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Sarasota Wednesday, Sep. 8, 2021 3 months ago

Sarasotan tries new things on YouTube Channel

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Sarasota woman enjoys the thrill of trying something new and releases her adventures each week on YouTube.
by: Harry Sayer Staff Writer

Thuy Nguyen does a little bit of everything. 

 Whether it's working as bar manager at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre, the concessions manager at Ed Smith Stadium or acting as a Vietnamese interpreter with the Sarasota County courts system, Nguyen tries to keep things varied.

Still, it's often not enough. Nguyen said about 10 years ago she questioned who she was and what she had accomplished.

Boxing: “I thought (boxing) was going to be macho and not my style. It turns out I love it, I go three times a week.”

“I kept thinking ‘Man, what have I done with my life?’” Nguyen said. “(I thought) If everything I’ve been doing has led me to this, why don’t I do something different?”

It was an existential problem with no easy solutions. But Nguyen figured the victory was in the trying, and set about a new practice for living her life. 

It was simple. Every week, Nguyen would go out and try something new. 

That could be a new hobby, a new place to travel or even a different kind of food at a restaurant. She wasn’t picky, and there was an entire world of possibilities for her to experience. 

Nguyen came up with a good name for her experiment — The Life of Thuy. She wasn’t sure if it would go anywhere, but it was worth a shot.

Tres Leches: “Sometime’s it’s a total fail … it ended up being a big pile of goop.”

Almost nine years later, her grand experiment is still going. Nguyen has continued her “Life of Thuy” project and even adapted it into a YouTube show that releases every week. 

Viewers have watched Nguyen eat silkworms, audition for a play and even scale the landscapes of Alaska. It’s a long list of accomplishments and Nguyen knows she has plenty more. Most importantly, she thinks she’ll be doing so as a stronger person. 

“(The Life of Thuy) has made me realize “Wow, I can do this,’” Nguyen said

Nguyen’s journey had more humble origins. Her first new thing was when she and her friend decided to bite the bullet and go on a ziplining vacation in Central Florida for her birthday. 

Since then, she’s kept a journal of her exploits. In time, that turned into a sprawling spreadsheet of past and planned endeavors. Even with all that planning, Nguyen will be the first to admit she sometimes goes with the flow and picks an idea as it comes to her. 

Alaska: “In the past I might say ‘I don’t know, it’s cold there … the sights we saw (in Alaska) were awesome. We trekked on a glacier!”

The YouTube portion of The Life of Thuy started in 2015. After some encouragement from family, Nguyen adapted her personal project to something that was viewed by hundreds of people. It’s been her hope that her video nudge people to try out new things like she has. 

“Maybe (my videos) can help someone say ‘You know what, if that girl can do it, I can do it too or I can do it better,’” Nguyen said. 

Some of her challenges have been simple enough while others have been physically and mentally demanding. Nguyen has had a deep fear of drowning her entire life and took to conquering that fear by finally learning how to scuba dive.  

“I was more nervous (to learn to scuba) than I was skydiving,” Nguyen said “The ocean is so vast, what if something happens to your equipment … now it’s something that’s so peaceful for me that I look forward to doing.”

Scuba: “I’m not a good swimmer, I never thought I’d be scuba certified.”

She's taken up boxing and says it's connected her with important and long-lasting friends. She often cooks up new dishes and tries them out with her family. Sometimes it can go well, and sometimes it can be her recent tres leches cake attempt that wasn't exactly up to snuff. She thinks even those less-than-successful attempts can be something she and viewers can learn from.

Many of Nguyen’s exploits have been tangible with visible results, but one of her first new things is one that has impacted her the most. 

She realized at one point that early on while she loved her parents, and she knew they loved her, because of their culture that she had never verbally told them she loved them.

It was one of the more daunting challenges but Nguyen went ahead on Thanksgiving leaving her family written letters that said how much she cared about them and her favorite memory of them.

“Some family thought I was dying,” Nguyen laughs. “People pulled me aside various times during the weekend asking ‘Are you OK?’”

It’s paid off in the years since. Some family have opened up with her and some haven’t yet, but Nguyen also is just glad she made that jump. She feels like a different, more content person.

“The Life of Thuy has taught me the power of gratitude,” Nguyen said. “It helps me see how beautiful life is. There are so many experiences that we take for granted.”

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