Reflections on My First Solo Trip...
Looking back at my Taiwan trip, it was exhilarating and scary.
It was a trip that I hadn't expected to take by myself. And it ended up as my first solo one, one done in a foreign land that had a different culture and language.
I had been on trips outside of the country before, but I had always been with a group of friends or acquaintances. This meant that it was comfortable to roam around and explore, after all I had others with me in case of trouble cropping up.
But I was suddenly on my own for the first time. There were no words to describe the anxiousness I felt when I arrived at the airport with my luggage in tow, looking at the screen flashing the time of the flight departures.
'Was I really going to go through with it?' I asked myself.
After all, growing up, my parents had been, and still are, protective. They supported my brother and I in whatever we wanted to do, sparing no expense even when money was tight. But there was one thing that they never compromised on, and that was on personal safety. To this day, my dad keeps on telling me to never go anywhere with strangers, to prioritize my life over money in the event a robber corners me, to always make sure I don't stay late in the city.
This meant, that while we were taught to be independent, I had no experience on being on a trip on my own.
I seriously had no prior experience of being a solo traveler.
The Taiwan trip was something I hadn't planned, I was just supposed to go along with some people who masterminded the entire thing. But one by one, people backed out until I was left alone, and I couldn't cancel anymore because my tickets were booked (and couldn't be refunded since they were promo ones).
I had to go.
So I prepared. I checked everything that I could on the internet, read travel guides, searched forums, watched videos. I researched a lot, planned my itinerary in advance, booked hotels way ahead of time, bought a Taiwanese simcard, downloaded maps, and so on.
But all those preparations were for naught in the face of stepping into the unknown.
In that airport, on a mild summer evening, I asked myself, 'Will I go?'
My personality was of a loner, I had trouble meeting new people, if anything happened I would be in huge trouble (not to mention I didn't speak Chinese, I could only say good morning, typewriter and thank you, in a very bad accent).
It was scary. And at the same time, it was an opportunity.
An opportunity to see another part of the world, to experience and grow while being independent of help from family and friends. Well, of course no man is an island. Still, there are times when we have to do things by ourselves, for us to learn and live. It was one such time for me.
I boarded that plane scared but excited, and arrived in Taiwan questioning myseld if I really stepped on foreign soil alone.
And I did, I went to a new place (to me) by myself.
I saw new places, tried new food, met people who gave me assistance when I was confused, and learned that Google Maps was my new bestfriend.
It was scary at first, fun, enlightening, and I learned some valuable life lessons during the trip.
While I will not be recommending people to immediately head out on an international trip alone, I have to say, don't be scared of the unknown. We don't have to be reckless to try out new things, we can slowly dip our toes into a new sea. Whether you or I do things within our limits, or go beyond, just have a little courage to try and leave the confines of our comfort zones.
After all, there's a whole world out there waiting to be explored, in literal and not-literal sense.
I have to laugh at myself, I wrote this at twelve am in the evening, and half way through writing this (in my phone) I almost fell asleep. Reflecting on past events usually comes to me late in the evening... Really late (have to admit that I'm a night owl, probably).
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