In order to find true happiness. You will have to do something you probably have never done before. The unknown is a scary thing because we fear what we don’t understand. However, this will usually lead to change deep within ourselves. True travelers are almost all too familiar with this and actually look forward to the challenges. It’s never as scary as we think it will be. You’ll be surprised what the unknown can teach and the doors that it can open.
My fist time truly experiencing this was in Malaysia. I went there to compete in a Ninja Warrior Competition called Sasuke ASEAN Open Cup. This was my first time to Southeast Asia and somewhat on my own. I had been on previous trips to New Zealand, Fiji, Japan, and Scotland. The difference then was I had been with a group of friends afraid to leave the security of them. Malaysia was a little different as I was meeting up with fellow American competitors, yet stayed by myself in a different part of the city. That was the first small step but important one as I became good friends with my neighbors…the Singapore team. A group of people who continue to be good friends till today. I still have the flag they gave me on my wall. I never thought I would leave Kuala Lumpur (KL) and booked a place for the entirety of the trip. It wasn’t until after the competition that I decided to go out on my own and head north to Penang. Next thing you know I’m getting dropped off at the bus station on my own for the very first time. I was scared and had no idea what I was doing. I look back now and laugh because of the things I have done between then and now. I will never forget the long bus ride and my experience in Penang. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen when I got there. Once I got in though I decided to find a place to stay and go explore. I went to the beaches and ate amazing food in hole in the wall restaurants. I heard the payers from the mosques and felt at peace. I then went to the Cameron Highlands where I became friends with a couple of girls from Canada. We ended up sharing a room and explored the highlands together. This was the first time that not only did I feel free but the confidence in me grew. It turns out that I really enjoy going by myself! I went back to KL somewhat changed. This freedom of true solo backpacking would become an addiction. The unknown is scary but what is worst is never knowing.