It was 9:30 pm on a Friday when I arrived at LAX–a seemingly busy time for most travelers as hundreds of vehicles sat bumper-to-bumper along Sepulveda.I was embarking on a function trip to Chengdu, China, the capital city of the Sichuan province. And it was at that moment, when I pulled up to the Tom Bradley International Terminal, that I realized I was hitting my 31st nation and I hadn’t even talked about the profound moment I hit 30 nations prior to 30 years old! So let’s turn back the clock for a speedy sec.
Is the topic of this post braggy? Privileged? Snooty? Possibly. But is it momentous? One thing to be proud of? Extremely substantially so.
Mainly because if you had asked me at 19–nevertheless a young, fresh-faced, not-so-innocent college student–I would have told you that hitting 30 nations prior to turning 30 wasn’t not possible per sé…
I just in no way believed I could ever do a thing like that. This dream was an individual else’s dream and so far out of my attain.
You see, at the time, I didn’t have the greatest self-esteem.
A shocking assumption, I’m confident. My college mates could disagree that I, the drunk and outgoing social butterfly at the celebration, had low self-esteem. But it appears like my self-esteem quota would max out at parties on the weekends and flirting with boys. When it came to self-like or believing in myself, I was tapped outta that very good ol’ self esteem and self-self-confidence mojo.
But two years later, every thing changed. I accepted my simple, college-girl rite of passage and studied abroad in Europe. Hell no it wasn’t in Barcelona or Munich. Rather, I bundled up in several layers and headed north to Uppsala, Sweden to reside amongst the beautiful, statuesque Swedish people today.
Mates of the family members and classmates would say, “You’re going there all by your self?” I guess I need to have realized then that this was sort of a large deal. I just shrugged my shoulders and mentioned, “Yeah, doesn’t everyone who research abroad?” The naiveté was cute. I guess it’s not that “typical” to travel about the globe by your self.
So, in August of 2010, I hopped on a one particular-way flight to Stockholm, Sweden and holy forking shirt balls, did my life adjust.
Certain, I had performed what a lot of 20-somethings had embarked on prior to me, all of whom also felt their lives had changed forever. But a thing clicked in me that year. Studying a foreign bus route in Swedish requires time and patience, man. Studying how to spend rent, obtain the medical professional’s workplace, and handle your healthcare in a quasi-socialist setting is difficult. And I can’t inform you how a lot of occasions I had to fend for myself whilst traveling to various nations with mates. Like the time my wallet was stolen in London or the time I went to the murder capital of the globe in Honduras or when two French boys followed and harassed me in Paris.
But in the finish, I was constantly okay. I constantly located a way to take care of myself. I was robust and independent.
That year, I knew travel was going to be my life, someway, somehow. Hobby or job, my globe would revolve about, properly, the globe. Travel gave me a sense of independence and self-reliance I had in no way identified at property. What ever life threw at me, I knew I was intelligent and capable sufficient to take care of it. Devoid of travel, I don’t know that I’d have that self-confidence currently.
Quick forward eight years and I’m presently typing away at the Shanghai Pudong Airport. About to embark on my 31st nation about the globe for “function”.
The nation that permitted me to ‘hit 30’ was Cuba and boy, was I obsessed with that nation! Nevertheless, I didn’t make a large deal about this great achievement.
Probably I ignored this milestone for the reason that of the game of comparison on Instagram. I’ve talked about this bullshit phenomenon prior to. Comparing your self to an additional’s journey will crush your spirit and consume your soul alive if you let it. And I guess I kinda did. (DAMN INSTAGRAM, WHY YOU SO INSIDIOUS?!) Mainly because the 30 mark came and went and all I could feel was, “properly, it’s not 50.”
But I like retelling this story. It forces me to sit down and remind myself just how far I’ve come (actually). From the girl who had barely left her personal suburb in Southern California to a travel blogger with a passport complete of stamps in significantly less than 10 years! From the girl who couldn’t think she could do something on her own–without the assist of her parents, a boss, a boyfriend, a teacher, whatever–to wandering about the streets of Budapest or Chengdu, by herself.
Forgive me, won’t you, for providing myself the most significant fuckin’ pat on the back.
So yeah, I suppose I’m carrying out a not-so-humble brag atm. But it’s been so uncomplicated for me to not really feel achieved. To neglect how wonderful this journey seriously is. I’ve forgotten how to be proud of myself.
But for now, I’m saying it loud and saying it proud for the reason that what I’ve achieved is wonderful. If not to the globe, it absolutely is to lil’ ol’ me.
The post Hitting 30 Nations Just before 30 (Bring about Dammit, I’m Proud) appeared initial on The Clumsy Traveler.