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Traveling alone through SE Asia

Adventure

Travel guides and travel tips told in a first-hand perspective. 

Traveling alone through SE Asia

Stephanie Nielsen

In January of 2015, Christine embarked on a two-and-a-half month journey through Southeast Asia. As an avid traveler, backpacking was high on her list but there was always some obstacle; lack of money, lack of time, lack of people to travel with, etc. An all too common theme for us young women who have the itch for traveling. Christine finally decided it was time to take the chance and to travel alone. Below is her adventure through Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam, told in her beautiful and very honest words. 

"After several years of tossing around the concept, my insane envy of other travelers combined with the itch to experience the world pushed me to buy a ticket to Bali S-O-L-O. As I was about to board the plane, I felt both excited and anxious to escape my comfort zone to travel alone to the opposite side of the world for the first time. But guess what? It was the best decision I ever made.

"Brave" was the word I heard most often when I first told my friends and family that I would be traveling solo, but I didn't feel that way. "Brave" is a word that I associate with a firefighter that saves a mother and child before their roof collapses, a patient trying to live life to the fullest knowing they have a terminal illness or a cancer survivor. I was not "brave", but what I did feel was both strong and independent. I spent months arranging a time line for each destination and planning each tiny step - from attractions to accommodations - a plan that went out the window when I arrived in Hong Kong and missed my connection to Bali. At that moment, I realized that a spontaneous adventure was the only way to survive the crazy journey that I was getting into! This was not the type A, planned and controlled Christine that I knew from home and little did I know, I would soon develop a renewed perspective on life and living outside the box.

I volunteered at an incredible organization for animal welfare in marketing and communications (www.bawabali.com). I stayed in dorms of fifteen with some of the most interesting individuals that I have ever met. I ordered some of the most delicious dishes I have ever tasted from street corners. I woke up in the middle of the night to climb a volcano and got dropped off from busses in new destinations when everyone was still asleep without a hotel to stay at. I got filthy dirty cleaning elephants at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand. I became more adaptable, patient, street savvy, culturally aware, confident and had a lot more fun because I was able to do me the entire time. 

The moral of my story is - don't wait for the right time or the right place or the right people to travel with, save the money and just GO! Do it solo, if for no other reason other than because there are not many times in your life where you're able to be selfish. You'll meet incredible friends along the way, make crazy decisions and do things you never imagined was possible and have the time of your life.
I know I did."

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Travel Tips

BALI: 

  • Eat the food! The spices they use turn even the most simple dishes into something unreal. 
  • Climb Mt. Batur at sunrise
  • Soak in the incredible scenery and befriend the people. 

THAILAND:

  • Eat hot and creamy coconut soup, yellow curry, pad thai and mango sticky rice. 
  • Visit the endless street markets. Soak in the smells, sights and sounds. 
  • Visit the elephant sanctuaries. Give an elephant a bath.

PHILIPPINES:

  • Don't miss the beautiful beaches of Boracay
  • Try cliff jumping at Ariel's Point

VIETNAM:

  • See the mountains and rice fields of Sapa via motorbike
  • Stop by the quaint town of Hoi An, Vietnam and get anything you want tailor made to fit your body for around $20 a piece
  • Eat at the street food markets

To follow more of Christine's travels, see her on instagram @miss_cashley


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