But, as I try to explain to hesitant friends and family, I'm never actually alone (unless of course I want to be - another great perk of solo travel). Traveling alone is not only one of the best things I've ever done, but also one of the easiest and least scary ways to travel - despite what it may seem to the unfamiliar.
Living and traveling in Southeast for over a year, the name Koh Phi Phi
(or Phi Phi Island) came up enough times to make me realize I had to see what the hype was all about.
(pronounced Pee-Pee) was made famous by the backpacker book and movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio "The Beach". Since then, hoards of tourists flock to get a piece of what once was the undiscovered paradise as described in the story, making it not-so undiscovered anymore.
Typical Phi Phi backpacker tales involve drunken escapades amongst an idyllic setting. While some claim Phi Phi has been ruined by the crowds, most travelers would agree that despite the hot commodity the island has become, it would be a crime to skip over such a paradise.
Over summer holiday, I traveled around Asia for a couple months. Pretty soon upon departure, I knew I was hooked, and I wouldn't be able to go home without seeing more of this continent. I remember distinctly it was on those long night buses in Vietnam that I began devising what would become my current long-term travel plan. The girl I met & traveled in Vietnam with and I even began discussing the possibility of an India trip together.
Once I moved to Ubon, my sole pre-occupation and determination to stick out the semester was to save money for the biggest trip of my life yet. Although I made sure not to sacrifice having fun, I had a very clear goal of mind of saving money, and stuck to it. Although the school canteen was without a doubt the worst food I've had in Thailand (..or in life), the free price had me coming back for more. Often the only money I'd exchange during the work week was a 30 baht dinner. I had after-school tutoring for extra cash, allowing me to mainly refrain from touching my Thai account.