Leaving Comfort Behind


Leaving Comfort Behind

There’s only a month left until I leave the Philippines, go to Thailand for a month, and finally return to the US. Although I plan on coming back to Asia next year, it’s actually scary to think about hopping on a plane to leave Davao.

As of today, it’s been over 10 months since I first left. Believe it or not, I’m more scared to leave the Philippines than I was to leave the US.

It was the first time I’ve been outside the country. I began my location independent journey in the Philippines and this place has become a part of me.

I’ve met dozens of great people. I’ve befriended mentors, companions, and the kindest people you’d ever meet.

There are so many “firsts”—which seem to occur on a weekly basis—and my experiences here not only improved my business acumen but they have expanded my personal horizons.

I’ve grown accustomed to the culture and even use the common local phrases on a daily basis when I’m hanging out with my Westerner friends. They started off as a joke but the phrases crept into my regular vocabulary and I say them without even realizing it sometimes.

You should see the joy in the locals’ faces when I say things like “joke lang”, “acheche”, and “salamat.” It may be difficult breaking the habit when I’m back home as I’m sure I’ll accidentally call someone “kuiya” out of habit.

Now, with great pride, I consider myself a Davaoeño.

So why am I so sure I’m not coming back?

The same reason I’d encourage anyone to shake up their routines.

We all need change.

Sometimes this means leaving a place you feel 100% comfortable in and doing something that scares you to death.

There’s potential for me to go almost anywhere! I would be content to stay in the Philippines and I would be as equally happy in the states. But I wouldn’t get the value of challenging myself in an unfamiliar environment.

I need change as much as you do. I need to keep testing my adaptability. As do you.

Thrusting yourself into change is how you avoid complacency as it gives you new baselines for appreciation.

The fact that I don’t know what’s waiting for me in my next adventure is exciting. It scares me but I’m excited nonetheless.

The struggles I face in the next chapters will let me appreciate my time in the Philippines even more. It’ll give me time to miss it.

I’ll soon be be a different person compared to the one who you’re reading from today.

Yes, I’m ready to leave this country… But damn is it hard.

“It’s more fun in the Philippines,” they say. I believe it.

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Vincent Nguyen is the author of Self Stairway and founder of Growth Ninja, a digital marketing agency that specializes in Facebook Ads. Voted "Most Guapo" five years in a row (lost during 6th year to a hand model.)

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23 responses to Leaving Comfort Behind

  1. Good luck with the transition. I’m sure you will find yourself in the same situation when you decide to leave Thailand. All of the memories will still be a part of who you are.

    • Definitely! It was hard leaving the US but it was on a different level. That was leaving home to begin a lifestyle I’ve been chasing for years. This is me leaving my first stepping stone.

  2. Change is a part of life. I agree that thrusting yourself into change is a great way to avoid complacency. I hope coming back to the USA isn’t too depressing or anxiety filling. I send positive vibes your way.

    • Oh the states are wonderful! I’m quite excited to be able to spend time with my family and friends back home. I have the freedom and flexibility to go wherever I’d like. Knowing that, the transition is one of my own free will. 🙂

  3. Big kudos to you. I’ve bought and moved to the house a couple of miles from where I lived and it was uncmfortable! Still is.

    Life begins outside your comfort pit.

  4. You are amazing! I was surprised to hear you are moving on. What’s next? I was forced to leave my former home, which was most uncomfortable, but I constantly tell myself there is something better out there, and I am going to find it. I am (almost) desperate to create a new life for myself and my son. The greatest challenge has been patience…Mine has grown thin lately, but it may be because today is the first anniversary of my husband’s death, so I’ve been overwhelmed by alternating waves of sadness and anxiety. The second greatest challenge has been fear. Sometimes fear – of the unknown, I guess – gets the better of me. How do you conquer it? I think it may be the key to success.

    • No idea what’s next after I’m back in the US. I will most likely go to Vietnam and visit Ho Chi Minh City for a few months in early 2015 but I’m only tentatively planning for now. I enjoy not knowing.

      You’ll find it. Fear is temporary and it’s almost always mental.

      You conquer it by picturing what happens once you take the next step. What’s the best case scenario? Athletes do it all the time. They play their own highlight reels and best case scenarios for any given play in their heads over and over. Performers of any kind do the same kind of mental preparation. It helps you execute and gets you excited to take action.

      Next… Imagine the worst-case scenario. Know that odds of the worst-case occurring are low. And also know that it’s almost never as bad as you make it out to be.

      Once you’ve done both go back to picturing the best-case. Make that happen.

  5. Hey Mr. Davaoeno! Good luck to your next adventure! I’m more encouraged to seek change after reading your post man.

  6. Welcome to Thailand 🙂 hope you find a unique experiences. Are you coming to work? Where will you living at? I can suggest you some local attraction 🙂

    Goodluck and have fun in Thailand.

    Btw Your articles are very encouraging, keep on the good work, thanks.

  7. Thanks, Athip! I land in BKK on Oct. 15th and then flying to CNX on the 20th.

    I’m just stopping by to check out the scene before I head out of Asia. I’m in the Conrad Hilton for BKK but haven’t figured out my Chiang Mai stay yet. Any must-sees in either cities?

  8. Hi Vincent,
    I am a loyal reader of your blog but this is my first comment (sorry for that!). I really get inspired by this post and I am going to leave Vietnam for a few weeks, just want to have new experiences and challenge myself.
    Just want to say thank you, I have learned a lot of things from you. Keep your great journey!
    P/S: It would be great to have a cofee with you if you visit Ho Chi Minh city next year.

    • Thoai! Nice to meet you (and hope I see you around more often!)

      Where are you headed to for those few weeks?

      I’d absolutely LOVE to grab coffee with you when I’m in HCMC. Keep in touch. 🙂

      • Hi Vincent,
        I plan heading to Siem Reap, Cambodia. Have you ever been there before?
        This is my first trip abroad so I’m very excited (and a little bit anxiety as well).

        • Nope! Philippines was the first country I’ve ever visited outside the US. A few buddies of mine were telling me to go to Cambodia and visit the killing fields. I don’t think I’m quite ready for something that gruesome yet!

          Have a great time while you’re there. 🙂

  9. It funny how you say you don’t believe in karma cause somhow I do well maybe because am religious I would like to know if you have a religion you believe in

    • Hey Josephine,

      There’s definitely nothing wrong with believing in karma. It’s a popular spiritual belief that’s common in many religions.

      I personally grew up with half my family being Catholic and the other half being Buddhist. But I’m a Christian. 🙂

      For context, Josephine is referring to my email newsletter quick tip that went out this week with this post.

  10. I find it interesting that you consider karma nonsense, but talk about getting back what you put out there. When you treat people well and they respond in kind…that IS karma. You get what you give…the law of karma.

    • The belief of karma is typically spiritual and revolves around the belief of fate. Few people would consider treating people well and having them respond positively an example of karma.

      An example of karma would be more along the belief of “If I treat others well, the universe will reward me in turn by providing me with all I need and more.”

  11. Good article to accept change . If we have a job to support our living expenses we can live anywhere but we need a very positive attitude to accept change . The world is full of good people and bad one too . No body likes to move at a place far away from home . It is big milestone in your life to accept it and also your book is part of your journey . Keep it up !!

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