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Winter travels, Panama, 2008

Winter travels, Panama, 2008. Spent Christmas Day/evening by myself after my traveling partner ran out of money.

For years, winter break meant a trip to a new country.

After quitting my wack-ass job, I spent three months enjoying Seoul, which included many days of biking through Seoul solo. Alone in a city of 11 million.

After quitting my wack-ass job, I spent three months enjoying Seoul, which included many days of biking through Seoul solo. Alone in a city of 11 million.

I would excitingly skim Lonely Plant and Trip Advisor to look for cool stuff to do during my time in Thailand, Colombia, Australia, Panama, Chile, and other places. I was thrilled to be achieving my goal of seeing the world, experiencing new cultures, and living life on my own Terms.

Solo day trip to the Getty in LA

Solo day trip to The Getty in L.A.

But tonight, I spent two hours on the internet trying to find something to do in a Ecuador during the break.yes I have spent this amount of time trip planning before –truth be told, I spent longer periods of time on travel research– but something was different tonight. I felt annoyed, irritated that I needed to travel because my fellow foreign teachers are planning on travel.  Yet for me this travel was a Keeping Up WithThe Jones activity that didn’t correspond to the Monique of 2014.

Solo trip to Mompiche, Esmeralda's, Ecuador, as I began my Adios LA II farewell trip in Latin America, Winter 2011.

Solo trip to Mompiche, Esmeralda’s, Ecuador, as I began my Adios LA II farewell trip in Latin America, Winter 2011.

The thrill was gone as BB King sang. And this is more confirmation that a change has occurred within me. An acceptance of self has occurred.

Cartagena, Colombia, New Years 2011. I spent Christmas evening in a hostel by myself, enjoying Medellin, Colombia.

Cartagena, Colombia, New Years 2011. I spent Christmas evening in a hostel by myself, enjoying Medellin, Colombia.

I used to teach to travel, meaning traveling was the main motivation in going through the process of looking for esl jobs, applying to jobs, pushing through the tedious, wait-wait-now! visa process, starting at the bottom in the teachers’ room, dealing with local teachers who resented me based on my salary but never considered my degrees from UCLA & USC, then forcing myself to hangout with fellow expats that I had little in common with beside the gringo/Gajin/waygook label.

Solo trip to Cambodia after presenting at a TESOL conference in Laos. Winter 2013

Solo trip to Cambodia after presenting at a TESOL conference in Laos. Winter 2013

Yeah, there are tons of draw backs to teaching esl abroad, but I did it for nearly 8 years because there was nothing like seeing a new country’s take on the street/city life, it was amazing to see the art work popping to life in new settings, the satisfying taste of something you didn’t know existed until arriving at the food stall/shop/restaurant, learning something about a country but realizing it’s the same story you heard in another country (it really is a small world after all). The Soc (sociology) in me kept the curiosity to know more of the world burning within me, which kept the stamps coming into my passport (up to nearly 30 countries with Europe on the horizon).

Port Douglas, Australia, a Winter Travels 2006. My first major solo adventure.

Port Douglas, Australia, Winter Travels 2006. My first major solo adventure.

Yet know, I feel like I have seen so much, that I lack the eternal drive to plan a winter holiday escape. I would be just as happy as installing a hammock on my front porch and gazing out onto the postcrd perfect Andes mountains as I would be flying to the Pacific coast to swing in a hammock and reflect on life and dream of my great novel.

Spontaneous solo trip to Taiwan after quitting my wack-ass job, Winter 2013

Spontaneous solo trip to Taiwan after quitting my wack-ass job, Winter 2013

I’m tempted to stay here and do me alone. Enjoy the winter holiday by myself as I have done before and probably will do again in the future. I’m at the point in life where I’m not lonely. I prefer socializing with others, but I like myself enough to be able to enjoy me time.And perhaps that is what it is meant to mature and evolve into your higher being, your likeable self.

Spontaneous solo trip the Pacific Coast of Ecuador after being told I needed to resign early. Spring 2011

Spontaneous solo trip the Pacific Coast of Ecuador after being told I needed to resign early. Spring 2011. (Peep the hammock)

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