Stop Thinking and Just Go!
Around this time last year, I was running around Walmart looking for the perfect backpack for my first international trip. Spontaneously, I decided to travel to Southeast Asia with 7 individuals, 5 in which were complete strangers (strangers to me however, we had one mutual friend) within less than a month to prepare. The anticipation was incredibly high for I had no idea what to expect. I met with 5 beauties and I will tell you we were giving Hong Kong a taste of black girl magic! We danced in the streets with bold lipstick and laughed with strangers that we felt like we knew for years until the sun rose. It was a night of living free and not just existing. When the sun rose, I waved goodbye to my girls as they caught their flight to the next destination.
I had another day left in a country where I barely scratched the surface of familiarity. I was headed in the direction of Victoria’s Peak (a mountain in the western half of Hong Kong Island) in which I never made it to. My plan was to find a restaurant that had great vegan options then head to the mountains, instead I got lost! My adventures had me standing in the middle of the block, in which looks similar to New York Time square, with no idea of direction and hungry. Eventually, I found someone who spoke English, a black girl at that! I spent a day by myself in Hong Kong getting lost in the rain with a stranger, chatting with other strangers from other parts of the world at restaurants eating food I had to Google. I listened intensely to authentic stories of millennials from Germany, Australia, Korea, and so many other places around the world that traveled so far to get to the same meeting place. Getting lost probably had to be the best thing that happened to me in Hong Kong. That day had to be the most inspiring moment of my life. Never in a million years, would I have ever imagined wandering around in a foreign country. The initial thought of internationally traveling by myself was terrifying, however, that was a vital part of my experience.
I was so exhausted on my 3:00am flight from Hong Kong, where I couldn’t sleep because young teens were practicing their English with me while trying to watch Season 1 of Power. After about 3 hours, I found myself in Bangkok, Thailand. I will never forget the amazing feeling of setting foot onto the rooftop of a lush hostel, where I was greeted by my overly welcoming beautiful friends with hugs and the readiness to take on the world. Now the previous night my friends were lifted from booze, no sleep and happiness which made the energy level unmatched. My energy was ignited by their smiles and warm, free souls. I stood on the roof top watching the sun come up, where my senses heightened. The world became bigger, the air felt crisp against my skin, and I could hear my inner voice saying where have you been all your life. In that moment, my breath was taken away. That moment was life.
Most of us ate street food for breakfast on the front deck of the hostel watching Monks with their orange robes drive by on motor bikes. I’m talking fresh fish delivered on ice to carts onto grills before 10:00 am. I’m talking fresh fish where my friend picked the meat and discovered seaweed in the belly. As for me, I ate toast with jelly and fresh….fruit. After breakfast, we dominated the streets American style to visit Wat Pho Temple. As we journeyed, I was so bothered by numerous audacious stares from the Thai people who were driving by and who were walking on the street with their mouths just about wide open! My first thought was, “What is their problem, geesh?” accompanied by the thought that we had too much skin exposed while walking around in Bangkok. As my friends laughed, they made me realized that they don’t see many black people, especially a large group. There were 8 of us, serving. Two travelers that had stopped in Japan before meeting us in Bangkok (I suppose it was a guy’s thing). Bangkok was amazing. We found peace at the temples, became fearless while chilling alongside Tigers, enjoyed unspeakable Thai massages, and took a “luxury” bus ride (that could be a blog post of its own) to the ferry in Phuket to head to Phi Phi Islands. The island was absolutely beautiful along with the 85 degree weather. The second day on the island we went snorkeling, which was an amazing experience that I almost missed out on! I was so geeked to go snorkeling up until the point where the long tailed boat stopped and I began to get sea sick. Also, I was not mentally prepared to emerge in the water knowing that I could not swim and it didn’t matter that I had a life jacket on. It took me awhile to not only to get in the water but to let go of the boat. However, I did it! I realized that I may never get this opportunity again so I needed to put my fear aside to experience living. I did not come all the way to Thailand to be scared! I am so glad that I did! Serenity was granted to us by the beach in the day while from drinking from coconuts and by night we listened to loud music and danced carelessly. I have so many stories that I could share from time on the island, but you would be reading for quite a while.
I am still in awe of this game changing travel experience to Southeast Asia. I didn’t worry about how everything would come together, I only focused how to make it happen. Now, I cannot picture living without traveling around the world. Traveling is not simply an escape from your current location, but it is an escape to a new perspective of what’s important where you discover a new level of happiness. My life changed when I simply decided to seize the moment. This trip inspired me to live fearlessly, laugh harder, travel further, and learn more. I realized I was barely touching the surface of life and being happy. Since this trip, I’ve taken more risk in the name of pursuing purpose and the abundance of living freer. I would never let the corners of small thinking compromise the opportunity to create once in a lifetime memories.
Even though I got lost while traveling, I found a piece of myself along the way. My experience taught me to travel the extra mile to explore higher heights of life, not allowing the unknown to hinder you. My solo travel experience in Hong Kong solidified the vowed to would never again hold my breath waiting for someone to travel with me. So to you I say, do not wait… just go! Trust me, it is worth it!