Best advice I could give.
Know what your home away from home is. Find a comfort or familiarity that you know you can seek out in a foreign place.
Personally I find comfort in a piccolo in a sunlit cafe, a glass of zinfandel in a cheese bar, listening to an album in which the lyrics somehow refer to my immediate moment or mood, all in which are accompanied with my pen and journal.
It does take a bit of discomfort to find your happy place abroad. And things can go from good to bad, or horrid to amazing very quickly.
The first place I travelled alone was San Francisco. I had actually been there before with my ex- boyfriend, but that relationship was terribly unhealthy and it tainted my time there. I had to go back solo, and make it my own.
My first night was incredible, I have a scribbled diary entry entertaining myself with the new best friend I had just made, the clubs and churches we ventured to, and my highly intoxicated state at unruly hours of the morning.
My second diary entry is much different. It’s dated on the 17th November 2013, two days after I had arrived.
“I’m not dead, I’m very much alive, is what I would like to start off with after debating with my mind, whether I died 24 hours ago.
Travelling by yourself is an emotional roller coaster. The extremities go from moments that you know will be some of the best times of your life, to being the loneliest, most scared and lost than you have ever been.
How do we know if we die, if we don’t know what it feels like to be dead, what if your mind continues showing you a movie of what your life would have been, and without realizing you’re gone, dead, and all of your loved ones are mourning.”
This was the result of a bit of hash, in a city I barely knew, with a backpacker I knew even less about.
Night three in the Green Tortoise Hostel and I was in my room streaming a cheesy television series that I found comfort in. Something that I instinctively did because it was a familiarity of home.
The following day I hovered in coffee stores, thrift shops, and later filled my journal in the corner of a wine and cheese bar.
I felt invincible in this moment, I could push my boundaries, and I knew where to come back to. Better yet I knew where to fuel. A coffee from the side streets of the Mission District or the Castro in the morning, and I was set.
I could then go back to worrying about young dumb stuff, like the boy that I should stop talking to. Or better yet the person that I was about to meet, that so beautifully made me question selfish lust.
San Francisco is my treasure, and that hostel is a home away from home.
Find a place, or a song, or a photo or a person that can pull you back to warmth. And you’ll find yourself in Chiang Mai, Thailand, telling your tuk tuk driver to immediately stop at the bungy jump, because fear is only excitement without breath!
Do not deny or ignore that you are scared, but instead, identify, accept and welcome the energy with a few deep breaths. Excite yourself with what the old you would have never done.
And with fear aside, I set of for Vancouver, with my final entry for San Fran.
“How good is it, to just be.”