The University of Edinburgh had this lovely, delightful revision month - dedicated for students to catch up on all of their ghosted classes to pass the final exam. As a pass-or-fail exchange student, I immediately grasped this opportunity to plan my one and only travel during the past four months to visit Northern Ireland, Ireland and London. My brilliant Chinese passport would not let me go to anywhere in Europe without a Schengen visa, but my UK visa will let me go to Ireland, therefore the trip was born. I want to quickly credit two people that inspired this trip, Olif*** (if you've read my post 'Tune', he is the stoned No.2) and Abby. Without Olif*** peer-pressuring me to travel, be a rebel and being the Ultimate Irish Tourism Ambassador, I would not even think about this trip. Without Abby being the first female solo traveller I know in real life, I would not believe that girls travelling solo is a possible human deed (serial killers, prostitution...). Thank God for their existence.
So what have I learned from this solo trip? Three things.
I don't need a boyfriend! To have or not to have a bf is a true issue that I still think about on a daily basis. Being an emotional bird, I had been constantly annoyed by the thought of not having an adorable, accountable bf in my life (that loves me unconditionally and makes me feel like a true woman), until this trip happened. Solo travelling in a foreign country where the only connection to friends and family was a constantly dying, malfunctioning iPhone helped me come to realization that now was the time to embrace my indep
endence. When I used to travel with friends, I thought not being able to travel with friends or your loved ones is sad. When I was on an actual solo trip, looking at people traveling in groups and paying more attention to their travel mates than the exploration, the city and the views, made me not feel like that anymore at all. After all, my purpose of travelling is to witness, not to bond. I realized I shouldn't wait for someone perfect to show up, but to advance, see what I am capable of doing, and worry about that later (denial for possible intimidation? I can't stop for that).
Travelling is not for pleasure. It should not be purely heuristic - one should be constantly on the move, forcing herself out of bed, forcing herself into bed, carrying a backpack of her size, worrying about getting raped → choosing not to partay, freaking out about not catching the last bus, getting cheap food for days because one cannot miss the one-and-only chance of watching that opera / concert live, got out of the antisocial zone to get to know people (and be surprised that fellow travellers were delightful most of the time). It was serious work, and I was working for myself to take the most out of my trip.While travelling, I unveiled much potential in myself that my old self could not even comprehend! It was exhilarating.
Surprising myself. Sheryl Sandberg, the author of Lean In and COO of Facebook did not know she was capable of changing so many females'perspectives when she was in college concerned about dates. The pleasant journey has to start somewhere.Travelling exercised me to stay calm and composed when accommodation plan came to a 180 degrees turn and there was no one there to watch me be dramatic. And skills transfer! Who says one has to intern at Google to be calm, flexible and creative?
For the purpose of reiteration, I need to hit the road soon. I am writing all these posts about travelling mainly to remind and persuade myself that I need to fulfill this wild dream before settling in a career path. And this will come true.