More than 7 years ago my dream of going to Taiwan to learn Chinese started to take form. While studying Translation and Interpretation at university, I had the chance to learn Chinese. I loved the language and its history and culture have always been fascinating for me. I also discovered Taiwan. I started to watch Taiwanese TV series and distinguish their accent. I read all the blogs and articles there were and slowly but surely I started planning.
7 years later, even though the plan had more side walks than high roads, I am in Taiwan. Proud of my self, thankful to life and happy.
But I do get these questions quite often, so I thought I’d just clear them all of them here.
But… all by yourself?
For starters, I think of myself as a rather introvert and empathic person. Large crowds stress me a lot. Being with someone 24/7 sets me in a bad mood. I need my alone time to recharge. This means that I have a high level of self knowledge and I know what I need and when I need it. I don’t hate having people around me, but I do need my alone time.
Also, it is my dream, it is very specific and it is very far away from Europe. It’s not that I don’t have friends who would like to come with me, but we each have our own lives. Some don’t have time, others don’t have money. If planning a dinner in a more than 10 people WhatsApp group chat living in the same city as these people is hard enough, I don’t even want to think about planning a trip. If you wait until all the starts and circumstances align, you’ll be your whole life waiting.
Isn’t it scary?
Society has programmed us a path since we’re very little and many times we just follow it without thinking twice. Most people live waiting for their day off and when it does come, they just lay in bed because they are tired of their 8 hour shifts. They don’t have time to enjoy a walk in the park or a day trip to a close by village. What I am scared of is to see myself bitter at the end of my life in a job that doesn’t fulfil me and surrounded by people as bitter as I am.
I think we all have a comfort zone. At the beginning it is scary to get out of there, of course. But the minute you get out, that comfort zone extends to wherever you are now. Once you do something, next time, you know what to expect and you do it with more confidence. I moved out of home since I was 18, I did my Erasmus in France at 20 and then moved to London at 22… So I guess that helped.
Don’t you get bored?
My favourite pastime are reading or writing or listening to music. I don’t need that many people for this. On the other hand, There is this stigma in society of people who are alone (being an activity or travelling), they are lonely. With me as company? Nah. I like the person I have become and I am quite the company: intelligent, fun and a good person… What else can you ask for? I have amazing friends and family who loves me and supports me. I also have incredible dreams that I want to fulfil, though.
Also, believe it or not, you meet more people when travelling on your own. The minute you have to ask for directions, or ask for food in a restaurant or ask for touristic places or activities… You have a choice: you starve or you talk to the waiter. If you don’t do it, no one will.
How do you do it? I just couldn’t…
You really don’t have to. I see life as a solo trip (accompanied at times). There are people who will be in your life always but others that go by. We can learn from everyone and they all can help us at certain times. But it is YOUR trip. A lot of times, “thanks” to social media, we see people with lives that, for us, look amazing. We then feel jealous because our life is not as glamorous. It happens to me with wedding pictures… and I don’t even want to get married!
I like to travel solo an I want to, but it doesn’t mean you have to. It doesn’t mean you are wrong. It just means that we are going to have a different path. And that is okay. If we all thought the same, just how boring would that be? (: