the impulsive traveler
05.10.2013 33 °C
The first time I took a trip alone, I was faking it. Well, it's not like the 25 year old me pretended to take the bus and travel across Cebu to visit a friend in Moalboal. After feeling a bit down, I impulse bought a bus ticket. I didn't have a solid plan on where to go or what to do.
So the deception was there from the start: For some reason I lied and told everyone that it was a great deal - it wasn't. I told my parents I was at home trying to get much needed sleep - I wasn't. I told my friends that I was super excited about it, that I knew how to have fun alone - I didn't.
I swore up and down that it wasn't a big deal that I didn't understand a few Cebuano words. Hence all that faking it. I tried so hard to pretend I was the carefree traveler I desperately wished I'd been raised to be.
But in truth I didn't really know how to have fun alone. I was too scared I'd sound like an idiot ordering at restaurants, so I just bought food from the grocery store and ate alone. I didn't make friends with other travelers. I walked until my feet felt like they were about to fall off, then walked some more because I wasn't sure how and where to relax. I probably would have had a better time if I'd just owned up to being the naive girl that everyone else saw.
I might be an accomplished professional just generally happy and confident out in the world alone, but the societal reflection is that I'm a girl who needs protecting. I was surprised how many people expressed their concern for my safety, as if every alley were clubhouses for rapists and murderers.
I know that travelers are surrounded by total strangers - however, at the back of my mind I know that most people have a lot of questions like "what extremely sad event or life shake up led her to take this solo trip?"
for me the answer is quite simple: Sometimes we need to be alone to test our limits and see how far we can go.
3 months ago, I embarked on my second solo trip. I went to Toledo (Cebu) for a couple of days and had a great time eating, I may have offended the street vendor by not knowing what "sesenta" means. I was not maimed or murdered, but I may have been pitied, who knows? It's hard to say.
I was having such a great time I didn't really notice. I wasn't bothered by it and will do it again in a heartbeat.
Wanting to test my limits and going out of my comfort zone is something that I have been wanting to do - but it was something that wasn't allowed at home.
Living here made me realize that there are a lot of things I missed out on, right now I'm catching up on a few good things in life including being the carefree traveler.
So I had to do it, and I did.