We all love the idea of traveling. Taking a break from our daily routine, going off to some far off land and tasting exotic foods. As far back as I can remember, I was always enthralled with this notion of experiencing some island far off in the Pacific.
It would take many years, but my first international trip was to Singapore with a friend. This experience gave me that travel bug. There is something about hurling through the air in a tin can and finding yourself in a whole new world some hours later that is simply amazing. Coming from a small town, it was eye-opening to find myself being the minority, yet welcomed by the friendly locals met along the way. I highly recommend Singapore for anyone coming from the west looking to get a taste of Asia, it's Asia 101. The food is incredibly delicious and still very affordable when compared to the US. Singapore provides a great lesson in cleanliness and functional public transportation with the SMRT system being very easy to use, and once again very affordable.
Skip ahead a couple more years and I once again found myself headed toward Asia. This time was Tokyo and Bangkok, for my first solo trip. I must admit my experience was not typical to most international solo travelers as I had friends to meet up with in both destinations. The confidence gained from this journey reinforced my love of travel and since then I have made it a point to travel internationally at least every two years. I returned to Thailand for the second time just six months from that original visit then South Korea and Indonesia a couple of years later. The the years I have been unable to afford the international adventures, domestic exploration filled in. I have so far visited 29 of the 50 United States of America (and also lived in 6 states so far).
For me, travel is a lot more than just trying new food and seeing pretty sites. From every trip and new country visited, I have gained priceless knowledge, not only for the location and the people that reside there, but also about myself. My distaste for most material things has been strengthened as experiences are more valuable in my eyes. I no longer stress over trivial matters and have learned to take each day as a new opportunity to try something new, the calculated risks pay off with the best rewards. An open mind is the most important thing to take with you for every trip.
I would love to hear from you. Comment below about your favorite travel experiences or your top dream destination if time and money were not factors.