10. How Jen’s values led her to move to Thailand and overcome her fears – Transcription

In this episode, I chat to Jen about the cultural pressures she experienced, why she decided to leave Australia and move to Thailand & the fears she had to overcome to start living in alignment with her values.

Welcome back to the podcast. Today I’ve got someone really exciting, and we just met fairly recently. So, Jen, tell us a bit about you, where you are.

Okay, yeah. So I’m currently in this present moment on an island down the south of Thailand, but usually I’m based in the city in Bangkok, but originally from Sydney.

Yeah. Not too far from where I am. We got to talking before this a couple of weeks ago, I think. Let the listeners know how we came to meet.

Yes. So if the listeners know the Level Asian podcast. So I was a guest on that podcast, and I was having a chat with the host about maybe getting into the same kind of line of work that you’re in, working in coaching or working with second generation women, because I think that’s one thing we have in common, right? And you just referred me to your Instagram page, and that’s how I reached out sliding the DMs there. And we arranged to have a chat. And I’m looking at a lot of your content. I’m like, oh, yeah, I can relate to a lot of this. I get it. And this is what we need in our community, right? But also what we probably needed when we were young. Imagine if we had older leaders or people who are, like, sharing their stories with us. We wouldn’t feel so maybe isolated.

It’s so cool how Instagram works. The big world of instagram. And yeah, we came to meet even though we live relatively close, except now you’re in Thailand. But it just shows how connected we are and the types of content that we can see online now. And I’m so glad that my sharings resonate, because that’s the aim, right? To connect with other people and to expose people to another world that we live in. But we’re not really interacting with Jerry’s. Just like running around the house if you see me glancing around, that’s Jerry. Yeah. And also, we don’t know each other. We’re kind of in the same area, but we have this kind of like a shared story or a shared experience in our parents experiences, right?

So they’re different. The narrative is kind of the same. Refugee parents, second generation born in Australia. And I think that’s really cool that we can kind of come together now, especially a lot of us in the community, like the second generation kids born in Australia, or coming together and trying to build something and create something for our community. Yeah.

Once you set your foot into that world of second generation people, second generation women in particular, we start to see that there are so many people in this space trying to build something, as you’ve mentioned. And it’s just so interesting that we can all kind of come together and all work together, even people from across the world in the US. Doing lots of big things. Coming back to you and your background tell us a bit about your background, what languages you speak and your childhood.

Yeah, so I grew up in Southwest Sydney, and my dad is Vietnamese, my mom is Chinese. I speak Vietnamese. It would be my mother tongue. But I also speak like, three dialects of Chinese. I speak Cantonese, I speak Hakka, and my parents sent me to Chinese school to learn Mandarin when I was young. Amazing. Yeah. I don’t know if you went to Saturday school as well. Saturday Vietnamese school. And then I went to Vietnamese and Chinese. Oh, goodness. Exactly right. I think that those are the languages I speak, but those experiences I used to think that I used to be like, why are you doing this to me, mom and dad? I don’t want to waste my Saturday or like, my Monday afternoons doing extra lessons. I want to watch cartoons. But now it’s so useful.

Thinking back to my experiences in Chinese school, I mean, it was kind of like Rote learning and memorizing characters and reading tests and things like that. And I only want to be there because of my friends. But Vietnamese school, I didn’t have any friends there, so I didn’t want to go. But now looking back, I’m like doing duolingo on my phone, like, learning Vietnamese and Chinese, and I wish I had spent more time learning this. And it’s always looking back and thinking, wow, I was such a kid. Like, I just wanted to do kid things, and I wanted to do Chinese in uni as well. Like an elective. I didn’t end up doing it. No. I want to do beginner Chinese. Beginner. Mandarin Chinese is actually so hard. It is. Especially when you don’t speak it at home that frequently. How are your experiences at home or speaking languages? Either. Both.

I think especially Mandarin. Back then, it wasn’t like, such a common language. Like, people were like, okay, it’s just another Chinese language. But now everybody wants to learn Mandarin, like in business, even now, because I teach in the schools in Thailand, mandarin is like the second language they want their kids to learn Mandarin. Like, English is not the It language anymore. So yeah, it’s definitely handy that our parents kind of allowed us that opportunity to be like, exposed us to it, basically. But yeah, at home I was always thinking lots of different languages because my dad would speak Vietnamese to me, and then my mom would speak Hakka, and then my god grandmother would speak Cantonese to me. Everybody was speaking to me in a different language. And then I’m like speaking English to my brothers and my cousins and my friends and stuff like that. If you’re watching the YouTube video, jerry’s just jumped on my lap. He wants to get in on the action. He wants to be where all the attention is, for sure. It’s so interesting hearing other people’s experiences, how similar they are. And in Thailand, it’s so different to hear because obviously English is like the main language and everything else is additional, but it’s so cool that Chinese is like the second. I wouldn’t have expected that at all. I never thought I’d use my Mandarin besides for traveling. But then we had international students at our school coming from China into our school and being in our classes and stuff like that. And it was like the first time I got to actively use it in a way that I thought was really useful. Like, oh, wow. I have to interact with the students in Mandarin to help them because they obviously don’t speak Tie and they were shy. They didn’t want to speak English. I was like, oh, wait, but I can speak your language, so let’s do this. It’s definitely coming handy at times, for sure.

So at your school, do you communicate in Thai as well? Not all the time. So to the students, we speak like strictly English, and the students speak English back to us, so no worries about that. But in terms of like, speaking Thai, I communicate to the Thai staff in Thai. When my broken Thai, I don’t speak perfect Thai, but in where I can, I will try and speak it and then otherwise I’ll be speaking English.

So you didn’t grow up speaking Thai. How did you learn that after this conversation? Good question. I’ve been living in Thailand since 2015, and when I came here, I was like, okay, I’m going to try and learn the language. But because it’s a tonal language, vietnamese is also a tonal language. Yeah. And some of the words are similar. Like, they have some words in like, okay, I’m going to go Vietnamese here. Like in Vietnamese? In Thailand. So it’s like the same, right? Just a different intonation. They applied to it cut and cut. So I was able to pick up certain words, systems and stuff like that from my linguistic skills in Vietnamese and Chinese. And that helps me pick up Thai really quickly. Wow, you’re amazing. You can do it too. You have the same skills, exactly the same. If I start living in Thailand? Yes. Language is such an interesting thing because our parents had to learn English, right, coming here and English is so different from Vietnamese and Chinese that it’s taken them a long time. How are your parents with English now?

Good question. My mom, she arrived when she was 16 or 17, so she was able to go to school and she picked up a lot of the English at school. And she also worked as like a dental nurse, but she had to communicate in English and in whatever Asian languages. I think. My dad, I always wonder, I’m like, you’ve been here for 30, 40 years now. I always think English should be better, but I think sometimes also for them, they get really comfortable in our community because you don’t really have to speak english in our community. Right. You get away with it. So you’ll find that maybe a lot of the older generation, they have some sort of English, but it’s not comparable to the time that they’ve been there. Yeah, I agree.

What about your parents? Yeah, my parents came here when they were about 30, so pretty much that’s about 30 years, almost. And they have to use the words that they’ve learnt, but then other words they can’t. And I’ve always grown up doing like, phone calls and everything for them, filling out forms, translating things and going to appointments and translating those as well. So they’re not comfortable speaking English, especially when people speak really fast native English speakers. We speak at a normal pace to us, but to them it’s like, whoa. They kind of need certain words highlighted or emphasized for them to be like, oh, okay, I’m kind of following along with the conversation. And my mom is currently taking English classes. So yesterday I was over at her house and she was learning about food and diet and all that, like all that kind of language, but in English. And she wasn’t too bad, actually, but a lot of things she was like, what’s this? What’s the legume like? It’s all the jargon that is specific to that. Right. I would say my parents aren’t like they can get away with conversational English. They wouldn’t choose to speak English if they didn’t have to.

Yeah. I think a lot of migrants or refugee families, not just in our community, but at the surrounding communities around us, also experience this. Right. And that’s the best thing about Australia when you think about it. It’s really multicultural in that way where you can kind of get away in your diaspora without having to speak English. There are services to support you in that way. Yes. Where we live, it’s mostly Vietnamese anyway, so they can just speak Vietnamese when they go out to the shops and they go to the Asian grocer and they’ve got their familiar foods and sources, so it’s not a big deal to them. Yeah, even the government services. Right. Going to send a link or like services in New South Wales or something like that. There are always people there that can speak the same language.

So what are some of your experiences as a daughter, as a sibling, if you have siblings while you’ve grown up here in Australia? Now that I look back at it. In hindsight. There was a lot of confusion that I didn’t identify as confused then. But more so. Like. I couldn’t place I don’t know if you experienced this. But I was always. Like. When I was younger. In conflict with my parents. In some ways with values. Because we grew up in Australia. We’re in this education system that’s really Western. And then we go home and then we’ve got this really traditional Vietnamese culture. Steeped in values. And then I was always like. Really in the middle. And I’m so confused because I don’t resonate with either or I’m not completely just Aussie. Do you know what I mean? Because there’s so many parts of us that are Asian, and then I’m not fully Asian either. So as a daughter, I think I was always conflicted with that. That kind of showed up in different ways and how I interacted with my parents throughout. Like, I know being a child all the way to through my teens, but I’ve got two younger brothers, and I’m the eldest. Yeah. Do you have any siblings? I’m the oldest, too. Oh, cool. I have younger brother and sister. Oh, cool. See, similar then. I mean, expectations on the eldest child. How does that look for you?

Not my middle brother, but I basically was raising my youngest brother because my parents were working. And so there was a lot of responsibility put on you intentionally because I talk about your role as the eldest sister, but also you’re expected to lead in a very responsible way because you’re the first one, you make all the decisions. It doesn’t matter. Like, your brothers can have an altercation. They might need to make a decision, but you get to call it. I don’t know if you have that authority because you’re the elder.

I 100% relate. We’re always the role model for them, that we have to make sure that we’re responsible. We’re doing everything as we’re told. We’re following that timeline, setting the example for our siblings to go to uni and getting a good job and all those things. So definitely relate. Yeah, and it’s hard because it’s a lot of pressure, and especially if that timeline doesn’t correlate with what you want for yourself, I think, and I broken all of them at times, I have immense amounts of guilt where I’m like, oh, I’m not doing the right thing, I’m not showing my brothers the right way, or like, I’m not listening to my parents, something like that. But that’s always juxtaposed with, like, well, how do I want to lead? Do I want to lead in the way that they see leadership or do I want to lead in a way how I see it? Me leaving Australia was, like, a huge thing for my family. Yes. That’s so different coming from an Asian culture where we’re expected to live at home until we get married. You’ve changed your whole life and love what you said about that conflict, that inner conflict that you had.

How do you want to lead based on how your parents tell you, based on whatever they say and that you should just do as they say and follow or lead your brothers by showing them that there are other opportunities out there and that you’re still respecting your parents in a different kind of way. That you’re showing them that you came to Australia for a reason and that we are able to follow through with all these opportunities and expose ourselves to this bigger world right. And showing our siblings that, yeah, you can do all these things, that it’s possible, instead of just staying in that little bubble, which is safe, because parents, especially immigrant parents, they love doing what’s safe and you’re stepping out of that. Exactly. Yeah. I had this really difficult conversation with my parents. I don’t know about you, but I find that sometimes it’s better now, but having these deep and meaningful conversations with my parents about these things, because growing up, we don’t talk about our emotions. Sometimes I don’t have the vocabulary to express my emotions in our language to the breadth that I would like. But yeah, having a difficult conversation, I said to them, I think I value freedom, I value happiness, and I value doing what I’m passionate about, and I want to lead from that space. I want to show my brothers that you can do what you love and still thrive. You don’t have to do what you hate and then feel terrible even though you make lots of money.

Yeah. It’s out of obligation, right? Because our parents said we have to do this. A lot of people follow on with careers just because it’s the easy path. You end up regretting it. Yeah. Do you regret going down the career path that we went down? Did you mention that you’re also a teacher? But yeah, we’re both teachers, which is like, really cool. Grade five teachers, too, right? Yeah. So we found out we have so much in common besides from the expectations and pressures from our culture, but also in terms of our career. And no, I don’t regret it because through that, I’ve learned so much as well, and I do enjoy it. It’s just now I think I’ve kind of reevaluated my life and as you mentioned, identifying your values and kind of stepping out of what people have always said about you and this identity that was placed on me and kind of stepping out and saying, wait, I’m not that quiet, shy person that everyone said I was. And I’m not just one who just follows the rules all the time. And it’s kind of like doing what’s different but what aligns with my values.

I love that you mentioned that. That’s why I was like. When I was looking at a lot of your content. I have to reach out to you because I feel that what you’re doing is really inspirational in a sense that like. You know. And I’m relating it to myself. Obviously. Because I was like I imagine me telling my parents. I’m going to stop working full time and just work a few days a week and then move on to side hustle. And they’ll be like, what’s your side hustle? What are you doing? Are you opening up a business? Well, yeah, I’m kind of like getting into coaching. What’s that? How are you going to make money from that. That’s how I process. That’s their reaction. So the fact that you’re in that process when you’re doing it says that you’re already stepping out. And I’m like, wow, that’s really cool for people in our community, women in that bubble. Yeah, especially for people who weren’t originally that kind of person. Like, wasn’t want to be a rebel and break all the rules when they were kids. So it was really hard for me to do that and just thinking, can I even do that as a person? Would I be able to step back and not be a full time teacher anymore? That was a huge fear of mine and I’ve kind of umm-ed and ahh-ed over it for so long until I finally decided to do it. I can resonate with that because every year for the last five years. I had been through that process of maybe I should stop and just like. Figure out a different career path or try something different. Because I’ve not tried anything different for ten years.

Just been in education and then that’s another similarity that we have this year because we’ve both stepped back from our careers. You know. Our professions. What we study it and just trying to navigate. Doing something different for ourselves. Yeah, stepping back definitely what we did, because a lot of people would just say, like, quit your job and then do something new and it’s like, no, we want that safety still. We kind of want to take a step in that direction and test it out and really kind of mentally prepare ourselves for what we’re going to do. And how have you been? All the fears that I had about that, none of them came true. I’m still earning money, I’ve got my parents on board. It’s not as scary as you think, especially when it’s the very first big thing that you’re doing that’s different. You have reservations about like, oh, should I even do that? Should I not? Is that possible for me? You have all these doubts, but then, as I’ve learnt recently, fears are just stories that we think might happen. They’re based on our past, but doesn’t mean that every time we try something new, something bad is going to happen. And all the fears that our parents have instilled in us doesn’t mean that it’s going to be true. Especially people starting a business or doing something new. It’s like starting a business is hard. Yes, I get that, but it doesn’t mean that’s not totally possible. So how are you going through that process now?

Yes, so many things came up when you were speaking, I was like, oh, yes, so we’re talking about where we were and then fear being in the middle here on the other side of that. And I’m sure you can resonate with this. It’s so liberating, it’s so freeing, it’s so like, oh, I feel so alive and I can’t believe I spent so much time on this side, being afraid to jump over that wall, you know what I mean? But now that we’ve kind of gone over and we’re on this side and we’re just like, wow, was this here that whole time? And it was just that fear in the middle that was like, stopping me. These stories, these limiting beliefs.

And then what you said earlier about the fears our parents instilled in to us, that’s so huge because, like, that scarcity, that insecurity or not having that security, it’s so strong. It’s like, in our blood. So having gone over, it feels amazing. Like, I feel really aligned and it’s brought about opportunities like this for me to connect like minded people. How would we have just done this and found that we’re on the same journey or similar journey? So I’m really grateful for that. Like, bringing back new things into my life that I never thought I could bring into it. Yeah.

And back to our parents beliefs, like so many of us, I would say everyone, but in particular, second gen women like us, these survival beliefs that our parents have because they’ve had to overcome so much and the trauma that they brought with them to Australia and the things they witnessed and experienced themselves, it’s just truly amazing what they’ve done. And of course, we can never really understand that and even from the stories they tell. But of course, with that comes so many beliefs about how the world works. And to us, the world is like, open and we’ve got so much freedom, so many things can happen for us in Australia compared to what they’ve had experience before. And so much of that is dampened because our parents are like, no, you can’t do that because this is going to happen, or you should do this instead because this is what all my friends have done, all my friends kids have done.

And so we’ve kind of narrowed our focus of life, right? We think that these are the opportunities available to us because we can’t do that and this is what we’re successful to our parents. How do you resonate with that? Oh, my God, so deeply, because I guess they’re applying their frame of reference onto us, right? And when they arrived in Australia, they were like, these are the things that we can do. And we’re scared. They are afraid for us that we can’t do the things that we want. Even if we had dreams of like, I don’t know, traveling around or whatever the dreams are, they’re afraid that we won’t be able to get it because they couldn’t get it. They set up a life where they’re like, this is safe. These things, you know, you can get you know, you can succeed if you open up a small business in the area, right? But then we’re like, why won’t I do it in the city? Why wouldn’t I do it in another town? That’s thriving. Oh, no, you can’t do that. That’s not going to work out. But if you do it in the area, like in our community, it will be okay. Like you said, it’s really limiting. And I think I feel like because we’re so abundant, our generation, we have these opportunities, we’re not worried about losing a job because there’s a safety net. That’s one of the best things about Australia, right? So we feel really fearless sometimes in our pursuit of more daring and risk averse than our parents. And I feel like sometimes we sell ourselves short because of that. I shouldn’t do that, shouldn’t do this. But, yeah, we get the chance here to shift that. That’s why you’ve got the podcast and the platform, so you can shift that for our generation, but all these other generations behind us as well.

That’s amazing how both of us are kind of like stepping into this new world and seeing the possibilities for us, because there are so many people I talked to who want to make a change, but are stuck by the fear that they have and the fears of everybody else speaking into their minds, saying, oh, but what about this? And a lot of people are just paralyzed, so they’re like, I’m just going to stay here. I’m just going to do what I’m doing. It works. I’m okay with it. I’m content. I mean, there are things I could do better and I would love to pursue in the future, but right now, I’m okay living this life. Like, I work on nine to five, and I have time for family, have time for friends. Like, some people are just satisfied with that, even if they want to pursue different things.

I find that so hard, especially having done the nine to five service full time as a teacher. I found that so constricting. I felt like I wasn’t living because you’re following that schedule. And I was like, oh, I really want to do something that excites me, that ignites a fire in me. And I think if I did that, I would be a better daughter in terms of, like, I’d be happier, you know, I’d be a better sister because I’m actually pursuing what I love. I’d be a better friend because I’ve got so much more love to give. That was, like, my reasoning for stepping out as well. I was like, oh, imagine who I would be if I actually pursued what I love. The person, the Jen I’d be, the daughter I’d be for my parents if I actually loved what I did and was happy and felt whole. Everything you mentioned so relatable.

And I think a lot of people kind of see a glimpse of that on the other side, but they don’t have the courage to step over the fear to get there. They’re like, It’s not worth it. But that’s what I teach in my programs, like becoming the person that you want to be, having a new perspective of life, doing things you’re passionate about, and becoming a better everything, a better person for yourself, a better partner, a better daughter, a better employee. You just appreciate life so much more when you are in alignment.

And I think you mentioned that in your story recently about living in alignment. Right. How does that look for you? Yeah, I think living in alignment, it’s funny because alignment sounds like you’re clicking into yourself like this, but actually because that click, it takes all these other clicks around to make that one actually click into alignment. And so what alignment looks like to me is flexibility. So doing what I love because I’m still teaching, right. But it’s more flexible doing what I love and then pursuing my passion or navigating having your own business or starting your own business and having the freedom, I think, to go on holidays and not be constricted by time. And I think the biggest thing for me and the thing that I’ve been avoiding or really afraid of is I’m afraid of being held down. Okay. That’s like the internal thing, but in a physical manifestation. I always feel like if you get a mortgage and you want to buy a home in Australia, you’re literally held down. Yeah, I fear that so much because I’m like, My God, you have to be working to pay that off for 30 years, even if you wanted to take like one month, two months old. It’s so scary because you got to meet these repayments. And so leaving an alignment to me means flexibility and freedom and those sounds like your biggest values. You mentioned freedom in the beginning as well. And I love that because alignment and finding yourself and your identity, it all kind of comes back to your values because everything falls into place naturally once you know what is important to you.

So that’s why you live in Thailand right now. Like, that freedom. Even though in Australia you do have freedoms, it’s just different because of the relationships that you have here that might restrict you a little bit, whereas overseas you can work flexibly. That’s also kind of freedom in a way. Yeah. I didn’t even know my value was freedom, actually, because until I had a conversation with my dad and I didn’t even think my dad knew me in that way. Right. And he was like because he was talking about me and my siblings, and he was like, you guys all value different things. And I’m like, yeah, do you think you know what we value? And then he started telling me what my brothers value, and I’m like, So what do you think I value then? And I was like, I don’t think my dad knows the answer. And my dad’s like, Jen, he doesn’t call me that. He calls me my Vietnamese name, by the way. Yeah, he. Says you value freedom. Ever since you were a child, like your teens or whatever, you always valued being able to do what you wanted to do. You value freedom. You never cared about what’s going on around you. You always went for your pursuit of freedom. And I was like, oh, I didn’t even know that. And he gave he opened that up to me, like, made me realize that. And it’s funny, because my whole life, up until that point, I thought he didn’t understand me, but I wanted to be free. But, yeah, in a weird kind of way, everything aligned. And he’s like, no, but this is what you love.

Love that you can have those kind of conversations with your dad. It’s taken a lot of work. Tell you what, I don’t know about you, but it’s been a journey with my parents to get to a point, and it’s not until, like, now I’m 32 now, right? But I’m able to openly speak to them and share with them in a way that’s more open than what it was before. More mature, less belay me and less, I don’t know, hiding. Like, I was hiding a lot of things from them, like hiding who I was, what I was doing. But now I’m just like, this is me. That goes to show that you’re not ashamed or embarrassed of whatever you’re doing now. Like, you’re proud of your life and the decisions you’ve made. Right. And you’re kind of on the same level as your parents now. Like, we’re not a kid anymore. And they don’t treat us like kids, right? Because a lot of the times we act in certain ways with our parents because they treat us like a kid, and so we can’t trust ourselves to make decisions and around them. We do. Yeah.

Everything we do, we got to ask for feedback. Ask, what do you think about this? And so now you trust yourself enough to say, Hang on, I know what I want, and parents, this is what I’m doing. It might not be what you’re thinking I should do with my life, but that’s what I’m doing. Yeah. And that takes time to cultivate, especially, I feel like, the second generation, not just women, but men, too, right. To bridge that gap or to meet them halfway there in terms of that level of I’m not the child. You can’t always tell me what to do, even though you come from a good place. But I can make my own decisions. I trust myself, and that takes time.

It took me 30 years or so to get to that point. But I want to go back to values. What are your values? Definitely one of mine is family. Well, family, I would say relationships in general. I love connecting with people. I’m looking at my vision board behind the screen. This was what I made probably, like, two, three years ago. And some of those words are like, balance and connection. And that’s why when I first started my Instagram page, it was about work, life balance because that’s what I was struggling with and I didn’t connect the dots at the time. But, yeah, balance in terms of life and everything, like physically, mentally and then relationships, that’s really important to me, like, that sort of connection with people. And that’s what I’ve been trying to cultivate for myself as well. Like building that connection on a deeper level and not just surface level with colleagues, especially because you’re there to do a job, right, but connecting with people outside of work or having that time to get to know people really well. Like, I’m not extroverted. I lean more towards introverted, but I have burst of energy where I just love talking to people. So I would say those two are my biggest balance in terms of everything. But then connection and relationships. Amazing. So beautiful.

Yeah, I always like seeing what people value because then you get to know them and what’s dear to them and then you kind of see a glimpse of who they are. And that’s why I’ve integrated that into my coaching, into my Instagram, and now having the podcast and having people on there like you, who I can connect with and having a space where we can have these conversations and people are listening and are saying, okay, I can have these conversations too, with my friends. That’s so important because as you’ve said in the beginning, we don’t really have space for these type of conversations now, especially when you get older and you’re busy and people have their own priorities. But having the space to talk, it’s just really heartwarming.

Yeah, it’s super nice to connect in a way that’s like deep and meaningful, I think, for the parties involved. Like, where you’re talking about matters of the heart. Because the things that we discussed here is not like things like what clothes are you wearing? Or what house are you buying there? They’re not external materialistic things. It’s things that get us to the core, our family, our core values, and how we’re navigating that in this world at the moment. And, yeah, you’re right. I mean, I even have some friends where you connect with them, but you don’t connect like this. You just talk about, oh, hey, how’s it going? What’s been up to? How are your kids? Blah, blah, blah. And then that’s it. And I love having these kinds of conversations because it really shows the direction that people want to go in and where they are in life because a lot of people are kind of stuck in the mundane things and like. Yeah. I’m like raising my family and I want to do this and that. But they’re kind of things that on a surface level seem very monotonous. Things that always come up right. But what are your dreams? What do you want to pursue? What kind of things are you inspired by? I love talking to people about that kind of stuff because then it shows that life isn’t just like a routine of the same things.

And you are allowed to dream, you are allowed to imagine all this life for yourself and for the people around you, to show them that life is more than this, there’s a purpose to it, and you are able to create something during this lifetime. I hope all the lists listeners are like, hearing that just like, you are able to imagine, you can dream and you can go for it. I think that’s a huge, super important message to, I think, get out there and let people know that it’s okay. It’s okay that you don’t want that monotonous life. It’s okay, that’s not your thing, but whatever it is your thing, go for it, because it actually keeps you alive.

What is coming up in the future for you? Oh, good question. I used to be a planner. I used to want to know what I’m doing. You used to? Did that all happen? Yes. Because I feel like before I’m still much a planner, but now I let go a little bit, I’m not so, like, controlling about it. Whereas before I need to know, like, okay, in six months, I need to know if I’m going to be staying here, if I’m going to be moving to a different city, am I going to go home? Those were, like, all of my thoughts, but now I’m just like, I’m just going to flow with it. I have things that I want to do, and I trust the universe and I trust myself, and I trust that whatever direction it goes in, it’s where I’m meant to go. But in terms of what’s coming up, I am finishing my degree in October. So that’s exciting because that’s something I’ve been wanting to do. So, yeah, I’m going to be finishing my psychotherapy degree, and then I’m recently just working on building my little side hustle, so I’m going to be spending some time, investing time and energy into that and then just more holidays. That sounds like the best life.

I have a final question for you. How will you continue to live with intention and connection? One word or one theme that I always kind of fall back on is to make sure that I’m grounded physically. Feel the ground. Any time I feel like I’m a bit I’m feeling discomfort. I always try to get grounded through meditation, through connecting with nature, whatever it is. I feel like if I have that base, literally that foundation of being grounded, I can do anything, be anything, be who I want, whatever, if that’s it. But if I’m not grounded, I feel like anything beyond that is tainted. It’s not going to be intentful, it’s not going to be connected to self for me, being connected to myself, being connected to my authority and, like, how I show up comes from a place of me being grounded. It’s different for everyone, but that’s for me.

What about you? I want to know you too. Well, actually, I was thinking similar things as you were talking about that I’m like, yeah, I always focus on myself first and then emanating that out to everybody else. So if you have the light lit from within, then you’re able to like other people’s lamps as well. It’s always important to serve yourself first. I know that sounds really selfish, but at the same time, it’s not self. It’s actually better for the people around you when you look after yourself first. But just coming back to the whole cultural thing, in our culture, it’s very taboo to serve yourself. It’s a collectivist. It’s about the family, it’s about the community, it’s about, like, all of us. It’s not about you. You can’t think about yourself. Right. And I think that’s also, like, a really confusing, jarring thing for us to navigate as well. That’s why people are so like, I don’t know if I can do what I actually want to do because that’s being selfish.

I feel like we’ve got to continue this conversation. There’s so much time pack from everything that you just mentioned, I love this conversation with you. Jen and I can’t wait for our listeners to hear this as well. Thank you so much. I really like it. I can feel it here in my heart, some of the things we spoke about, and I’m like, oh, I feel so seen. I feel so like we can relate to each other. I’m like, oh, so comforted knowing that I’m not the only one who have experienced all these experiences that we’ve had growing up and even to now. Well, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. Thank you. Thanks you so much.

Remember, you’re a human BEING, not a human DOING.

Chat to you in the next episode!
Van Anh

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