When you are given permission by society to travel by yourself as a woman

travel-alone-womanI’m a coward.

I’ve known this for a long time. It’s hard to get out of cowardly habits quite frankly. I was definitely one of those people who cared incredibly too much what other people thought.

But let me first tell you about my mom, the one person who inspires me.

She is fearless. She may say otherwise, but to me, she is the bravest person in the world.

It is bravery to travel and live abroad with two children by yourself not once, but twice. I could not have possibly done it.

That being said, growing up I was always told to be careful because it was dangerous for a woman to be told to travel alone. There was an increase in human trafficking, reports of rape and murder, etc…

This was drilled into my head as a young age. My father was definitely nervous one about it all. I’m sure we all have had this experience.

I may have been hard-headed about a lot of things, but I took this seriously. I knew that this happened. I wasn’t that stupid of a kid not to listen.

All of a sudden, blog posts, youtube videos, tweets…have all been talking about traveling alone. This is not just getting on a plane by yourself to meet others at the destination. This is to travel by yourself. Sightsee by yourself. Get a hotel room by yourself.

Now you must understand, I didn’t get it. For one thing, money. But another thing: isn’t that sort of dangerous? I thought.

But then, I just think about my mom traveling across the world to a foreign country with two young kids. I’ve had an example, among others, of a woman being bold enough to have an adventure despite the naysayers. What’s different now?

Validation. The world is finally given some indication that it is actually okay to travel and explore on your own…and that average people can do it!

I shouldn’t have needed it. Like I said, I’m a bit of a coward. But I’m glad there are other fabulous women like my mother who travel to follow in their footsteps.

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Prepare to Live Abroad (For the Disorganized)

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So, I’m packing for my big move to Japan that will happen in a few months (Whoop Whoop!). So, much to do in so little time!

Pretty soon, I’ll start a career overseas. I will be the renaissance, carefree black magical curly- haired woman I have imagined myself to be ever since I was a young girl. (Well, not the curly-haired part. We may talk later about my once-upon-a-time inferiority complex of my now loved curls to the once adored idea of having straight Euro-centric hairstyles.)

Anyway.

Besides the stress for the most obvious preparation checkpoints (visa documentation, plane ticket, brush up on my language skills), there is a much deeper concern here.

I’m not a planner.

This, you may say, is no big deal. Just get a planner.

As a soon-to-be instructor of the English language to those who are learning the language as a secondary language, I need to get my ish together.

mess

Well, this is my journey I have been steadily attempting to wrestle with for the past several years, and there are some things I a slowly am figuring out for myself.

Let me share.

Desk Calendars/ White Boards

Now, I hear all of the praise of the use of a daily planner. All the time, my mother tells me to write things down to remind me of dates and times that have been scheduled.

But who will remind me to look at my planner? No one will be there to remind me months from now when I am living in a foreign country on my own.

More recently, I realized that I needed visual reminders. Therefore, I have a couple of wall calendars on the wall above my bed. That way, I don’t have to search to look at any scheduled appointments. Everything would be right in my face. No excuses.

A white board is great for many things. But for me, I decided to buy two small boards from the dollar store. With one, I create a daily to-do list. This helps me organize my thoughts so that I am not overwhelmed.

I also created a done-list with the other. Many times I am not done with all of the tasks that I have set for myself for the day. Seeing the done list reminds me of my productivity and not to be so hard on myself.

Down-sizing

I realized that I cannot own too many things. Honestly, I do not have a knack for organizing and decorating. I have too many things in my possession for no reason, and at times, I cannot figure out a way to have some organization that is functional.

My solution? Give everything away.

I can’t say I’m going the minimalist route (I have nurtured an alarming obsession with buying books). Many things may have to stay in storage during my time abroad (i.e. book collection).

As far as moving abroad, it’s best to pack the necessities. The general rule: if it’s something that can be bought at your destination and/or it is not a thing of high importance, don’t bring it.

I’m pretty sure there are more things to share with my fellow disorganized wanderers.