Hello 2019 and Goodbye America

solo female backpacker

Ok, maybe not “goodbye” but more like, “see ya later!”

I guess it’s time I finally share with my online fam what I’ve been planning for the past 6 months.

I’m leaving Austin to go travel abroad. I bought a one-way ticket to New Zealand, and so far that’s all I have planned. I am excited and terrified all at once! Mostly excited.

I leave at the very end of this month.

Wait, what??

This kind of long-term trip has been a dream of mine for quite some time; 10 years, actually. Ever since my first international trip to a non-english speaking country (China in 2008 for a high school trip), I felt like my soul was lit on fire and my whole world had opened up to a life of new adventures waiting to happen and new cultures to be experienced.

Unfortunately, after that excursion, traveling abroad was put on hold for a looong time due to college and starting my career, but it was eventually picked back up again in 2015 when I suddenly became single and was given the opportunity to make my way back to Asia to visit Tokyo AKA my favorite place I’ve ever traveled to.

The fire was re-ignited.

Since then I’ve tried to go abroad at least once a year—2016 I went on my longest trip ever to Europe where I explored 13 countries in 6 weeks, 2017 I went back to Asia for the 3rd time to see Seoul in South Korea, and last year I stayed closer to home and made my way to Mexico and Canada (both my first time there).

Ever since I graduated college, I’ve been putting away money to do a trip like this, but with jobs, lack of funds, having a boyfriend who lived across the country, and yes, PURE FEAR, the timing never felt right. Years later and I was single with a good amount of savings, but at the very beginning of 2017 I was hired at a local startup company that I actually enjoyed working at, so my dream had to be put on the back burner once again.

As I mentioned in my previous Year in Review post, I was eventually let go from that job at the halfway point of 2018, and I was suddenly faced with two options: I could either apply for other local jobs in Austin and go through the same cycle I’ve been repeating the past five years, or I could finally turn this aspiration into action.

So that’s what I’m doing.

solo female backpacker

I’ve been getting a lot of the same questions about this, so I figured it best I answer them here for y’all.

Where are you going, exactly?

My original plan was just to go to Southeast Asia and see what happens, but then I found a cheaper flight deal to New Zealand, so I’m going to start there for their last month of summer (which is February over there).

I will try to see Australia since it’s close, but I can’t imagine I’ll be able to stay long since it’s so expensive. I figured, if I already traveled all the way to that side of the planet… why not?

After that I will make my way upward to Asia (my 4th time!) where I hope to visit Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Bali, and the Philippines. I don’t know if I’ll be able to hit them all, but I’ll do my best.

Why Asia again?

Simply put, I freakin’ love Asia. Like I mentioned above, I have been to China, Japan, and South Korea, and each trip left me feeling so fulfilled with a fresh perspective on life. I’ve never ventured to the southeast parts of Asia, but I know it will be just as lovely, if not more.

The people are friendly, the culture is vibrant, the views are amazing, and housing/food are both CHEAP. Because of this, I’ll be able to make my budget last a long time.

Fun fact: My first three years of life were also spent in Hong Kong while my dad was in the Royal Air Force. Maybe that’s why I always feel compelled to go to Asia? I don’t remember it, of course, but my mom sure does… she didn’t enjoy it back then as much as I do now. 😂

Who are you going with?

I’ll be alone.

I got tired of waiting for someone else to be able to join me. I realized if I ever wanted to actually make this trip happen, I needed to bite the bullet and JUST DO IT (hey @Nike, sponsor me), otherwise I would end up disappointed and stuck in the same place with no one to blame but myself.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous, but I suppose that’s normal. I’m not scared about something bad happening to me; I’m more afraid about the inevitable loneliness. While I value my alone time, I can only take so much!

I’m a very friendly, easygoing person who loves getting to know people, but I can be so dang shy sometimes. Meaning, it’s hard for me to just walk up to a stranger and initiate conversation. When you come to me, however, then YES, HELLO, LET’S TALK! I’m an open book, truly.

For my Eurotrip in 2016, I technically went alone, but I joined a traveling group of strangers who soon all became my companions. This time, I have no plans to do a tour group as of now, so it will be my first real solo trip.

That said, if anyone is planning to go to SE Asia this year and wants to meet up,  feel free to holler at yo gurl. 😎

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When will you be back?

To be honest, I don’t know. When I first decided I was going to do this trip, I imagined only wanting to be gone a couple months, but lately I’ve been contemplating how long I could realistically make it last should I feel compelled to do so.

It all depends on how long I can survive with my budget, which freelance jobs I can acquire (if any), if anything bad were to happen that would cut my trip short (I’m confident this won’t be the case, but you never know) and, well, if I even like it! I may be an optimist, but I’m not naive.

Traveling alone for a long period of time with no consistent day-to-day routine is friggin’ hard and exhausting as hell, but I’m determined to try. That’s all I want, is to at least TRY. If it’s a bust and I end up coming home early, I won’t see it as a failure. A failure would have been not trying at all.

So, what’s next for this blog?

I’ve always blogged about travel here and there, but there’s about to be even more  travel-related posts on my blog, obvi. Outfit posts will be rare since I’ll probably be wearing the same things every week, haha.

My travel posts will be focused on solo female travel, budget travel, and minimalist travel AKA how I travel light and live out of nothing but my carry-on backpack (yes, you read that correctly). I imagine you’ll be getting a lot more journal entry-type posts as well to keep y’all updated on my general wellbeing. Or, you know, at least keep my mom updated. 🤪

Anything else you’d like to see on the blog? Let me know!

seoul

***

I’m going through with this now because I don’t know if another opportunity will ever present itself, and I don’t want to live in regret because I chose not to take a risk.

What I’m doing is nothing new; in fact, many many single women have done this exact same thing for YEARS and are even doing it now as we speak. I’ve always been jealous and in awe of them, thinking to myself, why not me? And once the chance presented itself last year, it then became a question of, hey, yeah, why NOT me???

I kept this a secret from the internet for a long time because I was scared it would end up not happening, and it freaked me out to even talk about it! It still freaks me out. My dream is about to come true, and I am overwhelmed with both elation and anxiety about it.

Have you ever wanted something so bad that when you found out you would soon be receiving it, you suddenly became overwhelmed with fear and doubt about it? Will this go the way I’ve always imagined or will this end terribly for me? Will this bring me the joy, clarity, and peace I’ve been seeking? Is this truly what I want?

There’s only one way to find out.

Or should I say, a one-way ticket? 🤔

***

“Life is a journey that must be travelled no matter how bad the roads and accommodations. One day you will look back and see that all along you were blooming. Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle. You don’t grow when you’re comfortable.”

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