In this week’s solo episode, Billy shares some exciting travel tips and updates for those of you who’ve got the travel bug! Billy also extends an invitation to join his weekly virtual mindfulness sessions! The focus of this week’s episode details how renting a scooter (almost) gave him an anxiety attack. For those who don’t know, when you travel to Thailand, the most common and efficient transport vehicle is a scooter, and there’s an abundance of that for rent…but what do you do when you’re too afraid to rent one?!
Make sure you tune in to understand how a simple 2-wheeled vehicle can trigger so much anxiety and how Billy turned those anxious thoughts into action.
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Billy: Coming up on The Mindful Midlife Crisis
When I finally got to the Forest Park and turned off the scooter and flipped down the kickstand and took off my helmet, a great sense of pride and an accomplishment washed over me. And I simply could not stop smiling from the exhilarating experience that ride was. I get it now. Why am I?
Dad, who has a Harley, goes out on his motorcycle rides with his friends? I get it now. I get it. There's just a rush about it. And I carried that rush as I went into the beautiful jungle hike that's there. And I saw this stunning waterfall, and it just made me appreciate all of that so much more because I had this rush.
Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis, a podcast for people navigating the complexities and possibilities of life's second half. I'm your host, Billy Lahr and educator, personal trainer, meditation teacher and Overthinker who talks to experts who specialize in social and emotional learning, mindfulness, physical and emotional wellness, cultural awareness, finances, communication, relationships, dating and parenting all in an effort to help us better reflect, learn and grow.
So we can live a more purpose-filled life. Take a deep breath, embrace the present and journey with me through The Mindful Midlife Crisis. Welcome to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. I'm your host, Billy Lahr. Thank you for tuning in wherever you are. The purpose of the show is to provide a platform that gives people the space and permission to share their expertise and life experiences in order to help others navigate the complexities and possibilities of life's second half.
But on the first Wednesday of every month, I record a solo episode to share my travel experiences with you and how those experiences are helping me navigate my own mindful midlife crisis, which is actually more of a midlife pivot than a crisis. Because if I'm being honest, I'm feeling pretty good about where I am in my life. But if you've been a fan of the show since day one, you know that that hasn't always been the case.
So I am happy to share my experiences with you in these solo episodes in the hopes that my trials, tribulations and successes will inspire you to take intentional action to live a more purpose-filled life. And remember this free and useful information is helpful to people of all ages. Wisdom isn't about one's age. Wisdom comes from our ability to reflect, learn and grow from our own life experiences, while also learning from the experiences of others, regardless of what stage of life we are in.
Because you just never know what life is going to throw at you. So there just might be a story or two from these past episodes, whether those come from these solo episodes or the experiences and expertise my guests share with us that help you feel a bit better prepared for the challenges you might face in life or that you're facing right now.
Whether those challenges be your emotional or mental and or physical health, your relationships with others, including your partner and children, your career, whatever curveballs life is throwing your way right now, just know that you are not alone in your experience. And the conversations I'm having here are with people who have been there before or have done the research to help you navigate these situations with more awareness, openness, curiosity and compassion so you can live a more purpose-filled life.
And trust me, I take all the conversations I'm having, the heart as well, and I try to apply what I'm learning from these conversations, which is why I enjoyed doing these solo episodes, because I think of the show as a running dialog between me and you, the listener. Because my hope is, is that you can see and hear the growth I'm making in my own life so that it inspires you to seek out the connections between these shared experiences so that you too can take intentional and inspired action.
So if you're looking for some ways to help, you better navigate whatever you've got going on in your life from someone who has been through it before, check out some of our other episodes at WWE Dot Mindful Midlife Crisis dot com or wherever you get your podcasts. I am recording this week's episode from Hanoi, Vietnam, so if you hear constant honking throughout this episode, that's why because car scooter and pedestrian traffic here is a full contact sport that you do not want to lose.
Crossing the street in Hanoi is basically a game of Frogger, so people use their horns to communicate their location. So you might hear that from time to time. Seriously, you have just as good a chance of making it across the street safely here with your eyes closed, because somehow they always seem to weave out of the way just in time.
But, oh, crossing the street here is a harrowing experience. It's you who needs to go skydiving. You can just cross the street in Hanoi. There's there's action and excitement right there. It is absolute lutely wild here. But when this episode comes out on March 1st, I will finally, finally be on my way to Japan with my first stop being a three week stint in Osaka, followed by a week in Kyoto.
Then after that, I'm not quite sure where I'll go the finish out the month of March. People got suggestions, Send it my way. Send me an email at Mindful Midlife Crisis at gmail.com. Give me a follow on Instagram at Mindful underscore Midlife underscore crisis. Let me know where I should go for a couple of days. I'm thinking Kanazawa or maybe doing a hiking excursion to Mt. Fuji to finish out March, but in April I'll be in Tokyo for the entire month before heading back to Seoul for two more months.
I'm so excited to go to Tokyo. Tokyo is number one on my bucket list. It has been number one of my bucket list for decades. I am so excited to go there. If you have travel suggestions in Tokyo, if you have things I should do, things I should eat, send them my way. Please let me know. I'm excited to hear about your experiences in Tokyo.
For me, it's checking out that blend of the traditional culture and the future. Right? Because I feel like Tokyo does a great job of doing that and Seoul does that too. And I'm heading back to Seoul. After I go to Tokyo, I'll be in Seoul again for two more months. And then after that, who knows? Because I'll still be on a Korean tourist visa, so I'll have to return to the United States.
I won't be able to stay in Korea after 90 days, and I'll have to make some decisions around what the next few months are going to look like for me in terms of what I'll be doing for work and where I'll be living. Ideally, I'd like to be able to work remotely and continue being a digital nomad while also bringing you useful and valuable content.
I'm actually in the process of finishing up my mindfulness teacher certification with Sean Fargo through his Mindfulness Exercises program. Soon I will have a ten session introduction to Mindfulness course that I will be offering to all of you and everyone, and I'll make that available at WW Mindful midlife crisis dot com as well as through the newsletter. If you're not signed up for the newsletter, you may want to do that because I'm going to offer people who are subscribed to the newsletter, who are part of The Mindful Midlife Crisis community, a sweet deal on that introduction to mindfulness course.
So might be worth your time to check out the newsletter. There are all sorts of goodies in the newsletter, so be sure to check that out. That program should hopefully be out before September, but in the meantime, I'm going to start offering hourlong mindfulness sessions to all of you out there interested in learning more about how to foster and nurture your own mindfulness practice.
Each session includes an opening exercise, followed by a 10 to 15 minute meditation, and then we close the session by discussing what came up for you during that meditation, how you can use that newfound awareness in your day to day life, and how, when and where you can continue to practice mindfulness on a regular daily basis by being intentional around carving out time.
This is essentially what I've been doing with the saucier community on Tuesday nights, Korean time. But I also wanted to offer this to all of my friends, my listeners and anyone else curious about cultivating a mindfulness practice who live in the United States or are in Europe. So if you'd like more information about that, go to the show notes.
Click on the Spring Virtual Mindfulness Sessions link and sign up to get more information as well as a link to the virtual meditation room. So this week I thought I'd share a story with you about an experience I had in Chiang Rai, Thailand, that almost had me paralyzed by fear and indecision. I imagine, like many people out there trying to start and grow a business life can be extremely overwhelming at times.
You don't know what you don't know, and that re-occurring fear of the unknown started to settle in on my last day in Chiang Rai. So what I want to do is I want to walk you through how my anxious thoughts got stirred up in my head so you understand what the onset of an anxiety attack may look like.
Now, all of this may seem irrational thinking to you, but that's what anxiety attacks look like for me. They start off as these genuine dilemmas that spiral into catastrophes. If I am not mindful of my own thoughts, the focus of this near meltdown revolves around how I was going to get around Shanghai for the three days I was there.
When I'm traveling, I generally choose cities that have quality metro transit so that I can easily navigate my way around the city. But Thailand city transit is somewhere between scarce and nonexistent. And up to that point I'd been using Grab, which is basically Thai, Uber. It's extremely cheap by American standards, but if you use it every day, it starts to add up.
So that means I do a lot of walking, but sometimes there are places that you want to see that are just too far away and you can't walk to them or it's just going to eat up your entire day. And I find myself in that situation a lot because I walk all over cities. But sometimes you just need public transportation, you need a car, you need a scooter, you need something to get you there.
And that's how I led to this dilemma spiral into something much bigger. So on my first day in Shanghai, I walked to and you guys are going to have to forgive my pronunciation for these temples, but I see it as what's wrong. So we are ten. If you speak Thai, could you please correct me? Let me know. I always feel so awful when I butcher these names right here.
I just don't have the tongue for it. I don't have the accent for it. Anyway, this temple is also known as the Blue Temple, which was only about three kilometers from my hotel. That's an easy walk. And the walk took me over this bridge that spanned the cock river, just as the sun was making its way behind the northern Thailand mountain range.
And it led me through some really cool local neighborhoods before I finally reached the temple. Now the Blue Temple is often overshadowed by its more popular cousin. What Rong Kun, which is also known as the White Temple. But at night the blue temple is extravagant and I felt extremely lucky to have picked the perfect time to capture some truly majestic images.
If you don't follow me on Instagram, search for mindful underscore midlife underscore crisis and check out some of my travel pictures. Get a good look at the Blue temple. And then when you're in Shanghai, which I highly recommend, be sure you go there in the evening. I feel like I need to create a travel blog. Would you guys read that?
Let me know if you want some of my travel tips. So anyway, I didn't want to walk back to my hotel because I was exhausted from traveling that day. So I ordered a grab. Now, in Thailand, you can either get a grab car or you can save a few bucks and get a grab a bike. But since I am absolutely terrified of motorcycles and I saw how people insanely zipped around their scooters in Bangkok, it is even crazier here in Hanoi, mind you.
But it was crazy in Bangkok too. I went with the safer car option. Now, here's the thing. I grew up on a farm with three wheelers and four wheelers, and I used to zip around those gravel roads around our farmland back in the day. But there's just something about riding a motorcycle with two wheels that has always made me nervous.
Maybe it's the time I drove my dad's motorcycle into a lawn sweeper that might have something to do with that. I just don't want to ride one. They scare me. They terrify me. And of course, since I'm 45 years old and I've never done that before, I've had plenty of time to build up that fear in my head.
So I went with what I knew, got in the grab car and enjoyed my safe car ride back to the hotel in Thailand, though, you got to understand a motorcycle and scooter culture, it's one of the primary means of getting around, but watching them weave in and out of traffic. Everywhere I went wasn't doing my anxiety any favors.
And let's not forget they also drive on the opposite side of the road as Americans and most of the world right. And I'm not trying to die on this world tour I'm on. So yeah, renting a motorcycle or a scooter. It was a big no for me at that time. Okay? I just didn't feel comfortable to do it.
I was super nervous. I couldn't bring myself to do it. But on my way back to the hotel, the driver gave me a bit of advice. He said, Hey, if you want to go to Kun Korn Waterfall, which I did, you're going to have to rent a scooter because you won't be able to call a grab there without Wi-Fi.
So then I had to ask myself, Well, how badly do I need to see this waterfall? Because I sure as hell didn't want to rent a scooter. But then the next day rolled around and I wanted to visit the White Temple, as well as Thailand's largest Buddha statue at what that name it. Hopefully, I got that right, which was on the complete opposite side of town from the White Temple.
It's actually near the blue Temple. So had I planned better, I could have hit those two places in the same day. Yet another reason I'm not a fan of this go with the flow mentality, which is a topic I'll cover another day. Right? We'll come back to why I hate Go with the flow and what I actually think that means.
So many opinions. Anyway, before I left for the White Temple, the hotel clerk who was this very lovely woman, she tried to talk me into renting a scooter for the day because that would mean I could go wherever I wanted and spend as much time as I wanted there. And it's incredibly cheap. It's like 350 baht to rent a scooter for the entire day.
That's around ten bucks. Okay. To rent a scooter for an entire day. $10. I could go anywhere I wanted. I could stay as long as I wanted. But I told her, Listen, I've never driven a scooter before, and. Oh, yeah, there's that whole. I'm terrified of them as well, which I didn't tell her. So once again, I played it safe.
I called a grab car to take me to the white temple, and the driver was like, Do you want to go see the Big Buddha too? And I was like, Yeah. And he said, okay, well, I'll be your driver for the day. And then he handed me a list of his hourly rates, and even though it was affordable, it was still more than I wanted to spend.
But at that point I had no choice. If I wanted to go see the Big Buddha and eventually get back to my hotel, because I always travel without a SIM card and I rely on wifi to get me places. Now you might be thinking, Why don't you get a SIM card? Well, because I don't know how that works.
And I was too afraid to ask for a book. Just get off my case. So once again, just another wave. Fear has held me back during these journeys. Luckily, I learned about Air Rollo, which is an app where you can buy an eas sim card that you can use all over the world. And guess who has a promo for $3 off for all you travelers out there?
Yep, I do. So, no, this is not a sponsorship and it's not an ad for air Rollo. This is just a free travel hack. For those of you out there who don't want to wait in line to buy a SIM card when you're at the airport, when you're traveling, you can just download the air Rollo app and use the promo code in the show notes.
The next time you're traveling and need a SIM card, it's very easy. Even I figured it out. Go to the notes, check it out, download it. You'll be set the next time you're traveling and you need some data using an e sim card. Trust me, it has come in very handy in Thailand and in Vietnam when I'm out in the middle of nowhere and I'm like, Huh, how am I going to get back?
I wish I had some data because there's clearly no wi fi here. So go ahead, check it out. Let me know what you think about it. Use the promo code. Anyway, I didn't want to have to spend a bunch of money to have some dude drive me around all day on my last day in Shanghai. But I did want to visit the coon corn waterfalls, but I sure as hell didn't want to rent a scooter.
And that's when my anxiety really started to creep in. And for me, that equation looks like this fear plus indecision equals panic. I had a fear of getting hurt. I had a fear of dying. I had a fear of falling off that thing. But I also had a fear of making the wrong decision by not going to the waterfalls and wasting my day.
And that would have led to regret. This is another episode I want to talk about because I've long said regret gets a bad reputation. I personally have no issue with people feeling regret because regret is a natural human emotion. And if we use it right, just like any human emotion, we can channel it into action. If you haven't had a chance yet, I strongly encourage you to read Daniel Pink's The Power of Regret to learn more about how looking back on past regrets can actually move us forward in life.
If you remember my past guest, Jordan Harbinger, I believe that's episode 80. He had Daniel Pink on his show to talk about this very topic. I'm trying to get Daniel Pink on my show to talk about this very topic. Daniel Pink, I know you're listening to this show. Reach out to me. Let me know. I sent you an email.
You haven't responded yet. Let me know if you're interested in sitting down and talking about the power of regret, because I am a big believer in the power of regret. When it came down to it, I did not want to regret my last day in Shanghai. So you know what? I channeled all of that fear and anxiety into action.
Now I stood in it for about an hour and I let it paralyze me for about an hour. But for some reason, that adrenaline just started to kick in. So I went downstairs. I told the hotel clerk I wanted to rent a scooter, and then I was just left with this wave of endorphins. Right. And I just let them simmer until I got on that y don't know, 150 CCU, whatever it was, two wheeler and I carefully, very carefully maneuvered my way onto the main road out to Kun Korn Forest Park Waterfall.
And doing that required me to do three things that I had never done before. I had to drive a scooter. I had to drive in a foreign country and I had to drive on the opposite side of the road. Was I still terrified? I'd damn right I was still terrified, especially as big cars and big trucks pass me as a hug.
The left shoulder of the road like a friend and seen each kiss. Don't let me go, let me go. I kept my eye out for cars and motorbikes pulled out in front of me on the left side of the road because people drive more aggressively in Thailand and just weave in and out and in between each other like slithering snakes.
This is just so wild. It was such a different experience. I did not drive like that because, you know, 55 stay alive kilometers per hour, mind you. But then there was that moment when I had to pass someone who was also driving on a scooter. And I had two options. I could either tailgate her slow ass the rest of the way, or I could get down and passer.
And you know what? I gave it a little gas paster on the right hand side without getting clipped by anyone. And I didn't die. Neither did she. It was a scooter success. And I again felt more comfortable as I stretched out the pizza dough of my comfort zone, something that I talked about in summer session to a Dr. David DeMarkis.
Now, when I turned on to the road that car through the local villages up to the forest entry, I was seemingly the only person on the road that morning, so I decided to kick it down a little bit and allowed myself to finally relax that white knuckled death grip and hunched shoulders I had for the first part of the journey.
When I finally got to the Forest Park and turned off the scooter and flipped down the kickstand and took off my helmet, a great sense of pride and accomplishment washed over me and I simply cannot stop smiling from the exhilarating experience that ride was. I get it now. Why? My dad, who has a Harley, goes out on his motorcycle rides with his friends?
I get it now. I get it. There's just a rush about it. And I carried that rush as I went into the beautiful jungle hike that's there. And I saw this stunning waterfall, and it just made me appreciate all of that so much more because I had this rush, this somatic experience that we talk about in episode 34 with Brett Hill.
And then because I had the time and because I could do whatever I wanted, I later took in the scenic views at Singha Park, which again, I wouldn't have been able to do had I not rented the scooter because I wouldn't have had wi fi to call it grab, and it simply would have been way too expensive to pay a driver to be my personal chauffeur all day long, two days in a row.
Plus, I would have felt rushed while the driver was waiting for me. And I didn't want to have that feeling either. Had I given in to all that fear yet again, I would have never had that experience. And that's something I definitely would have regretted. Instead, I have this beautiful memory of my last day in Shanghai that I get to share with you.
So let's do this. We're going to take a quick break, and then when we come back, I'm going to share with you what my big takeaway is from this experience. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. Thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. If you're enjoying what you've heard so far, please do me a favor and hit the subscribe button.
Also giving the show a quick five star review with a few kind words helps others find a benefit from this podcast just like you are. Finally, please spread the wealth of free knowledge and advice in this episode by sharing it with the people in your life who may find this information and my mission to help others live a more purpose filled life.
Valuable. My hope is that these conversations resonate with others and inspire people to live their best lives. Thanks again. And now back to the show. Welcome back to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. I'm here reliving my near anxiety attack from renting a scooter when I was in Sheng Ry and I was talking about how regret can be used as a motivator and because I did not want to waste an opportunity like getting out into the Thai wilderness, get away from me.
I mustered up the courage, took immediate action, and rode that wave of adrenaline all the way to the waterfall. And in doing so, I also reminded myself what it feels like to be alive. I'm all for comfort and stability. I think those alongside regret also get a bad rap. But when comfort and stability feel like complacency, that's when it's time to take action and do something that makes you nervous or downright terrifies you to remind you that you're alive.
Now, forget these people who tell you to do something that terrify you every day. Life is hard enough without constantly seeking out ways to stress your nervous system. All right. Stability and comfort are a good thing. There's nothing wrong with stability and comfort. It's complacency that we want to fight against. So when you start to feel lethargic or paralyzed by indecision, take inspired an intentional action towards something that is normally at the edge of your comfort zone.
If it's outside your comfort zone, ask yourself, is this irrational fear or an irrational fear? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? I do this all the time and I think about, okay, what are some small steps that I can take in order to stretch out the pizza dough of my comfort zone so that I can work up to a level of a little bit more comfort to take that step where I get these small successes along the way.
And another thing that I do is I ask myself, what is the probability of something disastrous happening? And the reality is I've driven cars, I've driven three wheelers, I've driven four wheelers. I know how to ride a bike. Yeah, this was different. And it was a lot of things thrown to me at once. But if I was responsible, if I was careful, then I knew that the probability of me getting into an accident crashing, dying on a scooter, it was probably pretty small and I was just catastrophizing it in my head.
So once I kind of wrestled with that a little bit and then let that feeling go, then I was able to, like I said, make a quick decision, ride that wave of adrenaline and just be like, okay, I'm committed to now. And while I'm still jacked up and feeling this, I'm going to go for it. And I don't necessarily recommend making emotional decisions all the time.
But when it comes to overcoming fear, sometimes that's the best way to go. And if you need someone to help you process through these fears, these thoughts, these self-limiting beliefs, I want you to know that I'm here to offer my services to you in case anything I have shared today sounds intriguing, but you're just not sure where to start or you're just not convinced you'll stick with it unless someone hold you accountable.
So if you want a low risk, high reward way of doing that, go to the show notes and sign up for the spring virtual mindfulness sessions. You're also welcome to schedule a virtual check in using the county link, which you can also find in the show notes. And if there's one thing I learned during my first year solo traveling, it's this I should have budgeted time and money for either a therapy or a life coach.
I was navigating so many life transitions that I never had to think about before, and I was dragging a lot of unresolved emotional baggage and residue with me. So when I tried to make a plan, I was only using the tools I had in my current toolbox. Luckily for me, I was also having a lot of great conversations with amazing guests who share their experiences and expertise, and I was able to implement a lot of what they shared into my own experiences so that I could navigate life a little bit better.
But when I got back to Korea in October, I finally invested in working with a therapist again through better help. Now, this is not another commercial. This is not another ad. Betterhelp is not a sponsor yet, but I am more than okay with giving them a little bit of free advertising because I'm a huge advocate of therapy. Because if you go back and listen to episode three, you'll hear about how therapy and mindfulness not only changed my life, but most likely saved it as well.
So if you're looking for more affordable mental health services, you can get a free week of better help by going to the shownotes and clicking on the referral link. Just to be transparent if you sign up. I also get a free week, but if you sign up then you'll get your own referral link that you can share. And if one of your friends or family members or colleagues signs up using your referral link, then you get a free week and it becomes this beautiful pay it forward cycle of emotional support and healing that allows us to experience and live with more joy in our lives, which in my opinion, we all could use a little more of these days. So check out the show notes for that referral link. I wish I would have started using the service a year ago when I first started traveling and transitioning, because when you're doing something like this alone, it can feel overwhelming. So it's nice to have a licensed therapist to help you process everything so you can follow through those life changing daily habits that lead to achieving your goals in life.
If you're a fan of the newsletter, I use a lot of what we talk about in therapy, in the newsletter. It really brings out some interesting things that I had never thought about before. This week's newsletter is going to be about what messages life has been sending me and how I've been processing them. And that's the thing about these conversations I'm having with my therapist and the guests of this show.
I take them all to heart so that I can put in the work just so I can get a little bit better in the long term. Do I make progress every single day? No, of course not. Our growth looks more like the stock market. We might go through a really rough patch that puts our growth into a bear market, so to speak, and we may not reap the benefits of our growth for a while.
But if we play the long game, you'll see that the stock market always bounces back and so can you. Like I've said before, if you're not investing in your personal growth, then you are investing in personal decay. If you haven't been investing in your personal growth, it's time to make a move. So if you're looking for a way to help you be more mindful and productive, go to the show notes to sign up for the spring Virtual mindfulness sessions You can join at any time.
It's my way of saying thank you for listening to me, share this advice with you today, and I want to show my appreciation to you. As I said before, I just want to see you succeed. So if you start falling behind, our mindful midlife crisis community will be there to help you reflect, learn and grow. And remember this mindfulness is about sitting and awareness with open curiosity, compassion and non judgment.
So if you suddenly become aware of what's got you stuck, congratulations, you are practicing mindfulness. My job will be to help you process that new awareness with curiosity, compassion and non judgment so we can let go of whatever is holding you back from living a more purpose filled life. If this episode inspired you to invest in yourself in a new way, please do me a favor and subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts.
If you're an Apple listener, please consider leaving a five star review with a few kind words. And if you're a Spotify listener, give us a follow and click the five stars under the show Art. There are a lot of resources in this week's show notes, so be sure to have a look at those as well. If you'd like to share your thoughts on this week's episode, you can find all of my contact information in the show notes.
Feel free to email me your takeaways from this conversation at email@example.com. You can also follow me and DM me on Instagram at mindful_midlife_crisis. I'm on LinkedIn at Billy Lahr. That's L A H R., or you can send a message to the contact page at www.mindfulmidlifecrisis.com while you're there. Feel free to sign up for the newsletter so you can get access to the free meditations I send out every
Finally, remember that sharing is caring and I would greatly appreciate it if you would share this episode with the people in your life who may benefit from having someone. Help them be more mindful and productive so they can live a more purpose-filled life.
So, with that, this is Billy, thank you for listening to The Mindful Midlife Crisis. May you feel happy, healthy, and loved. Take care, friends.