Live Life Fully
I have decided to live a full life. A full life is one that is full of balance of competing priorities and happiness. I think it’s easy to complain all day or live a life of isolation devoted to one thing such as spiritual practice. The more difficult choice is to try to discover wisdom and figure out how to maintain a sense of self in the midst of the ebbs and flows of life.
The most memorable time period in my young adult life was the six months that I moved away from California between my junior and senior year of college. I traded in a high-paying job for an internship with a quarter of the pay in my dream city. Then I immediately left the country to travel around the world via ship for the next four months. I must say that Semester at Sea is a priceless program that changed my perspective on the world forever. Not only was I forced to experience a different lifestyle and set of priorities, I was forced to evaluate my concept of success and happiness back home. While the clarity that I experienced in the program wore off after being reintroduced to my competitive academic aand corporate surroundings, I knew then that life had more to do with accolades. I also knew then that I had to have enough wealth to continue to experience life in the way that I wanted for as long as possible. As such, I continued my pursuit of figuring out how to create the best lifestyle that I could with the least amount of work. I decided that I would obtain a terminal degree and set up a mutual exchange where institutions would use me for my ability to check numerous boxes (name, age, appearance, credentials, gender) and I would use them for the ability to travel the world in style. This worked for a while until I decided that I needed a change. Luckily, I was good enough at expanding my net worth that I have been able to survive a couple of years without a salary while maintaining my same standard of living. I must say that I had a plan and the plan worked.
Now travel has never been a source of stress and anxiety for me. For some reason I notice that all of the worry and tension that others experience in the security line, check-in and baggage claim is completely useless. The heightened care doesn’t change anything besides moving you down the priority list when it comes to perks.
The night before I was set to leave for Thailand I realized that I hadn’t fully packed. I was leaving the country for five weeks and hadn’t even read the checklist provided by Wise Living Yoga Academy. I also completely forgot to check in to my flight in advance, which is almost unheard of. I wasn’t worried. I decided to go out for drinks with a friend and talk on the phone until it was time for me to go to sleep. I decided that I just needed to wake up at 4:30 a.m. and leave by 6 a.m. to catch the train in sufficient time to make my plane. I did in fact wake up at 4:30 a.m., but forgot that I not only needed to pack, I needed to clean my house, water the plans, throw away everything in the refrigerator, say goodbye to my favorite concierge and walk to the metro station in the same period of time. Needless to say, I was thirty minutes late leaving the building.
Against advice of others, I still decided to take public transportation, which luckily was seamless. I walked up to the United ticket counter and was told that there was no reservation under my name. After smiling and asking the agent to check again, my reservation was found. Next I was told that I couldn’t take the flight because I had no visa to travel to China. I knew that most countries have a provision that allows a temporary transit visa for short periods so I just acted helpless and allowed the agent to decide what to do next. He decided to find the visa polices for China to determine if he could give me my ticket even though the system stated that I was ineligible. Luckily he finally read enough to tell me he was going to give me my plane ticket regardless and bid me a fantastic trip.
Now, at less than 40 minutes before flight departure, I was off to airport security. I was randomly selected for extra screening. After the first wave of screening, I had to undergo a second wave of extra, extra screening. Next was time to rush to the gate. Luckily, I only had to travel five terminals to get to my flight. No worries, I knew that the universe was testing me and that I was supposed to be on my flight. Finally, with only 15 minutes remaining to departure, I boarded my flight and found my lovely seat.
I sat next to a gentleman from Maine that was looking forward to relocating to Atlanta. I love how on planes you are either forced to speak or not speak to someone who is literally six inches from you for several hours. It’s a carefully designed experience in human behavior. I have found that I meet tons of interesting people on the plane. I do in fact miss the in-air network that I created during my consulting days.
The flight landed in Chicago without a hiccup. Apparently we missed the cold front by a day and would not have any weather issues for the trip. I just thought one last thing: Chicago O’Hare is one of those ridiculously large airports without a subway system, so you have to be prepared to really push it on foot if necessary. Luckily I was only one terminal away with time to spare.
Once I arrived at the gate, my impending adventure seamed so real. Almost everyone was speaking Chinese, which triggered memories of the time I spent in China in college. I knew that I had to let that go because I cannot judge an entire culture by an experience 14 years ago. I was in the airport traveling to their country, which they were allowing me to visit on the way to my mini-retirement. It would be all right and I would not be affected. Eventually the desk agent told everyone in the waiting area that he needed to verity visas prior to boarding the flight. I walked up to him and politely handed over my passport. He looked through it and asked why I didn’t have a visa. Again, I looked confused and waited for him to respond. He then asked if I was planning to only be in the country for less than 72 hours. Luckily, yes was the easiest and most truthful answer to state. My ticket was immediately stamped and I was ready to use my first-class points to board the plane.
I must say that American airlines do not compare to Asian airlines when it comes to perks. However, United did its best in conveying luxury on the trip. The flight attendant did everything from giving me a light shoulder massage and thanking me for flying to making my bed for the journey. I will always remember this flight as the first time that someone made a bed for me in the sky. It was equipped with a mattress cushion that made the 13-hour trip to Shanghai virtually seamless. I only want first class here on out. Yes, sometimes spoiling yourself raises the bar on the lifestyle that you want to live. Out of the 20 seats available in first class, only six of them were taken. I was the only person of color, the only female, and the only person under fifty. I can see why people assume that I have it all. I make things happen and stand out in the crowd for it.
So we arrived in China and there were no clear instructions on what the steps were for people with continuing flights to other countries. I learned that we needed to go through immigration and customs and re-check in for the subsequent flight. I ended up speaking to this beautiful older Indian gentleman that I noticed in first class. We quickly discovered that we were both on a flight to Thailand. After going through immigration I told him that we should make sure that our baggage was rechecked prior to obtaining our new boarding pass. He told me that he never would have thought of checking for his luggage and thanked me immensely for helping him out. As the luggage belt came to a close I realized that my luggage was missing. I asked for the status of my luggage and was told that it was either taken or checked to the final destination. OK. I decided that there was nothing that I could do for either situation and decided to go and get my boarding pass for my next flight. Upon arriving at the gate I was told that I couldn’t board without my luggage. My luggage could only go through customs with me and if my luggage was found in China, it would just be sent back to Atlanta. I turned to the agent and asked him if he would leave his post and help me find my luggage. He looked at me, agreed, and took me through the staff-only entrance back through baggage claim. Of course after another 30 minutes we confirmed that my luggage was nowhere to be found. We went back to the departure desk and obtained my new boarding pass. As an unforeseen treat, Surya, the beautiful older Indian gentleman, waited at the desk for me to return. He told me that if his daughter was in a foreign country, he would want someone to look after her the way he was looking after me. I knew then that this was a sign that everything would be OK.
We went through security and directly to the first-class lounge. I must say that this was only my second time in an airport lounge and I can see how they make travel a little bit easier. After the complimentary beverages and food, I was ready to continue on the next leg of my journey. Surya thought that I was awesome and told me his life story and eventually offered me a job at his new company. It does make me feel awesome that I can still get this reaction when I tell people my story. One thing that we all must remember is that our surroundings often allow us to filter through BS and get the benefit of the doubt. Flying in first class has given me numerous money-making opportunities and introduced me to a wealth of connections over the years. Beyond the easier traveling experience, the investment can be extremely beneficial as a wealth-creation tool.
Anyway, the flights to Bangkok and then to Phuket were seamless. Business class on both flights was virtually empty. I was offered great food, greeted with great service and met with comfort throughout my journey. I followed instructions and went to international baggage claim with the hope that my luggage had miraculously circumvented the Chinese system to land on my scheduled flight without incident. I was clearly incorrect in the delivery of a miracle and had to report my missing luggage to the agent at Thai Air. I felt so fortunate to be in Thailand where the culture is full of kindness and respect. The agent informed me that my luggage never made the flight in Atlanta and that United had to figure out how to deliver my luggage to Thailand. Once it was in Thailand, someone would deliver it to my hotel. I must admit that all I could think of was the fact that I’d taken four flights, on two airlines, in three countries to arrive in Phuket. I didn’t believe the odds of me receiving my luggage in a timely manner were that high, but I said OK and left the airport around 1:30 in the morning.
Once outside I realized that I forgot to confirm my transportation to my hotel. I’d emailed my hotel about six weeks prior to flying that I wanted a schedule, but that was it. I then remembered where I was and caught the eye of my name on a sign in the parking lot. I was shuttled safely on the 40-minute ride from the airport to the hotel without incident and finally was able to enjoy a long, hot shower after my 30-plus-hour journey.
I must admit that I only slept for four hours due to jet lag, worry about possessions, and my love of sunrise. I was greeted by a beautiful display outside of my window. I then knew for sure that I’d made the right choice.
After breakfast I asked the concierge to inquire about my luggage. I was informed that it would take up to two days for me to receive my bag. I asked where I could buy a dress and a bathing suit and was told that neither was available due to the remote location. I was told that my only option was to purchase something from a street vendor in a neighboring community at sunset. So unfortunately, I had to put back on the 30-plus-hour gear in hot Thailand for another day. I decided that relaxing naked in my room was probably the best option until I could get some clothes.
Later I found the street vendors and proceeded to buy two dresses, or so I thought. When I arrived home I realized that I’d actually purchased a hybrid Hammer pant/short set that was really tight around my calf muscles. The cool part was that I could do cool yoga moves with ease and comfort. I’m still not sure how I can use it in the future, but this fact was definitely a perk in the moment. I wore the outfit to dinner and again to breakfast the next day. I felt a little self-conscious before I remembered that their thoughts were none of my businesses.
After breakfast I figured it was time to go back to the concierge and ask for a check on my luggage. To my delight, my luggage was sitting in the lobby when I arrived. I gave 20 Namaste bows and skipped to my room with my bag. Besides my exploded toothpaste, everything in my bag was exactly how I left it. As an aside, the logistics system in place in the airline industry is phenomenal. I proceeded to do the running man, cabbage patch and an extra-long shower to seal in my happiness.
I then proceeded to pull out my favorite bikini and hang by the pool. I enjoyed my time there even though my strategic mind took over and hijacked my peace for the remainder of the day. I ended up working through the night and took a break at sunrise.
I marveled at the beauty that I was experiencing and decided to enjoy my last day in Phuket somehow, some way. After another amazing breakfast, I decided to enroll in my near healthcare policy before I forgot. The universe wasn’t down for that and proceeded to tell me that I would have to call to renew my healthcare plan. I took this as a sign that the universe only wanted me to be mindful and not a functioning/prepared member of the American social for the day. I ended up going back to the pool and submerged myself in its beauty for the afternoon.
I met a triathlon athlete from Belgium and an Indian nurse/chicken farmer from Africa in the pool. They both traveled to Thailand by themselves and were continuing on their journey in some shape or form. I finally was able to relax, relate, release and accept my status as a vacationer in Thailand. I inhaled, exhaled and accepted that I am living my dream life right now. I am not going to be so distracted by my goals that I forget to experience my accomplishment. Here I am #WealthyYogi and here to stay!
THAILAND COMPLETE EXPERIENCE
About: Dr. Roshawnna Novellus, known as the Wealthy Yogi, is a mindful wealth multiplier, business strategist, and author of Budgeting is More Liberation than Limitation. She has developed a 5-step blueprint for mindful money management to show any entrepreneur how to create a stress free wealthy lifestyle. Through her books, programs and retreats, she has helped thousands of entrepreneurs achieve intentional personal success. She is currently booking speaking engagements for corporations and corporate groups. If your company or group has workshops around these topics for your employees, please contact her.
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