Between painting and attending music festivals with her friends, Delaney spends her time practicing alternative medicine in Boise, ID. She has a pet rabbit named Willo and is somewhat of a beer connoisseur. She is on the journey of pursuing her passion in writing, traveling, and helping people along the way.
Deciding to take time off school and travel to Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos was one of the best things I could’ve done for myself. I was nineteen years old, had just broken up with my boyfriend, and was starting to realize that school wasn’t the only option I had. Most students come out of high school with a predestined plan of going to college. I took the road less traveled and went on an adventure!
Opening yourself up to the unfamiliar in life will move you in a direction that will help you find out what you want and don’t want. I realized I wanted to travel, and saved money for an entire summer to make it happen. I had planned on going with a friend, but she dropped out last minute. That didn’t stop me. I had met someone earlier that year who mentioned he was going to Thailand around the same time as I was planning to. I reached out and he welcomed me to travel with him.
When you welcome the unexpected, you’re not falling into something bad; you are opening doors for opportunities and experiences.
Here’s 6 ways to welcome the unknown while traveling:
1) Don’t rely on anyone but yourself
I quickly learned that only I can be there for myself. Everyone goes through changes and quick turns that don’t always include other people. When traveling, remember that everyone is on their own unique road in life, so have comfort knowing that you always have yourself! Don’t let someone else’s choices control what you do. When I was traveling, I lacked having a voice in situations I should have had one, which led to frustration. If you want to do something that no one else does, go by yourself or meet someone who has your same interests. I found that making friends was easier while traveling than connecting with people in my day to day interactions. Don’t ever loose your sense of wonder because you’re overcrowded with other people’s thoughts.
2) Get your plane ticket early!
Buying your plane ticket early is the financially smart thing to do. Generally, the later you buy a ticket, the more expensive it will be. I learned this the hard way, and my ticket ended up costing me way more than it should have. In order to avoid this, I recommend buying a round trip ticket, even if you know there is a good chance that you won’t come back on that specific date. With most airlines, you can change your return date for a few hundred dollars, which might be cheaper than buying two single-way tickets.
After buying plane tickets, be sure to research where you’re landing. I arrived in Bangkok and for some reason it took the most time and energy when I was searching for a place to stay (probably because I was on a plane for 18 hours). I recommend searching for hotels/hostels near the airport you’re landing in, as this will be an easy way to cut down on stress. It’s amazing how little money you pay to stay in quirky and nice hostels/hotels. After you travel more, accommodation finding seems to become second nature and you can have a great adventure when looking for your next place to stay.
Photo Courtesy of: Hipmunk
3) Bring your own vitamins/supplements
I got sick a few days after landing in Bangkok with a cold. It was pretty frustrating considering there was so much to see once I got to Ko Pha Ngan and I couldn’t breathe to save my life. I thought I was prepared with the right vitamins and digestive aids, but there were a few things I forgot. Since eating in different countries can be a challenge for your body to adjust to at first, bringing supplements is the best way to stay healthy while traveling. This is a great idea since as many 40-60% of travelers deal with digestion issues while traveling. There are pharmacies in most countries, but sometimes it’s hard to find what you want, especially when the person helping you doesn’t speak your language.
I recommend bringing:
- Grape seed extract (kills micro-organisms such as E. Coli).
- Probiotics (helps to protect against bacteria and parasites with healthy bacteria).
- Oregano Oil (contains omega 3’s, fiber, and is a potent antimicrobial which protects against viruses, fungi, and parasites). If you feel a cold coming on, take this right away.
- Melatonin (helps regulate the sleep/wake cycle and makes the effects of jet lag less).
If worse comes to worse, like my experience in Pai, where I wasn’t getting any better for a week, go to a pharmacy and explain your illness. I was given dehydration pills and some sort of mystery pill with no label (I’m 99.9% sure it was an antibiotic). The next day I felt almost 100% better. Antibiotics kill not only bad gut bacteria, but good, so this should be your last resort. If you do decide you need antibiotics, take probiotics to counterbalance the two.
4) Expand your taste buds
If you want to be daring, trying new foods is a great way to push your comfort zone and experience something completely new. Order something you’re unsure of. You might hate it or you might truly love it! I stuck with Pad Thai for the beginning of my trip and realized there were so many other amazing options. I tried Chicken Khao Soi in Pai and it’s now my favorite meal. I chose to order it because I had no idea what it was and that’s what makes it an experience. Street vendors have the cheapest and what I thought to be the best food. I could get a plate of Pad Thai for 50 cents! Going to street markets will help you find some of the most unique and wide array of food.
5) Capture your memories!
I decided to bring a journal and camera while traveling and that was one the best decisions I made. I was able to write down my thoughts and stories and it’s the only way besides my memory that I can go back in time to cherish those memories. If you don’t like writing, a camera is another great option, however, be careful not to spend so much time looking through the lens that you miss seeing what’s around you.
6) Say “yes”
When contemplating saying yes or no an adventure, just say yes! What’s the worst that could happen? Saying “yes” is the start of something new, and whatever it leads you to will be good for your soul and growth as a person. My biggest regret when traveling was the fact that I didn’t embrace the opportunities that were right in front of me. I missed out on some great times that I wish I could have been a part of because I said no. Part of the reason we choose to not do certain things is because we’re scared of something. Saying “yes” helps you overcome fear and insecurity. You can be lead to experience unpredictable joys that you may have not known were possible.
When you embrace the unknown, random areas of life open up and soon become reality. By consciously shifting your perception of something, the opportunities are endless and the doors open to reveal what you truly desire. Traveling is one of the greatest freedoms you have so trust your intuition and welcome the adventure! If you go against the unknown, you are closing yourself off from a field of infinite possibilities. Most of the things you worry about never end up happening, therefore, welcome the perhappiness.