On the final day of Thai massage school, four of us listened as our teacher talked about herbal medicine for treating common ailments. “How do you treat heartache?” One woman asked. She’d recently broken up with her partner over the course of our ten-week training. His name was still scrawled in ink on the top of her right breast.
Travelling alone is a lot like life–you’re never actually alone. Meeting people might be one of the best parts of travelling solo but so is the chance to “face yourself”, as a friend of mine describes it.
Travelling alone might be one of the best things you can do for yourself. Yes, it gets lonely, especially when you’re at an age seriously underrepresented in the travel world, and yes, it is sometimes scary. But loneliness and fear are a bit like mosquito bites, they affect everybody at some point but they only bother you if you give them attention.
Rudyard Kipling wrote, “the first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.” No kidding. I’ve spent a great deal of time in South East Asia. My senses have been abused beyond what I thought possible, to the point where the sight of some things don’t affect me like they once did.
I read a book to my very young students regularly because it’s a favourite of theirs. It’s called “We’re Going On A Bear Hunt”. It’s about a family that, together, faces several challenges on their walk to find a bear, such as very tall grass, a river, thick gooey mud, a blizzard, and eventually, a bear.
CAUTION: I’ve used the word NASTY prolifically in this blog, for good reason because no synonym seems to suffice. And, I am going to make some huge generalizations here about “gendered” hygiene, totally culturally specific and from my experience being a woman and living and travelling with boys (and by boys I mean grown men, you know, the ones who put their dirty backpack on the bed!).
While teaching in South Korea, my husband and I were lucky enough to enjoy some amazing vacations to other nearby countries during our three-year stay abroad. We had two weeks off of teaching one summer, and with our July anniversary approaching, decided to celebrate by leaving Korea and exploring another country.
I love making plans but I hate having commitments. But commitment grounds us and makes us become something better than we can be without it I think. Commitment can make us responsible and dependable people. Commitment can protect us from a lifetime of shallow, fleeting relationships, and impulsive, potentially self-destructive behaviours and frequent bad decisions.