The Secret To International Travel: Just Go

The Secret To International Travel: Just Go

I'm currently curled up on a pleather airport seat in Washington, D.C. with 100 other travellers scowling in the gate lobby. The intense fluorescent ceiling lights highlight the unanimous ugly mood caused by storms and a flight delay to Los Angeles International Airport. This is only my second flight in a two day journey from Tennessee to my final Life Before Work vacation destination - Vietnam.

 
 

And as I sit here in this moment, bonding with cranky strangers over typical travel frustrations, this trip still doesn't feel real.

For most people, a dingy, crowded airport wouldn't be dream-worthy; however, this experience is so unlike anything I've ever done that I'm pretty sure I've stepped into an alternate reality. There's no way that in a matter of days the scenery in front of me will transform from stained airport carpets and drooping travellers to rice paddies and cities illuminated by bobbing lanterns. That's just not possible. Right?

Six months ago, if someone would have told me that I'd be on my way to Vietnam, I would have laughed in their face. Not because it's a ridiculous place to visit, but because the thought of traveling to the other side of the world seemed impossible for me. Not to mention, a trip of this extent was a world away from my comfort zone. International travel has always been an interest I have desperately reached for and have then fallen short of accomplishing. Despite years of flipping through study abroad pamphlets in college, I never set aside the time and money to make traveling a priority. In these early, fantasizing stages of wanderlust, my bucket list of trips was confined to English speaking countries dominated by Westernization. Fast forward a couple of years and my determination to experience a new place and culture was furiously and impatiently refuelled.

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Now, I've finally decided to make traveling that is unbridled by expectations and the restrictions of comfort a priority in my life. I spent too much time in the past concerned with the overwhelming logistics of a trip instead of doing the one and only necessary step to traveling - going.

I'll admit that as someone who's never internationally traveled before, I have no idea what I'm doing. I didn't know you couldn't bring a jar of peanut butter on a plane, or how to check a bag. I didn't know sundresses could accumulate to 25lbs in a backpack. I didn't know much about Vietnam, except that it's safe and becoming a tourist-preferred destination. But, I do know, thanks to encouragement from friends and loved ones, I'm about to embark on an adventure of lifetime.


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