My friends and I made our way giggling in a tuk tuk to the party. The night before we had danced on a moonlit beach, Leos in hand, swaying in time to the palm trees and chill electronic beats.
“Wow, you seem to be doing so well. If I was in your position, I would not be this okay right now,” one of my friends said to me, when I mentioned my abrupt breakup from two weeks ago.
I shrugged my shoulders, “I guess I just want to be happy. I don’t want to be sad over something that wasn’t meant to be.”
Solo Female Travel – it’s a term that has garnered backlash in the travel industry in recent years, one that people think is unnecessary and overused.
Everyone and their mom has become a “solo female traveler” with the rise of personal travel blogs. It’s old news, nothing special. Just as soon as the term became popular, there was an outcry for females to stop using it…mostly by fellow females.
Why should we have to label ourselves as solo female travelers, when guys just say they’re travelers? By putting a label on it we’re just encouraging the sexism and division in how females and males are perceived around the world, is what some women argued.
Here it is. That dreaded post that eventually happens to most, if not all longterm travel bloggers. The post that says they’re finally ready to stay in one place.
When I say I’m settling, I don’t mean in the way that I’m settling for less than I deserve, but more that I’m settling for my sanity and productivity. I’m settling for me, and I’m okay with that.
I remember reading these types of posts from the bloggers I used to follow religiously, and I would always feel let down, like they were a sellout somehow. That they gave up on travel. But the truth is, this lifestyle that I’ve been living for the past 4+ years, it’s not sustainable, at least not for me.
The sun brought out the subtle green hues in the waves today.
I walked to the sea and floated in the warm reflections. They reminded me of the color of your deep set eyes, the specks of marine blues and greens and how they always had a crinkle, like the lip of a curling wave.
Do you remember that night? The tiny red plastic chairs, the uncontrollable laughter, a serene cloudless sky with the smell of sizzling fried chicken at our side.
It was electric.
It’s my 27th birthday in two days!
To celebrate I’m heading down to Si Phan Don in Laos, also known as the 4,000 Islands. As many of you know, I spend every birthday of my 20s in a different city. My 21st was in San Diego, my 22nd in Las Vegas, my 23rd in Melbourne, my 24th in Wellington, my 25th in Veneta, my 26th in Chicago, and now my 27th will be in Si Phan Don!
I also wanted to celebrate by sharing 27 things I’ve learned from almost three decades on this planet. I mean, you get wiser with age, right? Well, let’s hope so!
My 20s thus far have been all about that learning curve of life. When I look back on who I was in my early 20s, circa 2011, it almost feels like another person. Then again, to my core, I’m still me.
There’s nothing like an Asian night bus to make you think of your own mortality,
The stained curtains swing side to side in tune to the curves as we go around again.
I have The xx on repeat, thinking about all of life’s little defeats and how I got here.
The driver is going 80 on a hairpin turn, the wheels hugging the road just slightly so,
Will this be the last thing I see before I go?
It started raining at sunset tonight.
I looked up at the sky and it brought me back to that night. There were crashing waves and mojitos. The rain was coming down in buckets, we had to shout to hear each other over the noise.
If you were here, we would look up at the rain falling down on our faces and laugh at the perfect way in which it paralleled a 90s romantic comedy.
We would pause as we took our eyes away from the oncoming storm to notice the graceful way the falling sun framed our faces, our glances lingering a second too long.
And you learn
To build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is
Too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way
Of falling down in mid flight
After a while you learn
That even sunshine burns if you get too much
So you plant your own garden
And decorate your own soul
Instead of waiting
For someone to bring you flowers
And you learn
That you really can endure
That you are really strong
And you really do have worth
And you learn and you learn
With every goodbye you learn.
-Veronica A. Shoffstall
So, today has finally come.
The day I’ve been dreading since I first started making memories, and realized just how much you meant to me. The day that I can no longer come for a visit over strong black coffee and talk for hours about nothing much except life.
February 15th, 2017.
I will remember this day until my day comes, the day you passed away.
It’s that time of the year again. 2016 is already coming to a close, and I’m preparing for a new 12 months of goals, travel, and life. When I look back on 2016, I see a year that was difficult, challenging, and a whole lot of fun too. I based myself in North America this year and had many wonderful adventures starting from the Pacific Northwest.
This was an epic year of travel for me. I traveled to more US states than I thought possible in a year, and, to my glee, I finally added Canada to my destinations. In fact, I visited Canada four separate times throughout the year. I just couldn’t get enough of the Great White North.