The 17 Stages of My Hero’s Journey

1

Call to Adventure - “The Japanese Obsession”

Mid-1990s – I become exposed to Japanese culture through books and martial arts. I start reading more and more about anything related to Japan. I start practicing aikido and other martial arts.
2

Refusal of Call - “Not Becoming a Ninja”

1997 – After withdrawing my application from the Romanian Secret Service school, and failing to pass the university entrance exam, I decided to become a “ninja”. A Romanian master accepted me as his student but my father convinced me to go to a university of my choice. I gave up my dreams of becoming a ninja in return for getting an education.
3

Supernatural Aid - “The Internet Opportunity”

2001 – I enter the university system as a teaching assistant in my hometown and seem to be on my way to a safe and respectable career. But my attraction with Japan and the desire to become a “ninja” has never left me. A strong need to leave my native country for Asia burns inside me. The Internet provides with a 3-month job opportunity in Thailand.
4

Crossing First Threshold - “The Thai Adventure Begins”

2002 – I land in Thailand on July __ and after three months I decide not to return home but rather continue teaching in Thailand for another year.
5

Belly of the Whale - “Goodbye Romania”

2005 – After finishing my Masters Degree in Bangkok, I decide to give up for good my career as a teacher in Romania and start a new life in Thailand.
6

Road of Trials - “The Feeling of Not Belonging”

2006-2009 – A desire for a better-paid job sees me packing my bags and accepting a job in Qatar only to return to Thailand a year later wooed by another attractive job offer. Finally, in January 2009, I “settle down” in a teaching job that suits my character at an international school in Bangkok.
7

Meeting with the Goddess - “Archery and Online”

2009 – In the month of February I discover archery and on December 6th I publish my first article on my own blog at simandan.com. A whole new world of possibilities opens up, and I begin my career as an archer, blogger, and journalist.
8

Temptation - “Getting Paid for My Writing”

2010-2011 – Frustrations over not getting paid for my writing motivate me to transform my blog into a profitable online platform and to start earning from my contributions to print media.
9

Atonement with the Father - “Visiting Japan”

2012 – Although I have been in Asia for a decade, I kept delaying my trip to Japan, giving preference to professional development and other worldly endeavors. The two weeks I spent in Japan paved the way for my understanding of what a world travellers is and motivated me to become a travel writer.
10

Apostasies - “Writing My First Novel”

2013 - Being afraid of becoming just a news reporter, I start focusing on big writing projects and finally finish the first draft of my historical novel “The Buddha Head.” In the process of writing it, I learn the hard way how discipline and tenacity have to blend with the creative process.
11

The Ultimate Boon - “Writer, Archer, Traveller”

2016 – The last decade’s hard work and dedication, my stubbornness to achieve goals most people would have given up on at the first hurdle, and a revived and more positive view on life have chiseled me into the man I am today.
12

Refusal to Return - “A Dangerous Complacency”

Today – With financial and professional success, with a stable family life, and with the perceived familiarity and security of an expat living in Thailand, it is so easy to stay put and just be. The need to move on pulls at me, but I’m still holding back….
13

Magic Flight

not reached
14

Rescue from Without

not reached
15

Crossing the Threshold

not reached
16

Master of Two Worlds

not reached
17

Freedom to Live

not reached