Photo: Street food Phetchaburi Soi 10, Bangkok.

Southeast Asia forum

Just pack and leave?

Posted by Chasingdreams on 25/7/2013 at 06:28

A strange question maybe at a very premature stage... but i really do need some of you backpackers out there advice and encouragement :-)

Well...my story... female... 31... recently separated from a very short but very stressful and abusive marriage... and for the past 6 months I've been going through either very good or very bad phases! I've kind of lost all the motivation I had... both at work and at home... and recently my mind keeps wondering into the thought of just quitting my job and travelling for at least a year... I've found myself dreaming of places like south africa or even south america... but somehow... my heart has always been with asia... I've been to thailand twice (9 yrs ago... and again about 2 years ago) and i just love the place... also been to vietnam and bali and I wouldn't mind revisiting these places either...

What's keeping me from doing it??? well... truth is the thought is rather scary... for starters I've never travelled solo... I always admired people ive met during my travels who had the courage of just travelling alone... but will it get lonely?... will it be easy to get around.?.. and most importantly... how dangerous is it? another big question on my mind is how easy is it to get back on track once I m back and find a job? and... how much money do you really need to spend say 8 months to a year in Asia?

I know it's rather a very wide question I'm putting here... but what I am really doing is pouring out my thoughts to you... hoping someone would understand... Im sure my friends and family would start calling me all kinds of crazy once I tell them what I wish to do :-)

Would really like to hear some of your stories... people who have done this before... and how you've overcome these fears I'm having... :-)

#1 Chasingdreams has been a member since 25/7/2013. Posts: 1

Posted by DLuek on 25/7/2013 at 07:29 TF writer

Hi,

I certainly understand. During/after rough patches it's easy to look to the proverbial "beyond" as a way to open a new chapter in life while putting an old one behind you. I've certainly been there and have done it. I'll try to answer your questions first, then offer some general thoughts...

will it get lonely?

Absolutely. There are always chances to meet other people while traveling, but often these relationships are fleeting. If you're going to travel solo, you have to be prepared for a lot of time with just you and your thoughts. My experience is that it can be very lonely - the key is to not indulge your fears by hiding out in some room somewhere. Traveling solo does take courage. You have to get yourself up, out, exploring and meeting people. Otherwise it can be quite rough.

will it be easy to get around?

Well, it will be harder than catching a bus in your home city, but I don't think it's too difficult if you do your research. Again, it takes some courage just to get out the door and make things happen. I'm all for spontaneity, but I always know what I'm doing before I venture off on a given leg of a larger journey. If you do that, it's usually not too difficult. But you also need to be prepared for when things inevitably do go wrong. Traveling can be frustrating. One of my favorite quotes is "Travel is to sacrifice comfort of the body in order to gain freedom of the mind" - anonymous.

how dangerous is it?


Speaking only for Southeast Asia, it's pretty safe as long as you use common sense and don't put yourself in harm's way. Violent crime in this part of the world is usually confined to grudges or passions among local people and most travelers never encounter it. For most, theft and scams are more of a regular concern.

how easy is it to get back on track once I m back and find a job?


This totally depends on your own personal situation. I was lucky during my first few long-term trips (1-5 months) because I had bartending jobs that allowed me to leave for a while and come back for the busy months. But without knowing what your personal situation is, no one can answer that question except for you. However I do know that fear of losing a sense of security stops a lot of people from chasing their dreams, and that's unfortunate.

how much money do you really need to spend say 8 months to a year in Asia?


Again, depends a lot on your own habits and how you like to travel, but that's a long time so you'd need a good hunk of cash. On a backpacker budget, you can get away with US $30 a day, although $50 a day is more what I plan for. Including flights, visas and insurance, you'd probably be looking at US $10 - 15,000, and that's on the low end. Factor in some emergency savings and/or a nest egg for when you return home and you're looking closer to $20 - 25,000 (I personally wouldn't think about a trip that long without at least $20K to start, but maybe I'm more on the 'responsible' side). You can however cut those figures back by doing things like long-term volunteering, staying in temples and/or just sticking to cheap destinations for longer periods of time. You could also consider teaching English abroad if you don't have that kind of money.

Finally, what you related in the first paragraph seems to hint at an underlying sense of dissatisfaction - with your life, your situation, maybe yourself? My experience was that heading off on a big solo trip as a way to escape my problems/depression was a really bad idea. No matter where you are in the world, you're still stuck with yourself. In other words, until you deal with your problems - or give yourself time to heal and forgive if you've been through traumatic events - being in some far off exotic land won't make things any easier. In fact, it can magnify the sadness, fear and depression 10 fold and only make things worse. That's just my own experience - maybe it's been different for others. But my advice would be to sort things out and only head off on a big solo trip once you have a sense of inner stability to guide you.

#2 DLuek has been a member since 19/6/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,185
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Posted by 9preciousGems on 25/7/2013 at 08:21

Im in a similar situation really. Just coming out of a 12 year relationship and looking to go away on my own. We had always planned to go together but reasons I wont go into have conspired to delay our plans up until this time when we are looking like going our seperate ways.

It wont be easy going it solo but i dont think that is ever a reason not to go. If you are having a terrbile time you can always turn back home. There are so many possibilites that will come out of travelling new friends, new opportunites, new experiences things you will think i wish i had done this sooner.

#3 9preciousGems has been a member since 13/1/2011. Posts: 82

Posted by svendj on 25/7/2013 at 09:21

how easy is it to get back on track once I m back and find a job?

This totally depends on your own personal situation. I was lucky during my first few long-term trips (1-5 months) because I had bartending jobs that allowed me to leave for a while and come back for the busy months. But without knowing what your personal situation is, no one can answer that question except for you. However I do know that fear of losing a sense of security stops a lot of people from chasing their dreams, and that's unfortunate.

copied this from Dluek cause that's what I was into as well before.
It's all about taking that first step of doing it and getting off. my fear was very high about quitting my job and not finding a new one once I got back (especially with the economical circumstances at that time (5 years ago). But I have to admit, the minute I put a foot down on my first destination on the first day when I left was the moment I'll never forget, you have you're (time limited) freedom to do what you want to do, and that's an awesome feeling.

though getting a job once you get back is always the hassle... but to be fair: If you really want to work, there's always a job and the opportunity to earn some money if you are willing to do something.

the money thing, I'll try to explain what I do:
Take the money you have for travelling and put it in another savings account or something and don't think about, imagine that you didn't had that travel money.
Then imagine you are at the place you are now with the money you have left on your bank account and what you are doing at this time (without thinking about travelling). well... leave for you're travels and come back 1 year later and you'll be at that exact same point (because the money for travelling was actually never with you once you left (other account)).
so you'll be back 1 year later but with a lot more experiences of life, travelling and your feelings.

Think about what you want for yourself! and good luck with it.

#4 svendj has been a member since 30/4/2010. Location: Belgium. Posts: 196
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Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 25/7/2013 at 09:55

You need to work out a few things like what to do with your car and furniture. Also visa issues and cashflow. It's ok to hit the road with no worries at 21 but at 31 you don't want to burn all your cash on travelling. It's good to have say 10 grand to come home to. So if you have $25,000 then work out a plan around $15,000.

Some people get by on $300 a week but I think $450 is much much better as it gives you the freedom of some luxuries and choice.

So work backwards to calculate the time frame.

$15,000 - airfares - visa fees - insurance = your budget. Divide by $450 gives you the time frame. In this case about 28 weeks or 7 months.

Note your budget can be affected by high/low season also. Prices for hotels go up in November. So Nov-April a budget of $500/week might be better.

#5 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
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Posted by Seven10Hearts on 28/7/2013 at 01:41

Hey,

I just bought my one way ticket to HK. I am excited, but also really scared. But I have confidence and the faith I will be able to handle any situation, good or bad, that comes up. I'm really glad to hear that you got out of the relationship. I've never been married, but I'm sure that you will find traveling much easier, and much more fun also :) I wish you the best.

Hearts,
Seven Ten

#6 Seven10Hearts has been a member since 23/6/2012. Posts: 3

Posted by Snookieboi on 28/7/2013 at 03:00

I've travelled alone in many countries for several years. I'd reccomend you get an easy to use guidebook. Lonely planet lacks a lot of info, but provides easy to use format for example. Travel to places that intrigue you. Why not do Thailand, Myanmar, Laos Cambodia, Vietnam? You'll be kept busy sightseeing and meeting travellers naturally along the way. It's very hard to find yourself truly alone for long periods unless you choose that way of being. The Asian people are friendly too.

Happy travels.

#7 Snookieboi has been a member since 14/4/2013. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 61
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Posted by MADMAC on 28/7/2013 at 05:21

I'm probably an outlier here, but when I travel alone, while I do miss my daughter, I don't really get lonely. Take an e-book reader, load it up with books you like, find a quiet restaraunt or bar, have a drink and read a book. I enjoy doing that. When I feel the need for company, I just strike up a conversation with someone. Most people over here are willing to talk to you in a restaraunt or bar, althgouh language makes for challenges (but not insurmountable ones).

You might consider teaching here (assuming you have a degree). Take the TEFL course and you're on your way. Then you could earn the money it costs to stay here, so it wouldn't be eating into your savings. A year or 18 months away might do wonders for you. Just something to consider.

#8 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
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