One week. I have one week left (six days to be exact) before my big trip to Southeast Asia.
Back when I was 21, I did some solo traveling around France, Switzerland and Italy and I think that’s when the travel bug started biting me. The feeling of solo traveling was so powerful and so limitless that I could not let go of this feeling since then. However, I’ve never done a backpacking trip for an extended period of time.
A few years ago, this solo backpacking idea started forming in my head. I remember talking about backpacking around the world so many times at dinner gatherings with friends. I scrolled through Facebook pictures of a few of my friends who was actually traveling around the world at the time with admiration and jealousy. I was fascinated with the idea of traveling, but I’ve never gone far enough to actually execute the idea.
Fast forward a year ago, I received an email from HR informing us that our company is encouraging this new sabbatical flexibility program where employees can take up to 4 months off with 20% pay. At that moment, I felt like that was my calling and that was my opportunity where I can be “irresponsible” for once in my life.
So here I am a few months after applying for the sabbatical program, I’m about to be off for my solo backpacking trip.
But you know, emotion is a funny thing. The heart and the brain don’t necessarily work the same way. If you’ve asked me if I was nervous a few months ago when I applied for the program, I would say… “Heck no… I am more than ready to embark on a journey on my own”. My heart was ready, but my brain has not processed all the information yet…
Now. Six days before my trip. The uncertainty started to hit me.
An 11-week backpacking trip in eight different countries means constantly switching beds from one hostel to another, talking to strangers everyday, coping with loneliness, forcing myself to adapt to uncomfortable situations, figuring out all the logistics on my own, a lot of walking, and surviving the hot and humid summer months in Southeast Asia. Basically I signed up for a trip that might not be as “fun” as most people would think.
This sense of uncertainty continues to grow on me everyday as the departure day gets closer. To be honest, I have no idea if I could handle this trip on my own. But it’s almost like I enjoy this feeling of uncertainty so that I know there’s a huge challenge ahead of me that I must solve on my own. I think it’s the feeling of conquering something so out of the ordinary that I really enjoy, but I also understand that as human being I am so powerless when facing the world alone.
So here I go, with my uncertainty resides in me, with my desire to conquer the world, I am ready for my first ever solo backpacking journey.