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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.

“Know the rules well so you can break them effectively” - Dalai Lama XIV

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.

Expectations. This is a big word with a whole lot of emotion attached to it. For me, expectations are a drug affecting every part of my life. They are present in situations without my knowing sometimes. They offer me hope and keep me high with anticipation for blissful, rewarding outcomes. They also make me crash and burn with disappointment when they are not met. Such is life right?

“Sometimes I can feel my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.” – Jonathan Safran Foer.

When I hear the word contract I cringe a little… it sounds a bit like commitment and I’m not very good at that. But if we consider that there are two basic fundamental emotional needs in life – security (yawn) and adventure (yes please!) – “contract” definitely covers one of those, especially if “long-term” is a predicate to it.

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