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As most of you know, this week has been a challenging one for me. When I said goodbye to my girlfriends in Bangkok I was hit by a paralyzing fear: suddenly I was traveling solo, with no safety net at the other end of the journey. Where was I going? How should I get there? Who was I going to fret to when I didn’t know what stop to get off at on the train? Who was I going to eat dinner with? Who was going to watch my bags while I went to the bathroom? As the panic started to rise in my gut I tried to calculate how I could change my flight and fly home right then and there. But then I bargained with myself. Just give it a week. Just make it through the day. Just put one foot in front of the other, again and again.

And as I boarded the train to Ayutthaya, I repeated one thing to myself over and over again, holding onto its sentiments and treating it as a mantra:

Mrs. Roosevelt may not have been thinking of travel when she said it, but this quote for me embodies what can make travel such a life changing experience. Every day on the road you are either given (or forced into) a situation where you can face your fears, challenge yourself, and grow.

Eleanor would be proud of me this week.

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24 Comments...
  • paul | walkflypinoy
    April 24 2012

    “Every day on the road you are either given (or forced into) a situation where you can face your fears, challenge yourself, and grow.” – Precisely why I love travel and being on the road so much. Everyday is different. The possibilities are limitless. And you get the chance to grow every single day. That to me is a good life.
    paul | walkflypinoy recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      April 24 2012

      You’re right Paul… it is the good life πŸ™‚ Glad this resonated with you.

  • Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)
    April 24 2012

    Not just Eleanor is proud of you! As I prepare for my own big trip, I’ve been grappling a lot with fear: fear of the unknown; fear of leaving behind a “sure thing”; fear of not knowing my place in the world; so I know just how hard it is to accept big life changes, even when you know there is a silver lining in there somewhere! I keep telling myself that if I never do the stuff that scares me, then I’m probably not leading a very interesting life. Somehow, that gives me the courage to keep moving forward.

    Just remember that it’s ok to feel overwhelmed and scared, you just can’t let that define you! Even though it may not feel like it, you’ve already accomplished so much since leaving Koh Tao. All your readers are rooting for you!
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      April 24 2012

      I thank you deeply for this sweet supportive comment. I like what you said about not letting fear define me…

  • Gaby
    April 24 2012

    Yes! Go you!

  • Steffi
    April 24 2012

    Each finished day will be a testimony to how you had nothing to be afraid of in the first place. Though for selfish reasons I want you to jump on that plane straight to NYC for warm embraces, I know that when you’re finally back it will be on your own confident terms!

    love from brooklyn
    -s

    • Meihoukai
      April 25 2012

      Miss you girl. Can’t wait to see you… whenever that may be…

  • Emma
    April 24 2012

    Yes we are rooting for you! Solo travel can be daunting at the best of times, but it can also be amazingly rewarding.
    Enjoy it, because one you’ll be able to look back and feel super proud of all you achieved =)

    • Meihoukai
      April 25 2012

      Thank you Emma πŸ™‚ I definitely can cede to the fact that when you are traveling alone EVERY little victory is a little bit sweeter. Just thinking… “That was all me!” It’s an empowering thought.

  • This is the SECOND time I’ve heard this quote today…I think the world is trying to tell me something. Time to do something scary tomorrow.
    John | Travel Rinse Repeat recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      April 25 2012

      Let me know what it is! It would be an interesting idea for a blog or a journal I think…. The Daily Fear, what it was, and how you faced it…

  • Kathryn
    April 25 2012

    Kathryn is proud of you, too….

  • Nicky O.
    April 25 2012

    You are my inspiration!

  • Dad
    April 25 2012

    You can do this!!! Love Dad

  • Bonnie Toth
    April 25 2012

    I’m proud of you… you can definitely do it, but do remember and keep it top of mind – you are a beautiful young girl, and no matter where you are in the world, there are dangers. So keep your eyes wide open, be wise and be safe.

    • Meihoukai
      April 26 2012

      My parents will be happy to read this comment πŸ™‚ Just kidding. I definitely take my personal safety seriously and am doubly aware of it now that I am the only one watching my own back.

  • Grandma Burr
    April 25 2012

    You’ve already done more in your life than I even dreamed of doing. I know you won’t stop now, but go home for a mind rest and enjoy your old friends and family. Thoughts are with you all the way. Love, Gram E

    • Meihoukai
      April 26 2012

      Wise words from a wise person… thank you for this comment Grandma. Hope that I can see you soon.

  • Gram
    April 25 2012

    Your Gram J is SUPER proud of you!!!!!!!!!
    Love ya!!

  • Margyle
    April 25 2012

    Ayutthaya is such a great place… I remember when I went there a few years ago… my guide was so shocked that we wanted to go there at our age because pretty much everyone else who goes to Bangkok just wants to go to the… shows… but I really had no desire to see that side of the country!

    Hope you have fun and hope all is well.
    Margyle recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      April 26 2012

      I really enjoyed Ayutthaya, can’t believe I hadn’t been sooner considering how close it is to Bangkok. It is surprising too to see how few travelers are there! But I suppose that makes it nicer for those that do go… definitely nice to avoid the Angkor Wat style crowds.