It's probably normal for a lot of people to travel on their own once in a while, but for me, it was a huge undertaking that kind of required me to prepare myself. So, when I finally took the plunge, it felt like I was doing something wild -- at least, travel-wise!
I’ve been travelling a lot with friends (as you probably can tell), but I never dared to wander off on my own, even for a weekend trip somewhere near Manila. It didn’t cross my mind before to try solo travel, most likely because travel culture in the Philippines is mostly about enjoying the sights and experiences with family, lovers, and friends.
By mid-2013, I began making plans and doing research for my birthday trip this year. The choices fell between Boracay here in the Philippines, Vietnam, and Bangkok in Thailand. I eventually decided to do a week-long Bangkok + Penang trip. Later, I wondered, “who would go with me on this trip?”
A couple of months passed and it soon became clear to me that I may eventually need to go solo since the people I asked to go with me most likely couldn’t make it. The shy, not so street-smart part of me began to panic, but a curious voice inside me also said, “Well, why not?”
Of course, itching for an adventure, I pushed my shy, inexperienced self aside and listened to the seemingly brave spirit that stirred in me. Before 2013 ended, I made sure that my flights and hostels were booked, and a basic yet flexible travel itinerary was ready. Come the early days of 2014, I was so ready to go.
The original plan did not push through, though. The protest situation in Bangkok made me decide to just spend the entire week in Penang. I may have had a wild idea to try solo travel in a foreign country, but I was still not bold enough to go somewhere where tension was brewing.
Looking back at that blissful, unforgettable week (which I still find myself daydreaming about every now and then), I have to say I wouldn’t have that trip any other way. I discovered so much about myself; it was indeed empowering, as many experienced travelers have said. It also made me fall for Penang’s charms the second time around.
Listening to those seemingly wild ideas sometimes leads to amazing things, don’t you think?
Check out my albums Penang, We Meet Again, Penang Birthday Trip (for Indisposable Concept), Caffeinated Haunts: Purrfect Cat Cafe in Penang, Malaysia, and Camera Museum in Penang, Malaysia to see all my photos from this trip!