In the summer of 2015, I embarked on an adventure of a lifetime! I did something that no one in my family had done and something many of my friends dreamed of.
I come from a working-class family. Backpacking and traveling was unheard of in my Spanish speaking, Mexican home. Growing up, my family never took trips, unless it was to the motherland. Even then, I didn’t consider it a vacation since we spent most days cooped up in a small home in the middle of nowhere, Mexico, with little to no running water, and dirt roads that led to mountains.
My limited knowledge of traveling and lack of exposure to countries outside of my own inspired me to not only get on a plane and fly across the world, but inspired me to do it on my own ( I guess you can say I like a challenge). I planned, coordinated, and budgeted a solo trip across Southeast Asia. Traveling alone reveals my self-sufficient character. It proves that I am independent and can successfully navigate unknown spaces without fear and at full-throttle.
Throughout my 5 weeks in South East Asia, I learned 3 things:
- I successfully learned the art of negotiation
- Prices in SEAsia are inflated, the perceived notion being that tourists will bargain. Tuk-Tuk’s will double their fare but it is up to you to negotiate the price. I learned how to do this and was able to save a few coins!
- I learned to self-manage
- Although I made friends throughout my trip, I was on my own for most of the time. I learned to prepare my schedule and plan for potential pitfalls!
- I learned to improvise and go with the flow when faced with challenges like not knowing the language. When I couldn’t find a translation or was completely lost, I pointed to things. Every time I ate out, I couldn’t read the menu so I would point to the plate that looked most appetizing. I found alternative solutions that helped me move around the five countries I visited.
This trip gave birth to my first travel blog and flooded my Instagram with travel pictures which in turn helped me gain a following of travel enthusiasts, later being featured in Travel accounts. You can find the travel blog I manage here: http://www.monisandiego.com. I often write about what it’s like to be brown & abroad, inspiring women of similar backgrounds to get out there and travel.