Reflections on my first month on the road

Joanna Horanin

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Hi, I'm Joanna, the author of The Blond Travels. In the worlds of Thailand and Portugal, I feel like a fish in water - and it's no coincidence! I've been exploring Thailand for over a decade, and I've settled in Portugal for 6 years now. My mission is to support Dreamers - just like you - in discovering these fascinating countries and helping those in love with them find their own place on Earth, preferably for good! Let's uncover these unique corners of the world together.

Last month I set off on my journey. Anxious, worried and excited, with everything I owned in my 60 litre backpack, I boarded a plane to Bangkok. 
I am not only on a journey in a physical way, but spiritual and mental as well. These are my reflections on my trip so far.

The beginning – Thailand 

Thailand wasn’t easy.

Had Rin is my happy place, where I know a lot of people and always feel at home. This time, however I was trying to adjust myself to being on my own and to looking after myself.

I am a social animal and need people around me. Thanks to Couchsurfing I met a lovely guy from Mexico, who turned out to be as much of a party loving person as me. We had fun together.

But during the day, when I was alone, I felt sad and lost. I went to the beach and contemplated on my current situation. I was scared. There I was – in a paradise, in a place I had dreamt of for so long – and yet there was still something missing.

I stayed in my room for the most part of the evenings and felt empty inside. I went out to eat, walked through the little streets of the town and didn’t know what to do with my hands, where to look. I was so self-concious…

I moved to Ko Tao for a few days and experienced even greater anxiety and loneliness. I sometimes went hungry because I didn’t want to go out of my room.

I found that it was difficult for me to strike a conversation with a stranger. I was happy for someone to start talking to me, but I never started talking to anyone else.

When finally a time came for me to go back to Bangkok and from there leave for Melbourne, I was a little relived. Maybe my expectations for Thailand were too high? After the divorce I thought that when I go back to the island, I will party until I drop, will forget everything and won’t care about anything and anyone. I only forgot when I had a few drinks – it was just a temporary solution.

I held to the Special One and memories I had associated with him. I sent him emails with confessions of how much I missed him. I couldn’t even think of him having someone else. I just couldn’t let him go…Why? Because I was lonely and scared, and needed to feel that there was someone looking out for me. I forgot that the only person that can care for me and love me is myself.

The middle – Australia

When I got off the plane in Melbourne I was disappointed. ‘Is this really it?’ I asked myself. I had dreamt of going to Australia since I was a child, and the country turned out to be not that exotic. There was nothing special about it. It looked civilised, nothing what I expected. I couldn’t understand why so many people said to me that Australia was the best country in the world. But, there I was and I was determined to give Australia a chance.

Then, from one day to another I started loving it. I noticed the crazy grafitti, the colourful people, the bars, where you could listen to the live bands. The Great Ocean Road stole my heart, the kangaroos amazed me. There was so much to Australia and that was just the beginning.

Then, I arrived in Sydney and the city, its beaches and architecture just blew my mind. I feel like I’m in love with this place.

But except the sights and nature I experienced something that in today’s world is not that common – hospitality. I met people who opened their homes and hearts to me. They shared what they had and more. They took me everywhere, they showed me their country and told me stories about it. I will be forever grateful for the lesson they gave me.

I have been selfish for most of my life, you see. I tend to think always about myself. I am keen to have guests over, but after awhile I’m just tired with them. It’s hard for me to be generous. I admit that with all my honesty. These people, my friends, showed me that being kind to someone is a wonderful thing. They allowed me to stay with them, not knowing me very well, feeding me and spending their hard earn cash, so I could see their beautiful country. What did they get in return? Nothing! They gained my friendship, love and appreciation, but they didn’t earn any money on it, nor they got any rewards. They are simply kind people. Because they have done so much to me, I want to grow to become a person just like them. I want to help someone when they are in need without thinking of what I can get in return.

I want to be kind to people. I want to start believing that others can be good to you without having an agenda. I want to have that trust in the good.

Firstly, however, I want to be kind to myself. I want to stop criticising myself for everything and feel the guilt I have been feeling for the last few months. I want to let go of my fear and anxiety. If I don’t do it, they I won’t be able to be kind to others and I will get stuck in this horrible place I have been so far.

This is not the end

For the last couple of days I have been feeling less awkward when walking alone, and a little braver. I have embraced the fact that I am in Australia – a land, which is so far away it is hard to reach for most people.

I was walking around the Sydney Harbour today and finally I felt that I was appreciating my surrounds. How long it will last? I don’t know…I’m still worrying about certain things, and about my future. So, I might wake up tomorrow with a fear of the unknown again and will refuse to get out of bed. Who knows…

But I hope this is the beginning of another chapter in my life.