walk with our kids to and from school, without having to worry about traffic or driving. Many of the kids from the school live in the same apartment complex, so our kids get to play with them when we go to the swimming pool downstairs. It makes for a nice sense of community, even if our stay here in Phuket is only temporary.

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So why would we choose to go nowhere when we can practically go anywhere in the world?

Traveling is exhausting, especially with kids, so we like to take our time when visiting places. The kids have a really good setup with their school, so we want to make the experience here in Thailand as deep and meaningful as possible for them. For us, as parents, our days are full doing the things we like to do, whether it’s exercising, reading, writing, or watching movies at the theater. We’re not wrapped up in the busyness we had back home of commuting, grocery shopping, dishwashing, cleaning, and everything else we needed to do to maintain our life. It’s a pretty laid-back lifestyle here in Phuket and we’re enjoying it for as long as we can.

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Of course, our stay in Phuket is only temporary. We have plans to be here for a total of three months and will be leaving in the beginning of April. We’ll be doing a long weekend in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in early March, but that’s about it for our movement around Southeast Asia. After that, we have plans to go to Hangzhou, China to be with extended family for a couple of months.

For a person with wanderlust like me, going nowhere and staying put in one place can get a bit repetitive and boring sometimes, but it affords us the opportunity to feel settled and have some sense of ownership over our time and our energy. Plus, it helps that living in Phuket is really cheap compared to back home and that the weather here is dry and sunny every day. We’ve found a little slice of paradise that we’re calling our own for now, so we’re not going anywhere just yet.

Cliff Hsia is a writer, husband, and father, who is determined to live a better than normal life by traveling the world, slowly and purposefully, with his wife and two young daughters. His writing has been featured on MSN, TODAY, The Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, and other publications. He writes about travel, parenting, and lifestyle design.

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