SOLO TRAVEL: AN ADVENTURE WORTH TRYING
This is a year late but still the most important travel goal I achieved last year. Among my circle of friends and family, traveling alone was not a normal occurrence. This was also one of my goals before turning 30 last April. I opted to go to Ho Chi Minh city in Vietnam. I chose Vietnam because it was a place I had not been to.
The hardest thing about traveling is wanting to go home and be with family yet still having the urge to continue moving forward and discovering new things. I know if it weren’t for my husband and son, I would probably just keep traveling until that thirst is fully quenched- which I know might never happen. I always get this wave of sadness as a trip comes to an end. It is something that I truly love and long to do everyday of my life. It is something that I know some people will never fully understand.
Traveling alone put certain things in perspective. It gave me the silence that I never thought I needed. It gave me peacefulness like I never knew existed within me. Like it said in Kent Nerburn’s book “You should spend time alone. I don’t just mean minutes and hours, but days and, if the opportunity presents itself, weeks. Time spent alone returns to you a hundredfold, because it is the proving ground of the spirit”.
I went to Vietnam not knowing anyone at all. But then realized that I was actually lucky to not have had friends there because it gave me that push to open up and talk to people. It was fulfilling. The good thing about this experience was it made me want to travel more on my own. It was not easy and it was very stressful at the beginning but at least I was able to do it and know that I’ll be able to do it again.
I also realized that other Filipinos are not used to seeing Filipinas traveling alone for pleasure (or maybe I just looked like a lost puppy). The ones that I talked to were quite shocked that I was on my own and immediately assumed I needed help and wanted to take me under their wing. This was also the case prior to my trip. Friends that I talked to about it wanted to know why I wanted to travel on my own and were quite bewildered that it was my own choice. It was sort of funny. But I’m truly grateful for all the kind people I met and got to spend time with.
The scary part of it all was being away from home when the big earthquake/tsunami hit Japan. My hotel room did not have a window and I could not help but think of the things that could happen. But like any other trip, despite the stress and frustrations I encountered (and the fact that there isn’t that much to do in Ho Chi Minh), I really had a good time. And though I don’t think I’ll have a lot of time to travel on my own again anytime soon, I would gladly do it again in a heartbeat.