Sal’s Travelogue #1 – Starting Solo

Traveling alone is often considered unusual, risky, lonely and even to some, boring. But there are often times when we feel the need to break away from the world at large, and explore new things that we are often unaware of, all on our own. In this upcoming series of travelogues, Sal relates his story of backpacking through South East Asia for a whole month on less than US$700. Here’s the start to his month-long journey!

Six hours to go before my flight, and I’m still stuck at the D section in my music library. Playlist unsettled, toiletry still neatly laid out in the washroom and myself, no where near ready for my first solo experience overseas. I can’t help but ask aloud, “What have you gotten yourself into this time?”

Picture yourself on a Friday night out with the mates, having a blast in the pub or stuffing yourselves silly over supper. Or perhaps a Sunday afternoon at home, catching up with the ones you care and love. How often has the topic of ‘seeing the world’ and ‘uncovering what’s out there’ come about – and how often has the idea died off as just another casual mention?

Photo credit - !borghetti

Photo credit - !borghetti

I for one, have been all too familiar with the concept of ‘someday’. What I did, and how I got to where I am, however, deserves no special mention. Simply put – I got sick of it all, quit the nine to five and decided to go off on my own for a month.

The next natural question would be where to, but in my case, this was easily decided by the unshakeable charm that Cambodia had left on me during my visit just over a month before. Not wanting to merely repeat that experience, however, I’ve decided to explore Vietnam and Laos as well.

As much as I’d like to believe that I have this sorted out, reality is such that I do not. All I know is, come 7am, I’ll be on my way to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, where i’ll probably have to figure out how to take the bus from the airport (which I gather is 7km away from the central area of the city itself) to a place called Pham Ngu Lao. For those unfamiliar, Pham Ngu Lao is probably my best bet for affordable lodging, especially considering that I’m trying to pull off a month-long journey on no more than US$700. Vietnam tomorrow, and perhaps, the day after as well.

What’s beyond that, however, is something I haven’t really thought about – but hey, what’s a journey without a few surprises along the way?

Photo credit - xAv.

Photo credit - xAv.

Sights both familiar and unfamiliar – but for a constant, I hold on to this elusive desire to finally rid myself of one more thing to do before I get too old. Though dreams serve as fuel for life itself, it is often with regret that we make up for not having lived the lives we’ve wanted.

Seeing South East Asia is but a small part of my larger, more ambitious dream of wanting to see the world. It probably won’t be smooth sailing all the way, especially judging from how frantically I’m trying to pack. But despite all that, I’ve never felt more alive and closer to accomplishing what may have been just another passing conversation.

About the Author. Sal S-S. A writer by profession, a free spirit by nature – Sal believes that his life’s one purpose is to see it all, learn it all and do it all. Currently based as a freelance copywriter in Singapore, it is for life’s many unknowns and uncertainties that he sets his sights beyond borders and into new discoveries. Living and working for the journey itself and nothing less, it is with pen in hand and passion at heart that he contributes to Unearthing Asia.


2 Comments on "Sal’s Travelogue #1 – Starting Solo"

  1. jen laceda on Tue, 19th May 2009 4:23 pm 

    You go, Sal! There are so many of us who want to see the world, but few are able to. I am extremely lucky to have travelled a lot, but like you, the mission never ends. There’s always somewhere to go, some new adventure to unravel, some new friends to meet. I wish I had your free spirit. I have a two-year-old daughter and a husband and a mortgage, so for now, travel plans are restricted to family vacations and short jaunts.
    Anyway, hurrah for travels and may we all have many, many reasons to live for travel!!

  2. Sal’s Travelogue #7 -High Up North | Unearthing Asia on Fri, 25th Jun 2010 7:33 pm 

    […] Travelogue: #1: Solo – #2: Saigon Green – #3: Detours – #4: All Road Leads North – #5: Saibadee […]

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