A few months earlier I made my decision to travel to Taiwan. I can say that up to 80% of my friends might have been to Taiwan before me and I can easily get a list of must-eat and must-go in Taiwan from my friends. Frankly speaking, Taiwan is never my intended travel destination or my to-go place or my bucket list before I died or get old. Originally, I wanted to travel across South East Asia, but I scrapped my plan because I simply don’t have enough time to plan on the details schedule at that moment. So I picked Taiwan as a back-up plan. I just need to get away, what place it doesn’t matter.
I don’t think I need to go on the details about how’s Taiwan because I bet you’ve been there. But for me, it is my first solo trip, round the island of Taiwan for 23 days. I was both ecstatic and nervous at first because I told my parents I was going with my friend. *which is partly true, it just that she will going to Taiwan later than me and leaving earlier. But most of the time, I will be alone. And I picked Taiwan as virgin solo trip as Taiwan is one of the safest places in this world, and knowing the language is definitely plus. So I booked my tickets, hostels, packed my backpacks, and bought an e-copy of Lonely Planet Taiwan (don’t bother buying, I think it’s badly written) and insurance. No detailed schedules. Just fixed cities that I planned to go and I just make sure I have a proper place to stay (because I have to report to my dad).
I was worried at first, because for obvious reason I never done this before and I could be awkward when meeting new peoples, and I was terrified and cold turkey on the day before I went to Taiwan. But after this trip, I really want to encourage people at least try to backpack, alone.
If you ask me whether I have learnt anything from my trip, I would say yes I did.
I learnt that sometimes strangers can have more similar thinking and ideas with you than your friends back home. I have met a couple of strangers, reminded me of someone I used to know, and made me miss them. I also met many friendly strangers that I would love to befriend with but (sorry to say) there are some fault in our stars, we just happened to meet briefly and off we go; I guess that’s how life is.
I learnt more about myself. I learnt that I don’t like museum as much as I thought and I dislike crowd place but I like old temples, although I am not religious or anything, I find them calming and soothing. I learnt that sometimes I could be stubborn and do what I want. I learnt to take care of myself and I can be discipline with my life, wake up early and sleep early (it just a matter of whether I want to do it or not). I learnt that a cup of good coffee can makes me smile. * that is the coffee magic working * I learnt that, sometimes it doesn’t matter if I miss out a tourist spot due to whatever reasons. I just need to go with the flow and everything will be fine, enjoying the present moment; letting ‘fate’/flow to bring me to places. Obsessing just makes everything difficult. Sometimes just let it be. I learnt to appreciate life’s little joy like dry laundry and sunlight. I learnt to accept the fact that I can never be fair (skin) must well embrace my dark skin (well, I know Caucasians are dying to have my constantly tanned skin), I enjoy the sunlight a little more and feel better about myself.
For me, the allure of being a lone traveler is that I can visit all the cafe and try all the best coffee in town (or in the world) and no one will be there to judge me or count how many cups of joe I have taken in a day. *I’m still working on finding someone who loves coffee cupping and share the same love for coffee*
Nonetheless, traveling alone comes with the other side of the coin too. Traveling alone means no one else experienced what I had experienced. No matter how much I tried to describe them or explain, it seems to be redundant and even stupid. Or maybe I’m not a very good story teller and I couldn’t encapsulate my experience through words. It just not the same and no one understand.
A friend that I met advised me that, it’s okay that sometimes things get out of hands. After all, we couldn’t remember exactly what happened and what I did today in one year time but we will remember how it (or someone) makes us feel like. I agreed with what she said. Although my trip in Taiwan was just a day ago, I couldn’t remember all of the things that happened in my near 3 weeks of traveling. They just slip away faster than I thought. But overall, Taiwan is a welcoming place to me. Some said that Taiwan is a food heaven and I will politely refute that (because I think Malaysia is better Xd). Taiwan is a place filled with some of the kindest people that I have ever met, makes my heart melts a little. And that is all I need to remember about Taiwan.