I'm no newbie to Asia, I've been twice before, having visited Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong throughout my travel adventures. However, I've never seen Asia with just myself and 7kg of clothes (and snacks) on my back. Yep, I decided to try out the solo backpacking journey and take vagabonding to the next level of intensity. I like to travel alone a lot of the time not because I don't like people. Innately, I'm a people person (as introverted as I sometimes can be, I'm also a bit of a chatterbox by nature), yet, there's nothing quite like checking out of your regular life and working through your own personal thoughts, issues, emotions, all that stuff that follows you in your day to day life and doesn't serve you, whilst visiting a foreign land on your own.
So I did it. It was a massive adventure. At times I wanted to scream in frustration, to gasp in shock, to get on the next plane home. Other times I thought I could keep on doing this for life. I laughed, I sung, I jumped and I climbed (quite literally as I'm about to get into). I broke through to a new level of myself which I had been subconsciously suppressing.
I think travel is amazing for that. People say you travel to see other parts of the world which are different to your own. I believe this is only the surface level stuff. On a deeper level, you travel to see YOUR world in a new light, the world you inhabit during the routine 9-5 of your regular life. No longer can you hide from distractions or get caught up in the moment. There's now time and a hell of a lot of space, to reflect and ultimately, to move forward.
Having recovered from anorexia nervosa, I found that I still had certain remnants of the illness that I carried with me on a very deep level. For example, I found that I was still emotionally attached to certain foods. I believe everyone is to an extent. This journey through Manila, the Philippines, and beyond, was a massive breakthrough in not feeling attached to having to eat a certain way, of labelling anything to be 'healthy' or 'unhealthy', 'safe' or 'dangerous'. I also learnt that I didn't need to put parameters on my own personality or lifestyle. I can do whatever I truly feels right, and go wherever my intuition takes me....
Which leads me to the MASSIVE mountaineering hike I did with a friend I met in Amsterdam, in the middle of the jungle in the Philippines, about 4 hours out of the capital of Manila. I saw some amazing things, I felt absolutely fizzled out at times, but I broke through a physical and emotional barrier which made two intense days of no sleep and a huge amount of walking, all worth it.
Relaxing is great. Staying in a five star hotel is magic. Yet sometimes breaking out of our comfort zone and taking on new challenges, can lead to greater growth as individuals. Make 2015 the year of self-growth and achieving those goals you've been talking about since you were in school. As Walt Disney said, if you believe it, you can achieve it. Start believing. Start doing.