Why I am travelling alone and am simultaneously ecstatic and terrified about it

Despite the panic I feel when I remind myself that I’m about to travel by myself in an area of the world I’ve never seen or experienced, I’m actually really excited. I am a very easy breezy person, which for me, often and unfortunately translates to being a pushover. I’m the, “oh, it doesn’t matter to me, whatever you want” person, which in itself isn’t a bad thing. But what happens with me, the unfortunate and frustrating byproduct of being too easy going, is that when it comes down to it, I don’t actually know what I want. I sit and think what others would want me to do, who would judge me for doing one thing versus another, how I could compromise between them all. But what I actually want to do is so hard for me to pinpoint and thus act on. I will say that I have been getting better at figuring out what it is that I want aside from everyone else, but it is a journey for me, not a one-step process. 

So I am travelling alone as the biggest and most terrifying step towards knowing what I want amongst what others want. By travelling alone, I am forcing myself to decide what I want because there will be no one else with whom I can be passive and easy breezy. I will have to figure out where I want to go, what I want to see, whether or not I would like to travel with someone for a bit, and all the little decisions in between. 

I need to learn to decide for me again. And maybe my dear friend Andrew and his family are right about my trip, that I’m going to Southeast Asia to find myself. I vehemently rejected the idea at first because it’s just so cliché. But maybe I am. Or maybe I am going to find a part of myself, a specific part that will hopefully help me function better in the world.

Everyone keeps asking if it has hit me yet that I’m going on some ludicrous and awesome adventure. It finally hit me last Monday after Thanksgiving. I finished watching Pitch Perfect 2 because I am a huge A Cappella nerd and I figured this was my last opportunity to do so before I left. The movie ended and I was creamed by the dump truck realization that I was leaving in 5 days and was by no means prepared. And I panicked. I pity everyone I was texting at the time trying to coordinate when I could see them because I proceeded to become a messy ball of stress, confusion and awkwardness (I apologize to you all). But Wednesday I was so productive, I ran errands like a grown up. After that I thought I was feeling fine. Neutral and calm. 

I had been telling people that maybe I would feel like I was going when I finally packed. But after overcoming the daunting pile of stuff I had to pack (which I stared blankly at for a good 10 minutes), I was still calm. Then I found myself on the floor, lying on my back curled in a little ball with my hands over my eyes singing Ingrid Michaelson’s Keep Breathing (it goes, all that I know is I’m breathing, all I can do is keep breathing). Okay, okay, fine. Maybe I wasn’t, and am not, all that fine. That doesn’t mean I’m questioning whether or not I will go, this is just a big deal for me. This is huge for little easy breezy me, who has been trying to prove to the world and myself that I am not a pushover. This is kind of a huge step. 

So I am simultaneously ecstatic and terrified. I am shattering my comfort zone but I know that it’s a good thing. And that’s what I’ll tell myself on my way to the airport to go to Bangkok, because that’s the last moment when it will hit me I’m guessing. I will remind myself that the middle ground between ecstacy and terror is where the most growth happens. Hopefully anyway. 

Until Next Time,

Rachel Coulter

4 thoughts on “Why I am travelling alone and am simultaneously ecstatic and terrified about it

  1. Hi there,

    You are inspiring. Keep pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and you will witness an amazing transition in your life.
    Just remember.
    Courage is the capacity to confront what can be imagined.”

  2. good morning Rachel: I admire you and am so excited you are venturing out and doing this. What an adventure for you! Keep us updated on your events. Looking forward to your next post.
    love Aunt Karen

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