I am dedicating this blog to all the ladies and men who are basically never been out of their homes most of their life. I can say that because I am, too. Traveling is messy, yes but it’s fun. Meeting colorful personalities and eating strange items that have fascinated and repulsed you is amazingly rejuvenating. Going somewhere without a map, asking local residents for help is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture.
This all began with a simple trip to Hong Kong with my aunt. China is beautiful, but being surrounded by people speaking a foreign language was daunting. We were afraid to leave the hotel. What if we took a wrong turn or followed directions incorrectly! I envisioned wandering China into the night having no idea how to get back. When I ventured out, my worst fears came true. After receiving detailed directions from my aunt’s friends we took off to see some of the sites. After taking a left instead of a right, we ended up in front of the wrong bus stop. Fortunately, I found that missing a bus and having to pantomime to a sweet couple who helped us connect with the next bus was terrifying, but a bit freeing. My fear of getting lost and been holding me back. Now I felt a lot more comfortable venturing out of our hotel.
This is not to say my relative and I didn’t experience the drawbacks of traveling. A brief experience with bedbugs. (I know…Yuck!) and ordering food off a menu I couldn’t read, did dampen my spirits a bit, but the weird looking seafood turned out to be edible and the bedbug bites healed. There were quite a few times when we got lost, looking for the same subway station over and over or that shopping market that was supposedly just two blocks away.
You simply cannot be shy. Lost? Simply ask for directions. Hungry and feeling broke? Try that cheap food stall across the street. The idea is that you have step out of your comfort zone and enjoy the new experience.