Travel

Ep. I: South East Asia

What A Month of Solo Travelling Has Taught Me Thus Far

South East Asia

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I feel much obliged to be offered a slice of the Mojo pie, a seemingly ever-expanding empire in itself. But I do find it rather difficult to satisfy the cues for distinctive aesthetic or remotely suitable taste, which have been patent in my “co-featured” predecessors on this website. Think of my sense in music and fashion as that of the weather in England; erratic yet pitifully uninspiring. But I do love a good challenge, so here we go.

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As a girl who has been raised in an environment of self-determination, privilege and uncannily good fortune, I, overwhelmed by the prospects of my life, disgruntled with my current path, dropped out of my university, ditched the monotony of the first world, and after a year of minimum wage job-hopping, boarded a plane that would take me to Southeast Asia. It all sounds rather newfangled, but as I learned within a matter of days, there are many girls (yes, my age!) who travel alone.

With a rough plan in my mind (including a distressingly tight budget) shaking in my boots (well flip flops, let’s be honest), in my defiance and commitment to maintaining a bohemian lifestyle, I did not book a return flight, nor did I book any transport or accommodation for onward travel. The essentials (budget, visas and vaccinations) were organized, but my plan was pretty much completely up in the air. In the last month of travelling through Myanmar, North Thailand and Laos, I have learned surprisingly more about myself than I could have ever imagined. I’ve tested myself mentally, I’ve forced myself into uncomfortable situations, I’ve managed to escape potentially dangerous ones, I’ve made mistakes (and have the skin burns to show them), and I’ve met people who I could never imagine myself forgetting, for better or for worse. I’ve learned how to socialize as a shy person, I’ve taught myself to say goodbye to friends, I’ve allowed myself to just be alone, and enjoy solitude, even amongst hoards of people.

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Depending on no one but yourself in a new place, where mum and dad can’t just come and pick you up, or replace your lost phone, is so important, and is quintessential in my view to getting a grip on adulthood. I’m only one month in; I still have much to learn on this trip. But to fellow Mojo readers, particularly ones who are sitting in their university dorm rooms thinking “Will I really use this degree?”, “Am I ready to make these kinds of life decisions about my future?”; if you’re asking those questions, chances are you probably aren’t ready, and what could be wrong with taking some time off to gain a bit of independence, and discover your passions outside the academic realm? This last month has already granted me countless memories and a new sense of independence and gratitude. And for those of you who wish to travel but aren’t yet, I implore you to ask yourself what’s really stopping you. Bon voyage!

The Lonely Nomad

 

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