Traveling to Asia at the nimble age of 19, alone, was a gamble. But unlike the flashy lights of Vegas’s pokie machines, it was a gamble that entirely paid off.
Hi, I’m Danielle and six years ago I was in a tough spot. I was halfway through a Psychology degree and in the dumps. Like many people graduating high school, I had no idea what I wanted to achieve in this world, let alone how to get there. And when I reached the halfway point of my university courses, something just didn’t feel right. My nights were spent swamped with thoughts that would keep me up for hours on end.
So what is a girl to do when faced with uncertainty? Call her mum of course.
Now, I could transcribe the conversation to you. But you’re here for the juicy stuff. So, to cut a long story short, we decided that I’d pack my bags, head off for a trip overseas and come back all warm and fuzzy with inspiration. Spoiler alert, it worked.
So little ol’ me made my way to Thailand, a land that sounded more like a place to buy exotic suit accessories than a noodle dish. The colourful streets, tooting tuk-tuks, bamboo front restaurants and bustling cityscape… I felt alive.
Side note: Having since been on more than a dozen overseas adventures. My Contiki trip in Asia still remains as my favourite. Why? Because it opened my eyes to new cultures, customs, a worldly view that I had been missing, and surprisingly, myself. Asia kind of filled a gap, y’know?
I remember my first night clear as day. I was all pumped up and ready to take on anything that this new land had to offer. And while the thought of traveling alone scared me more than cartwheels (my biggest fear of all), it was also completely liberating.
So there I was, standing in the hotel lobby, waiting for another member of our tour group to meet me as per Facebook’s correspondence. Finally, I spotted them and embarked into the unknown of a new, and possibly great (another spoiler, definitely great), friendship. We found a tiny restaurant where the tables were set atop ponds with glass floors. Incredible, thought newly energised me.
And then really, from there, it was a whirlwind of self-discovery, freedom, and adventure.
We sang in the streets, rode friendly elephants, splashed in crystal waterfalls, bought local produce from villages, learned traditional dancing + laughed with tribes, cruised along the Mekong, stayed in hillside huts, drank strange concoctions on the side of the road, learned how to cook authentic Thai dishes, explored Laos and met beautiful people.
We experienced the rich history of Cambodia, climbed trees and learned about UXO’s, drank Gin on rooftops, made new friends, giggled on busses, had a piano singalong, watched the sunrise over Angkor Wat, dressed up, dressed down, gave offerings to monks…
At risk of sounding cliche (and definitely a little corny), these memories will last forever. And I really do have that trip to thank for making me, well, me. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for those ten days, three countries and 30 new friends. Because if I hadn’t taken the leap, stepped out from the comfort of home, and boarded that plane, maybe I never would have found the real me.
Because I wouldn’t have even known who that person was.
Readcity Founder and CEO, Danielle Read is a creative, passionate and dedicated Copywriter. Danielle holds a Bachelor of Psychological Science as well as tertiary qualifications in Creative and Academic Writing, Digital Marketing and Business Management. A lover of all things literary, Danielle feels at peace when reading a perfectly structured sentence- And even more so if she’s the person who has written it! Rock and roll soothes her soul and fuels her creative fire. You’ll often find Danielle whisking her partner away on spontaneous trips and eating soup on weekends. Catch her @readcity