The scariest thing I’ve ever done is also the best decision I have ever made.
I came across Bamboo on social media about a month prior to the night I took the leap of faith. After some research, a little soul searching, and a lot of courage: I held my breath, closed my eyes and hit send.
“I’m going to Thailand!”
For close to ten months I was in semi-constant correspondence with one of the girls in the office. She saved my life on a few occasions when I would be panicking over the weight of the decision I made. Luckily, I had opportunity to meet her face to face over a cup of coffee at Fat Panda’s while I was in Siem Reap. Judging by the kindness and patience she showed me, I knew I had found something special.
My family though, they took a little extra convincing.
Even at 31 years old, my parents were worried about their youngest child trekking off to Asia on what seemed to be a whim. The closer my departure date got, the more of a nuisance they became. Every day was a new extreme example of “What if…?” and my brother made sure I knew that he “had a very special set of skills” and he would use them if need be.
So I designed a plan that would keep them involved and allow them to know
I was okay whilst on the other side of the world. They needed a sign to make them feel better. Before you think I’m crazy and rambling on about the universe and all of its mysterious ways, I mean an ACTUAL sign. Everywhere I went during my Bamboo adventure I held up a physical sign that said: “MOM & DAD: I’M OK”
From the Captain’s chair of the first plane in Memphis, Tennessee to buckets and scorpions in Bangkok on Kho San Road, elephant snuggles in Surin, Angkor Wat at sunrise and the Tomb Raider Temple, just to name a few.
It became a game. I wanted as many pictures with it as possible. I explained my sign and my mission to my tour mates. Needless to say, they were more than supportive – and almost all of them sent the message back to their parents as well. Word spread like wildfire throughout the Bamboo community and I became “The Girl With the Sign”. It’s cool. I can dig it.
Traveling across the world alone can be very scary. That’s the beauty of Bamboo: you’re never actually alone. I travelled everywhere with my sixteen new best friends and two local guides that not only showed us how and where to have fun, they also gave us an insight to their cultures. As the straggler of the group who was always wandering off (shiny things!) I can promise you, they find you and they make sure everyone sticks together. Plus, the strangers that start off as your tour mates almost instantly become family. It’s so funny to look at our first picture together as group: so stiff and recognizing personal boundaries.
Fast forward to the end of the trip, it appears as though we have been old friends our entire lives… and that’s exactly what we are now: old friends that I will have the rest of my life.
The same applies to the guides. With warm hearts, big smiles and lots of patience, they looked after the group in its entirety. They hit the town with us and showed us the night life – then showed us local hangover remedies and sweat it out with us trudging all over city, soaking up the rich history these beautiful countries have to offer. Days off from work are full of tours and activities that fully submerged me into life in Southeast Asia. It wasn’t always easy, but it was always a learning experience.
Having the opportunity for global community service is a blessing and a curse. I always had a hint of wanderlust, but it’s different now. My soul is a raging fire that is in love with places I’ve never been and people I’ve never met. Every single second of my opportunity with Bamboo has shown me exactly what I have always suspected: there is a great big world out there and I want to touch it all.
Most importantly, it taught me that I’M OK.
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