Today I am sitting on a plane headed to Vietnam. It is September 18, 2014 and I am embarking on my first solo travel adventure. It has been a dream of mine to take a solo trip but up until now, I have never had enough nerve to do so. Yes I have moved to other countries/cities where I do not know anyone, yes I have taken a solo weekend getaway but this is the first time I have taken an extended trip by myself and for myself. Some may think I’m crazy and not understand why I would want to go solo, but others understand the awakening that occurs when you push yourself beyond your own limits and comfort zone.
I love people. For those of you who know me, you know I am an extrovert and I thrive off of being with people. I also love traveling with friends, some of my best memories are trips I’ve spent with friends or family. Memories are meant to be shared and there is something wonderful about experiencing a new city, country, or road with people whom you cherish. However, dreams are meant to be lived and everything we wants exists on the other-side of fear. This is where my adventure begins…
We all have different dreams, passions, and stories that form who we’ve become today, who we were in the past and who we aspire to become. Everyone’s story is different and it’s continually forming to be redefined. In a graduation speech, Marina Keegan stated, “What we have to remember is that we can still do anything. We can change our minds. We can start over. The notion that it’s too late to do anything is comical. It’s hilarious….We can’t , we must not lose this sense of possibility because in the end, it’s all we have.” This time last year, I would have been terrified to travel by myself. It seemed like a dream that was lost and would be difficult to regain. Simply because we have dreams and passions, it does not mean the path to reaching these will be smooth. Actually I would argue quite the opposite, there will be many road-bumps along the way. These road bumps will test your integrity, will-power and deepest desires. If there are not road bumps, I would say your dreams are too small and they are not what yearns with passion when people tell you otherwise or are non-existent.
My friend Supriya once sent a quote which states, “She was fierce, she was strong, she wasn’t simple. She was crazy and sometimes she barely slept. She always had something to say. She had flaws and that was ok. And when we was down, she got right back up. She was a beast in her own way, but one idea described her best. She was unstoppable and she took everything she wanted with a smile.” R.M. Drake. We always have two options, to continue smiling/pursuing or to be victimized. Nothing and no one is life is perfect. We all stumble, we all have our insecurities and we will all be misunderstood. These things should not be understood as negative, rather as the beauty of who we are. Without these multiple imperfections, we would be limited to seeing Christ’s grace and sufficiency in our lives. Today, the only reason I can confidently make this solo trip is because of Christ’s beautiful redemption. Christ is the beautiful grace that is redeemed in every aspect of our lives.
In the beginning I stated that I am taking this trip by myself and for myself. I say for myself because I am beyond excited and no one motioned me into doing this besides my own personal passions. I am at a stage in my life where I am the happiest I’ve been in a long time. When I say happy, I mean holistically happy…physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I enjoy deep breathing nowadays because I have peace and I enjoy traveling because this is what God created me to do. I am taking this trip because I am at a point in my life where I can. It hasn’t always been like this and as I gain different responsibilities, it might not always be like this. Yet to is the now and nothing is stopping me, therefore I desire to seize every opprotunity for the best potential it can be. We need to be free and we need to be alive. This will look different at every stage of life we are in but I never want to be crippled by the limited box of expectations.
Today, September 20, 2014, is my first morning in Vietnam; tomorrow I embark on a 14 day cycle trip from Ho Chi Minh (South) to Hanoi (North). Vietnam was on my bucket listed and seemed like the perfect cycle destination as per all my requirements. Excitement only touches the emotions I feel right now but in the words of Alex Garland, ” If I’d learnt one thing from traveling, it was that the way to get things done was to go ahead and do them. Don’t talk about going to Borneo. Book a ticket, get a visa, pack a bag, and it just happens.”