Before I moved to Thailand four years ago, I couldn’t have told you specifically where it was on a map. I knew it was in Asia, but that’s about it. When I finally found it, nestled neatly between Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, the first thing out of my mouth was, “I’ll be close to Bali!”
Bali was the only place I’d really heard much about, other than China to the north, which didn’t interest me at the time. Bali was idyllic, the prime beach getaway, the destination of choice, for many. In truth, it was the only place in Southeast Asia I’d ever heard of people going to.
People in my circles didn’t travel to Asia. We learn little to nothing about it in the U.S. public school system, other than that we should fear China taking over the world, and perhaps a tidbit about the Vietnam war. I don’t remember the Khmer Rouge genocide, or the Burmese border conflicts ever begin mentioned in history class. But I had heard of the white sand beaches. And thus, I wanted to go.
Yet I never did.
Turns out, Asia is a big place (who knew?). Even though it’s a cheap flight from any number of Thailand’s airports, I had too much to see close to home. I left Asia nearly two years later still feeling like I had barely touched the surface of all the places I wanted to see and things I wanted to do… in Southeast Asia alone. There are many countries I never made it to: Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, the Philippines, and, of course, Indonesia.
I still want to see all of these places, and so many more, though I’ve since heard mixed reviews about Bali. Some say it’s overcrowded and too touristy; not an accurate depiction of Indonesia. Others say it’s the most beautiful place they’ve ever been. I plan to find out for myself one day, but my point is that now the people in my circles have unique, detailed, informative descriptions and opinions on all things Asia, and the rest of the world. I now connect with veteran travelers, current travelers and soon-to-be travelers almost daily. I can pose a Facebook question about a little known place in the world and get numerous replies instantly. I literally get paid to talk about my experiences and help others travel the world.
Little did I know how much that first big leap to board a plane bound for halfway across the world — to a big scary place called Asia — would change the trajectory of my life. But it launched a writing career and a business; it changed my perspective; it expanded my world; and it showed me how strong I could be in the face of fear.
So I didn’t make it to Bali (yet), because sometimes we wish for one thing, but what we get is a whole lot more.
Where has travel taken you?
Travel Can Take You Places You Never Thought Possible