A Little Confession…Leaving to Travel Was Hard for Me

When I found out that I was officially going to Thailand last year with my aunt, I was torn over it and I didn’t want to come AT ALL. I thought I was going to hate it and that my life was going to be over for six months. I was going to miss my other family, my friends, my home, the food and things that I like to have around me (you know, that stuff we have that’s not a person). From what I imagined about Thailand before, I thought it would be poor with people starving on the streets, very dirty and small. (It’s not like that at all though, instead of starving people, it’s starving dogs, there are always people cleaning up litter, even where the cars drive, and it’s actually pretty big where I’ve been and so developed!).

But after we came, and even after I spent a couple of weeks here, I still didn’t like it and I wasn’t having very much fun.

I didn’t realize it then, but I was making it hard on myself and telling myself “this sucks,” and time was going by really slowly. Then, I finally decided that I should just let go and actually try to see through missing everyone and everything that’s different from what I liked back home, and try to see what else was here in the place I was now spending six months.

I let go of some of my negativity by thinking positive thoughts and writing in a journal,  I had to take a step back from what I was feeling about missing everyone, but that doesn’t mean that I made myself not miss home, because I do. Instead, it means that I wanted to see what is over here in Asia and what I can find to like about traveling, and inside, I know I still have something to look forward to when I get home and can see everyone again.

Bangkok

Jumping in front of the bustling streets of Bangkok.

Right now, I have only one month left of my journey (five months out of six!!) and time has actually gone by quickly–faster than I expected! When I look back at how I was acting, and what I was feeling before I left, I see that my life was not going to end by coming here like I thought. Now, I knew before coming here that my life was not literally going to end, but when you’ve lived in Florida your whole life, it’s kind of scary to think you’re going out of the familiar. In the end though, something good will probably come out of traveling and later in help me in life as I grow older.

Now, I look at this like it’s a long vacation where I still have to do school work and I can’t have my whole family here with me; I now get a chance to get to meet new friends, and be everybody’s friend. Although, I did only have one kid friend in the beginning, M whose parents blog at GotPassport.org, but getting to know her was great and let me meet another one of my friends, Birdy, and knowing that there are other kids who are from America also living in Thailand made me feel a little more comfortable. I also had my aunt’s friends who are some really great people who also made me feel more comfortable and had fun with me even though they’re adults!

Yes traveling is scary, sometimes uncomfortable and sometimes even painful to know that you’re not opening presents on Christmas with your family, but that’s what my friends are for who are also traveling in the same places. Getting to travel is like getting the chance to know what another life is like, which I think a lot of people should get the chance to have, especially if they have been in one place their whole life.

Me preferring train rides over bus rides, on our way to Bangkok from Chiang Mai.

Knowing that I am going home in a month leaves me so very excited to see my family and get to show them what I have done. But, it also leaves me sad because I have enjoyed being in Asia for the most part (those long bus rides are SO TERRIBLE, I much prefer trains!) For the last month I’m going to be in Cambodia, and I’m going to try to make it last.

About Ana

I've got heart and soul, and stories waiting to be told. In 2011, I first left the US and was homeschooled from Southeast Asia by my aunt for 6+ months. Now, I travel with her in the summers and share my stories here. I've visited 7+ countries and counting! "Wherever you go, go with all your heart" — Confuscious

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19 Responses to A Little Confession…Leaving to Travel Was Hard for Me

  1. Jodi April 7, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

    Yay for the jumping shot! Enjoyed the honest post and am very glad I got to spend a few of those months with you and Shannon. Enjoy Cambodia – don’t forget to try the curry at Khmer Kitchen in Siem Reap :)

    • Ana April 9, 2012 at 4:31 am #

      Yes, I had to put the jumping shot in there! Glad I got to spend a couple months with you too. Will really try and eat the curry when I get there! :)

  2. Monique Lozeron April 8, 2012 at 2:58 pm #

    LOVELY post Anna!!! And I also love the jumping shot… to think it took a great deal of laughter and practice timing that shot. Oh, those crazy farang!!! Hope Cambodia is lovely and enjoy your last month! You are an amazing person!

    • Ana April 9, 2012 at 4:33 am #

      Thank you! Yeah, that jumping shot sure did take a lot of effort! Cambodia is pretty spectacular so far and you’re an awesome person too! :)

  3. Joanne Ruscella April 10, 2012 at 12:43 am #

    I love this post! Not only do I love the jumping photo – but you have changed much over these past few months. Not only do you seem more mature and levelheaded, but your writing has improved as well. I think this may be one of my favorites so far! We can’t wait to see you and hear all your stories, and don’t tell Shannon (cause she will try to get me over there) but I am so jealous of the opportunities that you have gotten these past few months. I wish I had the chutzpah to take the kids somewhere like that, but I am not brave like you and she are. But I am soooo very proud of you, for the way that you have grown sure, but also in the way that you have embraced your life over there. We love you dearly and can’t wait to see you. xoxo Joanne

  4. Ana April 10, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    I really like this post too, I think it also shows how I have grown because I can tell that I definitively have. Thank you for complimenting my improvements and maybe someday Jannai and Caius will be inspired be Nene to travel! Can’t wait to see you either.
    Thank you so much and miss you!

    Hugs and love,
    Anna

  5. Erik April 14, 2012 at 3:03 am #

    Almost everything worthwhile in life is hard. It has been a pleasure following along with you journey. It is quite an opportunity for you and I often think about what I would have been like had I traveled like this at your age, and I know for sure you have handled it better and learned more than I ever would have.

    The only piece of advice I can add is that most of the people you meet will not have a clue why traveling has meant so much to you- and that is ok. I stopped trying to explain my love of travel to people. I have always traveled and now that I am married to someone who does not travel, a lot of people make negative remarks to me about traveling without my wife, but she understands better than everyone- you must be true to yourself and follow what is in your heart.

    Hope you guys have a great last month together!

  6. Ana April 14, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    As most kids around my age would say, it was really hard to leave and travel, handling it was even harder. And it’s true, I don’t think a lot of people find traveling as a want for them, which is ok because everybody has a different opinion, but they should at least be interested in something more than the familiar. It’s sad your wife doesn’t want to travel, well not sad but different because you love traveling and she doesn’t, but I’m glad she understands more than anyone else. I will always do what I think is right and follow my heart, no matter what my heart wants to follow.

    Thank you so much,

    Anna. :)

  7. Lash April 28, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    Hi Anna!
    REmember meeting me with your Aunt Shannon in St Petersburg before you left Florida?
    Good for you for becoming aware of your negative attitude and deciding to try to find out the good things about Thailand, traveling,and your life in Asia.

    I’ll bet you anything, once you get back home you’re going to start talking about all the wonderful things, places and people you met in Asia… and before long you’ll be wishing you could go travel some more!

    HOpe to meet you again… cheers, lash

    • Ana April 29, 2012 at 10:26 am #

      I for sure remember meeting up with you and going to the Dali museum. When I get home I’m definitively going to tell everyone about my travels and show all the pictures I have taken, which is probably about 2,000 images! I already miss Asia and the delicious food in Thailand!

      ~Ana

  8. Niki April 28, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    Yay Anna! I’m so happy you have enjoyed your travels with your Aunt! Are you looking forward to trying other new places in the future? Where do you want to go next?

    • Ana April 29, 2012 at 10:23 am #

      Um, I think that maybe one day I’ll be ready to travel again, I rally want to go to Rome so I can see the Colosseum, then maybe Greece so I can see the beautiful architecture.

      ~Ana

  9. Marv.n.Jo April 28, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

    Hi Ana! What a great post you’ve written here! It’s so great to hear about your personal transformation over the course of your 6 months traveling in Asia. It was a delight to meet with you and your Aunt Shannon in Chiang Mai, and we are so proud of you for having the courage to see with open eyes and heart what life is like in another part of the world. You really hit a home run with this post, and thank you so much for sharing your experience with all of us!

    • Ana April 29, 2012 at 10:21 am #

      I’m glad I found the better side in traveling and I’m also glad I got to watch myself make this transformation. It was really great to meet up with you guys too and have the chance to talk about traveling to different places. Thank you!

      ~Ana

  10. cierra April 28, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

    wow you are an amazing girl!!! Really inspiring to see someone so young so enlightened about positivity even when your uncomfortable. Reading this today is helping me make a descion that i have been toying over for awhile! so thank you:) best of luck in your travels. I heard somewhere to alwasys find something new each day, something you have never seen… I think you found a whole country!!!!
    have a lovely and beautiful time in your last remaining months
    Cierra

  11. Ana April 29, 2012 at 10:13 am #

    Thank you so much! I try to inspire other people to look at the positive side no matter what kind of situation they’re in. Glad that I was able to help you make a tough decision. I have been finding something new everywhere I go, even if I’m staying in one place for a while, thanks for the luck!

    ~Ana

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