In my many hours of reflection while transitioning from one place to the next, I fell into a habit of jotting down my thoughts onto a note on my phone with the hopes of developing blog posts around that. The first one I wrote down was “I’m still who I am no matter where I go.”
There’s the cliche that young adults who go off backpacking, especially in this corner of the world, are on a Keroucian adventure to “find themselves.” Surely by lounging on a beach in Asia, traipsing around centuries-old temples and ruins, and chatting with “the locals” (cringe… for some reason I hate that term), one is able to achieve a zen state of realization into Who They Are Meant to Be.
While I didn’t think I would stumble across some massive epiphany and realize my path or whatever, a part of me thought that by doing something so completely out of the ordinary for me I would subtly adjust to be that cool person. I’ve had countless people tell me how brave I am, how bold. Look at me, I am stepping out of my comfort zone by traveling alone in an exotic foreign location with nothing but a bag on my back, the sand beneath my toes, and the wind in my face. It’s the whole concept of fake it until you make it. Surely if I pretend that I am brave and adventurous, I will become brave and adventurous!
…Not so fast. Turns out lame K10 is still lame, even when I’m slurping down noodles and sucking back a fruit smoothie in steamy Bangkok. I still hate making small talk, not having a plan makes me really uncomfortable, and my insecurities and worries about my life, my relationships, and my future stubbornly refuse to leave me.
I wish I had a snappy way to conclude this, like, “But then as I sat at my computer watching the waves lap in front of me under a bright sun, I realized that against all odds I had traveled halfway across the world and navigated uncertainties by myself to somehow end up in paradise. Maybe I’m more brave than I thought.” But that seems really lame and completely untrue. So all I really have to say is… what I’m doing isn’t brave, and I certainly am not brave for doing it. But maybe, just maybe, I can learn to revel in the discomfort.