Second anniversary of my round-the-world trip

Even though it has been almost a year since I wrapped up my round-the-world trip and settled down in Taiwan, I will recall Monday, July 18, 2016, when I started my long, solo journey across the globe with gratefulness and fondness. In honor of my trip’s second anniversary, I wanted to reflect on how life has been since I took that first momentous step.

In the past two years, I’ve met plenty of people who have reacted with horror towards solo female travel and Couchsurfing. “Weren’t you afraid of what might happen to you? Didn’t you worry about what you’d do if you got sick?” I think people underestimate the kindness of others, as well as the intelligence and resiliency all of us already (or can) possess to roll with the punches. If I had allowed fear and anxiety to paralyze me, I would never have stepped out of my comfort zone and into a situation where I’d be fending for myself for more than 400 days, most of which were spent in unfamiliar places. You have probably heard it all before: we can only grow when we put ourselves in uncomfortable situations.

Words to live by Photo by Owen Kemp on Unsplash

But what’s the motivation to grow? Why not be content with staying in the same place, forever in a comfortable spot?

Because it’s impossible for your external circumstances to remain static despite how much you would like for them to. Because you are perpetually evolving whether you notice it or not. Because life is so much more interesting and meaningful if you welcome change as an opportunity rather than as a burden.

I’m not telling you that it’s easy or painless to effect change, but it’s okay to feel discomfort. Really. The feeling is not permanent, and you will push through it.

What kind of change have you been working on recently?

Since the first day of 2018, I’ve tried my hand in various areas:

  • Jogging: January–present
  • Meditation: January–present, including a 10-day retreat in late May
  • EMDR therapy: January–present
  • Traditional Japanese dance class: January–February
  • Urban farming class: March–July
  • Ukulele class & private lessons: March–present
  • Eating ovo-lacto-vegetarian: May–present

Starting September, I’ll move to Taichung to start on a master’s program in smart city development. Fall 2018 is the first time Feng Chia University will offer this program, and I look forward to meeting my seven trailblazing colleagues from Ghana, Haiti, Hungary, Mongolia, Vietnam, and the USA.

How did you celebrate your RTW trip anniversary this year?

I renewed my Couchsurfing membership, this time for life. I am glad to be a member of its global community and thankful for all the amazing people I’ve been able to meet through its platform.

I also carved up a disproportionate but very sweet pineapple.

Tiny top, big bottom So much sweet goodness

Written on July 18, 2018