I will always cherish my first time.
No matter how many stories I’ve read about backpacking solo through South East Asia, excitement fills my heart at the promise of my own untold story. Previously I’ve traveled to Korea by myself. But traveling for work includes the pressure of unread emails and deliverables that takes away from being fully present to the experience. There’s a safety net that comes from knowing that I can claim my expenses to having local colleagues who can translate the menu or catch me a cab.
But when I backpack to Vietnam and Cambodia next week, I’ll be truly alone. The trip marks the transition period between leaving my corporate job and chasing my dreams.
Call it whatever you want — soul searching, crossing an item off my bucket list, #YOLO, or simply just living, but traveling alone imparts an important lesson about life and the fear of pursuing one’s passion.
I don’t know how brave I can be until I try.
It’s scary because independence means being fully accountable to the direction of my life; the future mistakes, the wrong turns, the people who might rip me off along the way and the ‘what if’s’ never taken. But traveling is my favorite reminder that whatever happens next, faith is the compass for life — both on and off the road. There’s a path even if I don’t immediately see it in front of me.
So I never want to forget my first time, even if it means arriving at the foreign airport with no one to check Google Maps with me. Or not having someone to borrow cash from when I’m low on funds. Traveling is not a careless and carefree pursuit.
Traveling alone means being 100% responsible for what I choose to do.
At first it might be scary to arrive at my destination with no premise for judgment or backup. I will be the minority. No one is culturally entitled to have a similar point-of-view as me. But it gives me the space to discern my own opinion without the influence of family and friends.
I know that I’ll never forget my first time. Because a solo trip not only signifies a physical journey of exploration, but the mental mindset and the spiritual resilience I need to get where I need to go.