Learning Who I Am!

Once in a while, I come to a standstill. It’s during those times that I find my head is the clearest. Thinking comes easy. And so, it’s during this standstill in Bangkok that I find myself evaluating my journey and what I’ve learned about me. In saying that, please keep in mind this has nothing to do with the people I’ve met or the things I’ve seen! This is truly my evaluation of me!

I’m not a tourist! This came as a huge revelation to me! There is nobody I know that reads and actually studies Lonely Planet books like me. I can tell you every great spot I should have seen while here. And yet, today when I sat here at the hostel and looked back through the pictures I’ve taken, the best shots were ones of ordinary life. I guess that’s why in these last few days, I’m not concerned with whether or not I see the Grand Palace and every temple in town. Watching the street vendors, seeing mothers walking with their children, watching teen-age girls giggle and flirt with the boys, seeing people enjoying themselves in the park – those are things that remind me that we are all one human race!

I can travel alone, but it’s likely I will chose not to in the future – at least not for this long of a venture! There are times when I wanted to share the joy of what I was seeing and experiencing. There were also days when I felt on the verge of being overwhelmed and eaten alive by this area of the world. The unrelenting heat, the total difference in culture, and the physical pains that I endured alone may have made me stronger, but it would have been nice to have someone to talk to during those times.

I’m quite content with hostels! Yes, guesthouses can be a little more quaint, but for me the hostels offer more of what I look for in travel. I found I could always make friends in a bigger group of people. Clean dorm rooms and good showers are important to me! Orderly processes of check-in and check-out seem to work better for me!

I’m a big city kinda girl! Bangkok was NEVER, EVER on my bucket list. But it was a necessary evil that I had to endure to come to SE Asia. I made sure I didn’t fly into here but Singapore instead. Dread consumed me for at least one whole day in Koh Tao knowing Bangkok was my next stop. So yes, this was something I learned about me that I think maybe I knew, but now, it’s confirmed. Big cities, even Bangkok, don’t scare me – they entice me! You can be sure, New York City is now on my bucket list!

I am blessed!! I never realized how rich my life is. At 54, I’m fairly healthy, I have many, many friends, two wonderful sons, family, and I am on the other side of the world. During these past few months, I have heard from so many people who are following my journey! Many friends and new followers are taking this voyage with me and so while there are days when I feel very alone, I know I can always log on to the Internet and find friends who are with me in spirit! For that, I am so thankful – I recognize now how my words touch others and how their words touch me!

Biggest revelation: I am strong! Much, much stronger than I ever imagined! Regardless of the physical pains I’ve endured here, I’ve maintained a positive attitude for the most part! I’ve figured out how to get from here to there and back again on my own. When the need for help arose, I asked for and accepted it graciously. When I was scared, I searched inside for strength and found it! And when I was lonely, I let myself feel loneliness and recognize it could be as short-lived as I wanted it to be! There have been people in my life who said I lack self-confidence. Maybe I projected that because I felt the need to be what was expected of me at the time. Travelling alone, I found the space to be just me and found that they were wrong about me.  I AM STRONG!!

For those of you following my journey, I want to thank you once again for your comments and encouragement. Many, many times when I needed support, you were there! I hope you will follow along as I head out of SE Asia and on to Europe where I will walk the Camino de Santiago! Thank you again everyone!!

Sometimes the best way to figure out who you are is to get to that place where you don’t have to be anything else.”  Source Unknown


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Spider Swindell
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 10:03:04

    That is a beautiful and inspiring piece, thankyou so much for allowing me to vicariously share in your travels.xxxx


    • cheriarnold
      Apr 24, 2012 @ 10:16:45

      Spider…WOW!!! What a beautiful thing for you to say! Thank YOU for following along – it truly touches my heart when I hear from people and know that I’m not alone!! Miss you buddy…I need to come to London some day and party with you for sure!! 🙂 Can you say…V-O-D-K-A????? 🙂


  2. Travel Spirit
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 11:05:01

    Great post Cheri! A solo trip is empowering! You’re never alone…you have you!!


    • cheriarnold
      Apr 25, 2012 @ 00:55:47

      Thanks Sherry!! There were times when I didn’t think ME was enough, and yet, it was!! 🙂

      Thanks for following – hope you’ll follow along on the Camino too. And keep us posted on the Africa adventures!! 🙂


  3. michemozaix
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 11:49:53

    I love how you said ‘I am not a tourist’. When you can visit a foreign place and truly experience the culture of everyday life, you become more of what I like to call ‘a world citizen’ — noting the differences in places but that the souls of all of us are tied with common threads! Also, you collect a lot fewer souveniers and chatzkes from all the ‘tourist’ spots, which is a good thing!


    • cheriarnold
      Apr 25, 2012 @ 00:54:44

      What a wonderful way you have of expressing that – a world citizen! I love that!! I wonder if when I leave here in a few days, if I will regret not seeing those touristy spots. Truly, I don’t think so! I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve CHOSEN to see!! 🙂

      Thanks for following! I hope you’ll follow along on the Camino too! 🙂


  4. Debbie Motto
    Apr 24, 2012 @ 22:13:59

    As always, Cheri, you managed to write about feelings and discoveries about yourself that probably apply to a lot of us. I know they do with me. I really liked the way you started it…when you are at a standstill is when you think most clearly…it reminds me to take time to be still and know that I am God’s! He speaks in a small still voice so we must listen closely. We will not be able to do that if we are constantly going going going!

    God bless every step you take in any country you place your feet as you have blessed us! :o)


    • cheriarnold
      Apr 25, 2012 @ 00:52:16

      Absolutely Debbie! It’s amazing how we busy our lives with so much. I think age makes a difference too. Right now, I’m watching someone close to me struggle with her life. It’s always been filled with school, work, and her kids. Now, it’s slowing down and things that she thought were “good” before look different. It’s not that things were good….it’s that she never had the time to see them for what they were! Slowing down is always good….it brings things into perspective!

      Thanks again for following! 🙂


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