Lost in the World

Me in a small fishing boat on the vast Mekong river by Long Xuyên. Also on board: Bodyfriend Tom and old Vietnamese steering lady. © Manon Steiner

Hi, I’m Manon. According the general consensus, I’m a so called “Millenial” and a member of the Generation Y, or as I’d like to call it: “So many options and no fucking clue what to do with them”.

Published research and books, say that we are all about the “I”, that we are more confident than ever, have more possibilities than our parents, some say we are the luckiest, others we are the unhappiest generation of all. Confusion all over the place. It that sense, it seems fitting.

On the search…

Manon Steiner in a fishing boat on the Mekong river in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam.

On the lookout over the powerful Mekong – thinking about the meaning of life. ©Manon Steiner

So, I’m on the search. For what? A possible career, myself, life, the world and the meaning of it all. The usual stuff. For a long time, I was absolutely horrified at the idea of designing my own life and that made me stop short of breath instead of going forward.

I still don’t know what the hell I’m doing or where I’ll end up. I have no master plan and certainly no answer. But there are two things I do know. One is the motto of the current youth, “yolo” – a term coined in 2011 by rapper Drake. Technically it is a term that is supposed to match the feelings of the generation Y. I hate that word. And if you’re like me, you feel already too old to exclaim “yolo” three times a day.

But once you leave your annoyance behind, the meaning behind rings more true than ever. We only live once. Simple, old and yet charged up with new meaning. Because, for those of us who don’t believe in heaven, an afterlife or rebirth, that’s it. And in today’s world of opportunities, choices and expectations, we need to take a break from rushing around to get what we want to think about what it actually is that we really want?

One Size doesn’t fit all

If your dream is a good job, a big house and a family, that’s great. Because our society is designed for that. But as we’ve learned from buying jeans and shoes, one size doesn’t fit all. 

True, nowadays, young people don’t necessarily strive for the old dream of a picked-fenced house in the suburbs. But talking to my closest friends, I realized that, indeed, I was the only one who wasn’t already on the path towards a promising career and the nice apartment, soon to be filled with a baby or two.

Doomed to live unhappily?

And that stressed me, for, at the time, I was about to quit my job and couldn’t imagine ever liking being tied town by another one. So, was I doomed to live unhappily?

For a long time, I thought so. And then I remembered a dream, I’ve had since I can remember. That dream is to see the world – all of it. And you can’t do that with a steady job, an apartment and sometimes even with a relationship. I always thought I was one of the few feeling this way.

Until, a year ago, I finally took the step to leave my hometown Vienna and step out into the world for good. I had always been fortunate enough to travel in the past and lived abroad twice already. But at the thought of planning my four to five week holiday each year, I felt the kind of “horror” that Mr. Kurz must have felt in the “Heart of Darkness”.

The Berlin-months

Music, fashion, press passes, parties: For 4 beautiful months, this was my life.

So after a lot of sole searching and quitting my first job after a year, I decided to follow dream number two: Being a music journalist for Rolling Stone magazine and living like my idol Hunter S. Thompson, thus writing and experiencing with various substances simultaneously.

I secured a short-term freelance position with the German Rolling Stone magazine and embarked onto the Berlin Club scene. The following four months were a great learning experience, mind opening, fun, bizarre, stressful but above all, they paved the path for my further decision-making process.

For one, I realized that even my dream job wasn’t as rosy as I had painted it and that I was in no way ready to settle down. Not even in an amazing city like Berlin – a place that only exists once in the world and that I can recommend to all the lost souls out there.

Finally on the Road

So after four months my boyfriend Tom and I went on a trip to Southeast Asia with no return ticket and no job to come back to. I’ve always travelled but it was there, that my journey really began. We only had a rough idea of the countries we wanted to see and no specific plan whatsoever. Our ticket we bought three weeks before we left. Since we didn’t have any priorities, we booked the cheapest flight available to Ho Chi Minh or Saigon in Vietnam (the only place I didn’t want to go to was Thailand as I had already traveled it). Pieces and pics of the trip I will share with you in various different posts.

Beautiful beach in Myanmar, at a hidden spot in front of the Indian Ocean. ©Manon Steiner

Finding paradise: At a beach at Southern cost of Myanmar engulfed by the Indian Ocean. ©Manon Steiner