“Music saves the soul. Play softly while you read.”
The bliss when you travel solo is just inexplicable, an entirely different feeling that you don’t get when you travel with someone. And you can only talk about it with excitement when you meet a fellow solo female traveler. It’s like you both belong to a league that has not been established but you share the same ideology.
I’ve learned a lot of things while travelling solo, specially during my year-long corporate career break. For sure many wanderlust souls have their own list. Raise your hand if you share the same truths with me:
1. The freedom of deciding what you wanna do, where you wanna go, without checking in with anyone just feels so damn satisfying and empowering.
2. Sometimes, strangers offer the most welcoming hugs than your own blood relative. I’ve been kicked out by nasty and narcissistic cousin a day before Christmas in Australia. I was homeless with 2 luggages with me on Christmas eve. But to meet strangers who welcome you in their home and share their Christmas dinner with you is the most humbling Christmas gift I’ve ever received.
3. Sushi is most delicious in Japan. Hotdog sandwiches are better in the streets of New York. Pad thai are never better outside Thailand. And no overseas Filo eatery can beat the sinigang in local turo-turo in the Philippines. No restaurant abroad is just authentic enough when you’ve already tasted the specialty dish from that country you visited.
4. Talking to and playing with kids who can hardly speak english is the warmest feeling you’ll feel. Friendly kids just melt hearts.
5. No Facebook or Instagram story is interesting enough knowing that there’s a great adventure ahead of you. You ditch the internet, leave your phone then dive the deepest seas, run wild in the bushes, and drink beers on the beach while watching the sunset.
6. Every person you meet, regardless of religion, skin colour, race, or profession is a beautiful creature. It doesn’t matter how they dress up or how much savings they have in bank. When they hold a conversation about their life and journey, you don’t mind hanging out with them.
7. Short flings are worth it. To share the adventure with a guy, whose accent is obviously from land far away, who makes your cheeks blush and heart jump, the heartbreak is inevitable. But I say with conviction, it is worth it, even if it’s just for a short while.
8. Cut the paranoia, not all men would want to rape you. The danger is real, don’t get me wrong. There are places that you must be extra cautious. However, from where I’ve been, all men are warm and caring – they were all brothers and fathers to me.
9. You are more empowered and capable of doing things that you never thought you could. You think no “newness” can intimidate you anymore. You have become braver and smarter.
10. You’ll realise what profession you really want. I quit my corporate job and travelled for a year just to realise that I love my previous job in contrast to what I used to tell myself while I was facing the computer in my last years in Singapore. I love spreadsheets, I love meetings, I love data analysis, creating charts, and math problems. I just needed a long break. A breather. An opportunity to do something different while thinking through what my long term plans should be.
11. Make-ups and hairsprays are luxury. You don’t need it to look fantastic. Your adrenaline-rush stories are enough to make you lovely and interesting. I don’t mind putting a little blush on and lip tint though before my SCUBA dive. . haha!
12. After the trip, you have a better understanding of what the real world looks like. How much love and respect you should give to nature, people and their culture instead of thinking that you are entitled of love and respect. We have better understanding of how we fit in this society and what little things we can do to make this world a better place.
I’ve learned most things from above list during my year-long travelling. I visited a number of islands in the Philippines then moved to Australia and worked on a boat cruising the Great Barrier Reef. I stayed longer in Cairns, Queensland and here are some of my favourite photos from the Far North.
The Great Barrier Reef from a scenic Flight. . Amazing, isn’t it?