10 Things I learned while traveling the world:
The world is such a vast, fascinating, rich, and luscious place. We often find ourselves bound by the restraints that we build for ourselves, preventing us from ever really getting to experience it. I broke those restraints, if not permanently, just for a little while. The lessons I learned from traveling the world will stay with me forever. If you chose to take the path less travel, I promise that, you too, will learn more about yourself, humanity, and the beauty of the world we live in. The experience is invaluable. Below I have listed just a few of the things that I have taken from the world and elaborated on them to the best of my ability.
Children walking to school in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
It's okay to talk to strangers. As children, we are raised and taught not to talk to strangers. As an adult, I sincerely encourage speaking with strangers. Backpacking alone leaves you in no position to be selective in who you choose to converse with. I now have friends from all over the world. I can honestly say, I have gotten into the car with strangers, I have shared rooms and taxis, and minimal bus space with strangers. Strangers often tend to have the most interesting stories and perspectives. It's amazing to think how many people we walk past on a daily basis without giving it a second thought. Strangers become friends, who become people who change your life.
The United States, Italy, Canada, Germany: I met these two guys on a boat en route to Railay, when they asked me to take a trip to Au Nang with them, I said.. WHY NOT. We met Greta in a hostel- we were both checking in separately and decided to get a room together. Her and I ended up traveling together for about a week. Robbie, the Canadian, and I, ended up meeting again later in Koh Tao, Thailand. Lucas is the most laid back 19-year-old free spirit. They were all once strangers, now they are friends.
And to SMILE at them.(not much explanatin is required here) Smiling at strangers, strangers smiling at you... it just makes the world seem a much better place. I NEVER saw more smiling faces than I did in Thailand. A smile- a simple and under appreciated act.
My English friend James making friends with an agguma in Korea.
Just look at that unmistakeable smile. How contagious.
A home on the outskirts of Siem Reap, Cambodia.Music is a universal language. It brings people together. In Korea, I spent countless nights in Hongdae Park listening to young starving artists jam- all the while bringing crowds of people together in appreciation. I've spent a week with a band from San Francisco that was touring Korea. I've crossed the ocean on a boat with a boy and a guitar. I've sat on the beach in Tonsai, jamming to Bob Marley with the Thai locals. I've exchanged music with people from all over the world. Sometimes music speaks for us and between us.
This is my friend, Robbie, from Canada. He's a super talented musician.
Here, he is playing at an Irish Pub in Au Nang on St. Patrick's Day.
This is my friend Thurbo, from Germany. We met in Chiang Mai,
Thailand. A specific song, I would say, brought us closer together We
still send each other videos of ourselves jamming to the song,
between Germany and The United States.
Get lost. Only when we are lost do we begin to find ourselves. A cliche? Perhaps... but it sure is true. I used to be the girl who needed to know when, where, what time, and with who. I was such a creature of habit, I was fearful of the unfamiliar. I completely let that part of me fade away during this past year. I can remember the exact moment, where I was, what I was doing, and the way the sun was shining when I realized that I had found myself. I was in Busan, South Korea and I had decided to leave my friends behind and attempt to find a way back to Seoul on my own. Something that was a bit out of my character... but on that day, I found it to be somewhat empowering. Once I had found the bus station, purchased a ticket, and realized that I was ALONE in an unfamiliar place, with no agenda, satisfaction washed over me. In that moment, I believe that I came into my own a little bit more. After that it just continued. I thoroughly enjoyed hopping on the subway and getting off at random stops, places I'd never explored, just to get lost for an afternoon. Those were the times that I often found the most satisfying things. I later decided on a backpacking trip... a journey in which I took completely alone, just me and my backpack, no agenda. I got lost, sure... and with that experience, I feel like I became a Rachel that I am incredibly proud of.
Bangkok, Thailand- where I spent a lot of time wandering
and getting lost.
Fate is imaginary, but man, is it real. It's not something you can see, but rather something that presents itself to you within a moment. Sometimes, it seems that you are just in the right place at the right time. Things reach you. People find you.
(well- you can't see it.)
Be fearless. Try anything and everything. Don't say no to things. The more you do, the more empowered you will feel. Bungee jump. Play with snakes. Lay with tigers. Bathe with an elephant in a stream. Eat something absolutely insane. Actually, eat everything that seems absolutely insane: SO. MUCH. FUN. Climb mountains. Don't let anything hold you back.
Yellow Python- Floating Markets, Thailand
Doi Suthep- Chaing Mai, Thailand
Home is where the heart is. If you find that you heart is in two places at once, then perhaps your heart has two homes. That's ok.
Seoul, South Korea- A year of my life: my second home.
“The bridge will only take you halfway there, to those mysterious lands you long to see. Through gypsy camps and swirling Arab fair, and moonlit woods where unicorns run free. So come and walk awhile with me and share the twisting trails and wondrous worlds I've known. But this bridge will only take you halfway there. The last few steps you have to take alone.” Shel Silverstein