What I learned about myself after 9 years of traveling
The very first time I traveled solo, I was 19. I was terrified, but determined. I wanted to go to Southeast Asia by myself and I wanted to prove to everyone else that I could do it. I tried to look confident, but in all honest, I was so scared. In that time, it wasn’t as easy to travel around like it is now. The tourism infrastructure was good 9 years ago in Thailand, but not at all as developed as it is now. I stayed in bungalows rather than hostels, and I met people on the streets rather than in common areas. But ever since, I’ve gained more and more confidence while traveling, and 9 years later, I can safely say that it’s been the best thing that’s happened to me. I’ve learnt so much about myself. I’ve learnt from my mistakes. I’ve repeated them by accident. I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve felt anger, frustration, love, happiness and sadness. It’s been a rollercoaster for sure, one that I’m not quite ready to hop off. It’s been the best years of my life and without traveling, I’d be a completely different person than I am today. Here’s what I’ve learnt about myself after 9 years of traveling.
I’m very independent
At home, I wasn’t exposed to certain situations like I am when I’m traveling, so I never knew this about myself. I mean, not really. But I learned that I’m very independent after traveling solo for months and months, learning how to handle difficult situations all by myself and be fine with being alone. Instead of being scared of that thought, I started embracing it and appreciate all those moments when I could just be that; alone. Now I feel like I can take on the whole world!
I’m a problem solver
To be honest, I never knew I was a good problem solver until flights got cancelled or you missed them. When you travel, there’s a ton of things that can happen to you such as cancelled flights. But you just have to deal with it, you learn how to solve problems and you get quite good at it.
I love comfort
Some people are okay with sleeping amongst cockroaches, dirty beds and even sometimes on the streets just to save money. I’m not that kind of backpacker. I wanted to be, so I tried to a few times, but nope. That’s not me. And that’s totally fine, you don’t have to travel in a uncomfortable way just to call yourself a “true backpacker”.
I appreciate home much more
Traveling has always been my biggest passion, but after being abroad for so long, I’ve also learnt that I really like my home. I like how things work, I like my own bed, I like to be close to my family and friends and I love to eat a good homemade meal. It doesn’t matter where you go in the world, there’ll never be a place like home.