This photo was taken back in 2018 on my graduation trip around Europe with my ex
This photo was taken back in 2018 on my graduation trip around Europe with my ex

Part I - 2018

*I wrote this part in 2019. It took me a year to have the gut to look back at the whole situation*
There was a burglary in our Airbnb in Barcelona. I lost all of my “valuables” including wallet, passport and all of the branded bags, accessories,... The lost could easily added up to hundreds VND. Yup, that used to be my life. Most of them are FUNCTIONALLY USELESS STUFFS, which I thought I couldn’t live without.
We are so intoxicated with the idea that only STUFFS, cars, mansions, branded clothing,... can fill up the space in our life and only by having those, we can prove how far we’ve gone.The experience really changed my mind about “STUFFS... CLOTHES, EXPENSIVE ACCESSORIES,... stuffs are just stuffs... when unnecessary stuffs are gone, there are MUCH MUCH MORE space in your head, your house, your life; more money, more time, more energy for things that really matter...and there I was laughing like a maniac knowing I still have book to read, free activities to join, a place to sleep, a boyfriend (now an ex) that laughs at my lame jokes and no worries someone’s going to snatch my stuffs away. Safe travels!"
So that was the aha moment where I realised whatever beliefs I had about the meaning of life, namely to work hard and get rich was completely meaningless.

Part II - 2022

*I wrote this part yesterday after reflecting back on my 4-year experience after graduation*
I did not think much and went straight back to Vietnam from Madrid with my temporary one-stop visa. I've never set foot in the UK again since. Saying goodbye to a place I'd called home for so many years was shockingly painful. I struggled with reverse culture shock and depression for nearly a year.
There were times I could not go outside cos everything was too overwwhelming...the sounds of endless honking, rude conversation, grim faces, concrete buildings with barely any pavement to walk on... I was not prepared for all of that.
However, I could not acknowledge that it was depression. Because who could have's not that easy to see your own blindspots. All of the sudden, the life I was living sounded so distanced. No place to hide, no one to talk to. Okay my Vietnamese was terrrible, I've never planned to come back home. Especially when the post for clinical psychologist's assistant NHS was so opened... On top of that, living in the UK was also a way for me to espace from all of the family problems going on back home. Coming back home shut me down totally.
It was a shared mini-trauma me and my best friend, who were "left behind" in the UK, could talk about only years after. Although I’m super grateful for my friends from secondary school and highschool at home but I always have this feeling that they no longer could fully understand me.
Left with no plan, no direction, no set values, it was a serious crisis - a total deconstruction of the self :))) Then, I met these Knowmads people in a vegan community dinner. They created space for me to re-explore my core values, to find that "red thread" in all the narratives I had about myself, to bridge between what I was with what was ahead of me.
My mental health also gotten much better after a whole year đeicated to yoga and meditation. I found myself more at home with my body and mind, less startling going outside, more fulfillment working with kids and teenagers, and much less compulsive buying or other form of escapism.
Once you feel at ease with your true self, the needs to look outwards for validation and comfort subsides. My dream used to be living in a huge mansions with yearly travels to the most expensive resorts in the world, riding the most up to date Mercedes and what not. These days, I'm okay with living with the bare minimum, as long as I'm able to get closed to nature anytime I want.
My life nowadays is all about trying my best at things I love to empower people without pushing myself to the verge of burnt out:)))
4 years have gone by, last month, my best friend (who is now in Australia) finally had a proper conversation about what we had been through. She texted me afterwards, said she love this version of me. So I guess, the crisis was not so bad after all :))