Updated: Mar 17, 2020
How I went from a suburban life in Texas to tropical, island beach life in Koh Samui, Thailand.... in less than a year.
It started with my move to Tyler, Texas. A cute city about an hour and a half outside of Dallas. It was about an hour away from my mom, close enough to a big city, and was home to my school of choice. I had had it in my mind that being a Nurse was the (only) and the best option for me. I had already invested *four* whole years into being a Nursing Assistant and that's just what I knew best. We (my boyfriend Garrett, and best friend Tucker) packed up a U-Haul, and at the end of November 2018 and headed to the LoneStar State. After settling in and preparing to start Nursing School, I just couldn't shake the anxiety. The uneasy feelings kept running back no matter the amount of Yoga, or Meditation I did. Why was I scared and worried? "You've been waiting so long for this, why the hell are you second-guessing yourself NOW?" About a week before I was supposed to turn in all of my paperwork, fingerprints, bloodwork (none of which I had completed), I had a full-blown crying panic attack on my living room couch. I just couldn't bring myself to go out and finish the tasks I had to do. I knew myself, If I wanted something, I was a non-stop, go-getter, obsessor and accomplisher. I let go, I listened to my intuition. Maybe Nursing wasn't my destiny. I have been obsessed with modeling since I was a child. I had a fashion show birthday party, binge-watched America's Next Top Model, practiced my looks and walks in the mirror, basically pretended I was on a Vogue cover.
My heart just kept screaming, "GO FOR IT! PLEASE!" So, with tear-stained rosy cheeks, I made the unorthodox decision to unenroll in school, and leap for my dreams to be a Model.
My parents... shocked... Garrett and Tucker, as supportive as ever. They turned into my photographers and co-editors. I thrived doing what I adored, but that didn't pay my bills, yet. I get a job as a server and bartender at a country club in town to support myself financially. Around February, after basically only working and doing modeling shoots, I said to myself, "So, your car is paid off, you don't have any children, you don't have any real bills besides living costs, and your lease is ending in November. What are you going to do when that happens?" And then it hit me. At that point, I in my mind was free. I had no responsibilities except to myself. The idea struck me to live abroad and I couldn't help but run with it. I immediately hit Google, searched for cheap, warm places to live during our habitually freezing winters.
That is where I first saw her in all of her beauty: Thailand. The warm tropical waters, the beautiful tan beaches, the cheap (and I mean CHEAP) cost of living, the genuine people. It is dubbed the land of smiles for a reason! Garrett and I fell in love. From that point on, being me, I obsessed. I found out everything there was to know about Thailand. The best areas, the coolest foods, the nicest beaches. There was nothing that my old pal Google and I could not discover. Garrett and I booked our tickets first. After that, it was like....ok well, now all we need to do is...uh... figure it all out now because we're actually going! We hunkered down, saved pretty much everything we could.
We skipped eating out, worked ridiculous hours, and most important of all, we became grateful for the opportunity. I became grateful for every shitty $3.47 tip because that was $3.47 that I could spend on a plate of Pad Thai and an iced green tea. We both made huge sacrifices of sleep, our time together, and time with our friends in order to achieve this goal. My new personal mantra for every time a member was a pretentious ass, or I was dead tired on my 3rd cup of coffee, or I wanted to cry because my feet hurt so bad (I refused to buy new shoes for work even though I SO desperately needed them...because that's money.) my head kept repeating "Do it for the beach Chey, the sand between your toes, the coconut in hand, the breeze over your skin. Remember the beach." And today, literally today, I got to do just that. I woke up next to the love of my life, on the island of Koh Samui, Thailand went to Muay Thai training and kicked ass for 2 hours, walked a few minutes to the beach and jumped in without a care in the world. We sat there shoulder-deep in the warm waters, sand beneath our feet, swaying in the ocean arm in arm, looking around us and fully enjoying the beautiful, tropical island we now call home. I still can't believe it sometimes. I reminisce on the months of hard work, saving, sacrificing that we did to earn our way here. Proud is an understatement. We manifested a life that we are free in, and it is only going to continue every day of our lives.