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My first solo trip across the world

What set the grounds for my travels? How did I actually do it?

Everyone wants to travel. Everyone I've spoken to has told me the same thing. Be it people at work, people I meet at an event or online. Everyone claims to want to travel, but why? What does it do for you? What is it that makes you want to travel? You have your reasons and I want to hear them, but here's why I travel!

I want to share the story that started it all.

In January of 2018, I turned 21. I decided I wanted to do something for my birthday, but not the cliched 'turning 21' things like going to a bar or a club. I wanted to do something more my speed. I wanted to travel.

It was two weeks before my birthday and I was going through the list of countries I could go to without needing a visa. Having an Indian passport sucked hard because it didn't really mean much in most of the world. I couldn't go to Europe, Africa, Almost nowhere in South America and Almost nowhere in Asia. Having a US green card, I was allowed a few more countries. Mostly the Caribbean and Central/South America.

Scrolling through the list, at the very bottom I'd discovered a new addition- Taiwan. Taiwan had recently changed its laws to allow folks with an Indian passport to visit visa-free! I jumped on it immediately. I got on the website I needed to gain an electronic travel authorization and sure enough, it came within minutes. I looked up flights and listed myself for one a day before my birthday.

Excited, I told my parents and my mum thought I was kidding. Me? In Taiwan? All Alone? Helll no. I'd never traveled to a foreign country by myself before, anything could happen! what if I got in trouble? Fell sick? I didn't know anyone there!

However, soon she realized I was serious and I really wanted to go. Knowing the free spirit in me, she told me to be careful and said to go for it.

My solo trip to Taiwan was planned two weeks in advance. When I told my parents, my mum thought I was joking.

Two weeks later, I landed in Taiwan.

I was a 20 year old with just my one backpack and nothing more. I no idea what to expect as I walked outside. I was suddenly surrounded by people speaking and announcements in mandarin. Mandarin scripture was spread out as far as I could see and oh boyy it's something!

As I stood there and gawked at the foreign world I had just stepped into, I had a brief second of pure PANIC. What the heck was I doing?! I was in a completely foreign land, all alone, I knew no one in this entire country. I'd never been in this position before and If I needed something, I had literally no one to run to!!

I later realized that that second of panic was the fear of leaving my comfort zone. The fear of leaving an environment I knew, behind. Leaving familiarity and walking into the complete unknown.

But within an instant, I was overwhelmed by excitement! Surrounded by the unknown, it was a new world for me to discover. New food, people, places, cultures, habits, routines, aaahhh everything! The energy hit me like a bolt of lightning. I felt alive, like I could take on the world- and win!

For the next 8 days, I explored not only a new land but a new concept- the concept of freedom. As a child, I'd been given a lot of freedom from my mother. However This was different. This was new.

Everyday, I woke up at 6:00 AM, unable to sleep any longer, too excited to see the new land I'd dropped myself into. I'd grab my backpack and head into the city- absolutely clueless as to what I was going to do or where I was headed, but knowing that no matter what- I'd have an incredible day.

Every morning on my way out, I'd stop by the 7/11 by the corner of the street and pick up a random drink that I couldn't understand.

(See my Album for a video of the selection!)

I'd pick up a small container of freshly cut fruits or freshly baked goods and head out.

If you've never been to East Asian countries, their 7/11 is nothing like it is in America. They truly have everything there! You can pay your bills, some do your laundry, some have full-fledged restaurants in them. They all have fresh fruits and fresh goods packaged every day and made available for sale the same day. People actually plan to meet at 7/11's to hang out or do group studies! Could you imagine that in the US? HA. Absolutely not!

I had an incredible time in Taiwan, it taught me more about myself. Once I felt that elevating feeling I'd been continuously experiencing for days, I knew I'd come across something big. I wanted a taste of the world now. I wanted to go everywhere! I wanted to feel a unique fire from every country I could visit. I finally understood what it felt like to travel!

When I landed back in the states, I felt that energy starting to fade. I was reminded of my daily routine, waking up to the same wall, doing the same thing day after day. Except something was different. Now I'd gotten a taste of the world beyond India and America. I knew that there was much much more out there that I couldn't even fathom.

The energy I got from Taiwan may have faded, but it could never die. I knew it was a matter of time until I got up and went somewhere new again. That determination to see the world has empowered me every day, and I use that to fuel my work so I can travel again.

Ever since Taiwan, whenever I touch down in a new country, the spark returns and ignites a fire of adventure and exploring the unknown.

There's nothing that's given me the rush of being in a completely foreign land on my own with no idea what to do or where to go. It's truly exhilarating.

So that's why I travel. I know how it makes me feel and I love it. Nothing comes close to making me feel the way I do when I'm in a new country.

Traveling is when I feel the most alive and it's what motivates me to do everything I can today so I can travel tomorrow.

I encourage you to find what lights your fire and make it happen! The only thing that can stop you is your comfort zone. When you step out of it, you'll see all the things it's been hiding from you.

Even if traveling is your thing but you haven't done it much or you'd like to do it more, you need to know it isn't expensive if you do it right.

If you need tips on how to travel cheap, throw your email in my form on the blog page of my website. I'll keep you updates with tips and my travels!

If you want some immediate advice on a trip you might be planning or just how to travel for cheap in general, send me a message on my contact page!

Also yes, I can almost definitely find you a cheaper flight than what you've found for yourself. So send me a message.

Only you can control what you do. So why not do something truly incredible?

Where there's a will, there's a way.

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