My solo-traveling has taught me to let go and enjoy the journey of the unknown and love my own company .
Since the last time I wrote about my travels, I have traveled to South Korea, where I stayed for 3 weeks. During my time there I met some of the most incredible people, challenged myself to try new things and grown so much as an individual.
In order to save money and immerse myself in the Korean culture, I decided to do a WorkAway work home stay, where I stayed with a local family for 2 weeks, teaching them English and au-pairing the 12 year old son.
At the beginning of this trip I was very anxious about going to stay with strangers. I had countless thoughts of bad what if running through my mind. I mean can you blame me when we live in a world where violent crimes have become a norm. I was little scared of the unknown that was waiting for me ahead. However, all those negative thoughts, fears and anxiety disappeared within hours of being in the Choi household. Mum Sunny’s (as I called the mother of the house) family reminded me a lot of my own (nuclear) family. Their values and closeness. I felt quite welcomed, accepted and safe by people who knew almost nothing about me (well besides my name and where I’m from).
The experience of staying with the Choi family was one of the best example’s of humanity, kindness and God’s existence in people. I will forever be grateful to the Choi family for how they looked after me, treated me like their own and took the time to get to know me. During the 2 weeks of teaching Frank and Mum Sunny English, I learned a lot about patience, confidence, communicating effectively, giving without any expectations and always being a student in life.
Mum Sunny in some ways reminded me of my own mother. Her love for people/family (hosting them, feeding them and always making sure everyone is good and taken care of), her fearlessness, willingness to learn new things, independence and resourcefulness. It made me reflect on the kind of woman I want to be and working towards becoming.
Solo traveling has not been easy. It has tested me mentally, as I have learned to let go; comfort of what I know and used to and most of all being alone in foreign places. I think some people (perhaps including myself in the past) don’t know how to truly enjoy and love their own company. In this day and age, many of us have become too dependent on feeling connected (whether it be by phone or seeking companionship in other ways).
After many months of not exercising, I feel i have also been physically tested and had to shape up – well obviously lugging around a 20 something kg bag is no easy feat especially when many places seem to have stairs (🙄). This has made me even more grateful to be a fully able bodied person, as I keep thinking of how challenging it must be for people with disabilities to navigate so many spaces. To think we sometimes take so many things for granted and forget to be grateful about the seemingly “normal” mundane everyday things.
I must admit I haven’t felt so free and most myself than I have been on this trip. My mental health is probably the best it has been since 1st or 2nd year of varsity. Not to say I don’t have lows or struggles but I’m in a much better place than I have been in what feels like a really long time. At the beginning of the trip I was still struggling with feelings of wondering what was my next step in life, what’s my life’s purpose, who am I and what do I want. Now, almost 2 months in, I feel relaxed and at peace with life. I no longer worry about what’s next or feel the need to have cookie cutter answers for everything in my life. It’s okay not to always know what’s next. Obviously having direction is important but also embracing the journey is just as rewarding as the destination, because it’s in those moments I have pushed myself to keep going when all I wanted to do was give up. Embracing and enjoying the moment and truly being present in it. I am trying to be more aware of how I feel and deal with those emotions as they come, and being patient with myself and my journey.
I really want to thank my dad for encouraging me to take this year to reconnect with myself and helping me make this opportunity to travel and see the world possible. He always says this is my MBA in the university of life. My dad is the best and one of my biggest supporters. I am truly grateful of the bond we have and his unwavering support.
One of best days I had in South Korea, was in Seoul, where I spent a day bike riding by the Han river, chatting and eating with 3 young women from all over the world (India, America and Italy, which I met through the American girl who helped me the previous day at the subway station). It was one of the most memorable days since starting my world tour. To have had a genuine connection with strangers and have some of the most meaningful conversations is sometimes rare.
South Korea was one of my favourite countries. I thoroughly my time in this beautiful country and felt very at home. I hope to go back and visit in the near future.
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