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What I Learned Traveling Solo for 2 Months

In 2019, I moved to South Korea to teach English. I promised myself that I would stay in Asia, traveling, blogging. and taking pictures so that I could one day be a contributing writer for Lonely Planet and start my own travel agency. As a wise person, Woody Allen I think, once said, "If you ever want to hear God laugh tell him your plans". COVID happened and while Korea was probably the best place for me to be at the time, I didn't get to do much traveling. So when teaching stopped being fun, I decided I would make up for it in one very long journey home. I traveled for 2 months by myself through Asia and Europe. It was a learning experience let me tell you!

Japan- 2 Weeks

Rest is Important

Leaving Korea was not an easy feat with the moving and the ridiculous process of throwing away trash and language barriers and postal rules. By the time I got to Osaka, I was exhausted. So much so that I even agreed to spend $125 on a cab just to avoid trying to find the right bus and hoist my heavy suitcase on a bus or drag it through the train station. When I let me friends and family know that I had made it safely to my destination and gone to 7-Eleven for dinner, a friend responded, "Take things at your own pace." I don't know why but it was like she was giving me permission to rest. I spent the entire day just sleeping and let me tell you...I regret nothing!

It's not just the pretty white girls that get stalked.

I had read and seen the warning on YouTube and TikTok to be leery and keep a watchful eye out for creepy guys that will stalk foreigners around Japan, particularly women. Granted all of the women who make these videos are 20-something, Junior Miss sized, unnaturally tanned, fans of Maybelline. Their concerns were not my concerns. So when I finally left my hotel room and went to have my first authentic Ramen I was shocked when I felt the disturbance in the force, alerting me of a guy following me. Me, pushing 40, although I don't look it, thank you ancestors, and lightyears away from Asian or European standards of beauty. But there he was, I walked he walked, I stopped, he stopped, I ducked around the corner and BOOM! Hello, it's you I'm looking for! So, ladies be careful and wary when exploring Japan by your self.

DisneySea...not worth the hype, unless you are an Instagram Model

It was imperative that I make a stop at Disney. I had budgeted for all of the Kingdom Hearts merchandise I would buy. I had dreamed of the fireworks display. I agonized for a month over my Disneybound outfits. Disneyland, great. Loved it even though it rained the ENTIRE day and I wasn't able to see the fireworks. The Cast Members were great, the rides were amazing! The ears were reasonably priced. It was awesome. DisneySea on the other hand...not worth the hype. I'll write again, comparing all of the Disney parks worldwide, since I have been to five out of six but the 45 minute long lines for popcorn and 200 minute long lines for rides...hard pass for me.

Bangkok- 1 week

Spice is not Spicy

Before moving to Korea, I tried to eat as much hot sauce as I could so that I would be ready for Korean spicy food, didn't work. Mexican spice and Korean spice are not the same. Adding Thai spice to that...even worse! Luckily though they do typically ask how spicy you want your food. That was a good thing.

Luxury is worth the price

I am a cheap traveler and considering how long I was going to be traveling I made some very price conscience decisions. My hotel in Bangkok was FAR fancier than I was expecting considering the price, but it was WELL worth it! It was beautiful! I had a view of the river, very well located, a convenience store on property, swimming pool, HUGE shower, 2 restaurants and a bar! It changed my whole view on luxury hotels.

India 1 Week

Know your boundaries

India taught me many lessons, most of which I was not quite ready to learn. First of all, India does not have traffic rules. If you see a space, drive in it. If someone is already in it, just beep your horn so they move out of your way. Riding through traffic was like a Clap-O-Meter gauging my anxiety. And that was just to get to the hotel from the airport. After a day of exploring Old Delhi on a pedal rickshaw my nerves were shot. SO the next day when I was led through throngs of people going to temple to celebrate Krishna, I was stressed out enough to speak up and let it be known that I wasn't comfortable to walk into the temple where no one spoke English, everyone was staring at me, and I didn't have any form of communication in case something happened while my guide waited for me outside.

Know your worth

I have already explained that luxury is totally worth the price. Budget hotels don't usually exude safety or offer the best aesthetics. The budget hotels that the tour I booked with set up for me were...fine. If you are trying to stay within a certain budget to make a package that is accessible for a large number of people. But considering that I was traveling alone, not so much. After the stressful day of Indian traffic and enthusiastic Holi celebrations, I checked into a hotel that was so sketch I canceled the the remaining hotels and booked my own. Again, luxury is worth it and so am I!

Rome- 3 Days

A Win is a Win

As I sat in an Italian restaurant, enjoying my Aperol Spritz and Cesar Salad (with fries), for the first time, the entire trip, I realized that I was not in Chicago anymore. Not in the culture shock kind of way. After visiting 5 countries this was the first time that I actually took a second to realize that I was sitting in a different country. I had worked my assets off and overcome a lot to be here and I was here!

Spain - 2 Weeks

No such thing as a once in a lifetime trip

On my last night in Madrid, I went to see a Flamenco performance. I was enjoying my Sangria and meat and cheese platter and thinking about all of the things I didn't do, not just during this trip but also the entire time that I was living in Korea and just in life in general. I decided then that none of these destinations had to be a once in a life time trip. I got here once, I could do it again. Afterall, I know a fabulous travel agent.

If you want to travel, DO IT! You don't have to wait for someone else to go with you. Save your money and go! If you need help planning, you know where to find me.

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Looks like you had a lot of interesting travels! I can’t wait for your comparisons of all the Disneys, especially since I’ve only been to one.

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