I’ve made it to the final weeks of living in Korea. What a year. I’d be lying if I said it went by fast. Yes, it’s crazy that it has been a year, but I would say it certainly has felt that long, if not longer. There have been countless lessons learned while living abroad, and I am definitely a better person for choosing this as my first full-time job after college. How about that? And now the moment I’ve been waiting for—backpacking Southeast Asia!

This highly-anticipated trip is something I’ve been imagining since I contemplated applying to teach English in Korea all those months ago. While I’ve traveled quite a bit since graduating, I have yet to embark on an extended solo backpacking trip. I heard how beautiful—and cheap—Southeast Asia was to travel, so I knew that was in my future. The excitement level is high, and now the pre-travel nerves have begun to set in.

The journey jitters are a familiar feeling. I got my first taste of them a few years ago prior to departing the States for Australia, where I studied for a semester. Then again in the summer of 2015 before going to Ecuador and California a year ago. Perhaps the feelings that accompanied me during my journey to Korea were the strongest since this time it was for an entire year. Here I am, preparing for my flight to Thailand and the uneasiness is kicking in. I’ve come to almost enjoy the anxiousness that surrounds a trip like this, because I know that I’ve pushing myself in a new direction, which is an accomplishment in itself. Even with that said, the idea of being on the road for three months is a daunting thought. Where will I stay? Who will I meet? How will seeing poverty affect me? Who will I become? All these questions are swirling around in my head.

Doubts are also there. When the devil on my shoulder frightens me with those thoughts, the angel pipes up with all the possibilities and positivity that will surely come from this trip.

You’re discovering unexplored parts of yourself. You’re bravely plunging into the unknown. You’ll meet people that will challenge you and change who you are. You’re fearlessly pursuing your dream.

God, I love when that angel chimes in.

As for the itinerary, it's off to Thailand for a month or so. After that is a mystery. Maybe Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia? At this point, the only thing booked is a one-way flight back to Boston from Barcelona on June 1st. I’ll be visiting my cousin who decided to move from New York to Spain (props to him). 

Japan> Thailand> Myanmar? > Vietnam?> Cambodia?> Spain> Boston

Is it strange knowing that I won't have a home for the next three months? Yes, it is, but it fills me with an excitement that I don't know that I've ever felt before. Backpacking is something that has been on my mind for years now, and it's exactly what I envisioned when I began applying to teach English in Korea. 

Is this the biggest step in my life? Aside from the decision to teach in Korea, which led to this new challenge, I would say this is the pinnacle. There's something inside of me that's saying that this is a trip that I have to take. I don't know exactly where this feeling is coming from, but I'm grateful for everything in my life that has brought me to this inflection point. 

Am I nervous? I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't. Embarking on a trip of a lifetime like this is daunting indeed. With that said, I can't help but think that these emotions are occurring because I'm doing something significant and pushing myself to grow. 


-      I expect to be inspired by the places I see and the people I meet

-      I expect to be uncomfortable 

-      I expect to take many photos and capture plenty of footage. Hopefully I can continue to create videos while I’m on the road. This remains to be seen, but it’s not my main priority—enjoying the present moment is.

-      I expect to be tired

-      I expect to be transformed by this experience. After all, that's why we travel, isn't it? 

Parting Thoughts

When I landed in Korea last year, I felt like I was truly in pursuit of what I wanted out of life—to follow my passion for filmmaking and travel while always keeping in mind the ultimate goal of having a positive effect on the world and the people around me. I was brimming, overflowing with anticipation. Now, I'm preparing to leave Korea to begin this new journey, and I'm experiencing similar feelings. It's funny how life comes full circle, huh?

There's no way to predict what will happen over the next three months, and that's okay. It's time to embrace the unknown and shed who I am to make room for who I will become.

Break Your Boundaries.