“You come here by yourself?” The man asks, gazing at me with a look of shock as I sit waiting at the bus station. I smile, used to this question by now. I wait for the rest of the questions…why did I come, why did I leave, how long will I stay…some of these are unanswerable.
We chat for a few moments and he leaves. The locals watch me with curiosity as I wait; the blonde oddity in a sea of people with luxurious black hair.
Puli, located in central Taiwan, is far, far away from the foreigner haven of Taipei. Though lonely at times, I prefer the solitude and the beauty of the mountains opposed to the smog-choked high-rises and crowds of the bigger cities in Taiwan.
Sometimes, it’s the women who ask such questions. They are amazed I’m single and living so far from home, surprised that I came to Taiwan on my own. I don’t feel proud, brave, or accomplished because of this. There are many people all over the world doing the same thing. I, like numerous other women, am on a quest to find myself, to heal from old wounds, and to see the world through new eyes. This is a privilege, yes, but I don’t think it makes me or any other expat/traveler more heroic or special than anyone else.
Traveling solo is however, freeing. The journey so far has strengthened me in so many ways as I work through old and new fears; stepping forward into the future. With faith and new discoveries every day I’m learning how to become the woman I was always meant to be.
The present chapter of my life is one I’m meant to spend alone. Instead of being mournful because of this (and the scary fact that I just turned 30!) I will celebrate every step that led to where I am and every small victory I continue to experience along the way.
With great pleasure I write this first post and I’m thrilled to be a part of Wanderlust and Lipstick. I hope you enjoy following my journey as much as I enjoy sharing it with you.
Happy 2011 everyone!