Taiwan That Got Away

by - October 21, 2017

"Some days are for falling in love with people, some days for cities, and some days for your time in solitude."—Akif Kichloo

This trip didn't start out so well.

As I queued for the airport document check, I felt a rise of panic slowly conquering me. It was so crowded that night. Suddenly there was a big lump in my chest, and I started sweating coldly. I was restlessly fidgeting to calm myself a little and thought, "Is this what anxiety feels like?". For a second, I considered going back home, just stay in my room, play my ukulele, and forget all about this trip. But no, I fight the urge to back down and forced myself to keep going. Luckily, it was my turn.

After getting my boarding pass checked, I got held up by a staff due to excess baggage which I thought could be an excuse or a sign for me to not go. Still, I battled and resist. So I paid the amount and continued my journey. (It was entirely my fault as I did not bother weighing my things before I left home. Lesson learnt number one.) 

Made it to the boarding gate, but still feeling jittery.
It's amazing how in a split second, our brain can come up with an entire conversation. I imagined my friends asking me, "Why are you back here? I thought you were going to Taiwan? What happened?" And what would I say? "Ummm. I had a panic attack." Is that it? No, definitely no. The moment I booked my tickets, I already chose to embark on this solo adventure.

Arrived safe and sound. MRT station at the airport.

It was raining and I didn't have any umbrella.
First meal in Taiwan. Yes, I know. I felt nervous so I just sat in the corner and wrote something down. Helps me lessen the anxiety.

At the bus stop, waiting under the night sky's downpour.

Funny, how this isn't my first time going on a solo trip, yet I still felt very anxious about it. But as I am writing this, back home and in the comfort of my room, I cannot fathom the sense of fulfillment I am feeling after this one big leap of faith.

A lot of things didn't go exactly as planned. A typhoon ihovering around the country, trails got closed, cancelled train tickets, missed out train/bus stations, language barrier, left out a few spots. But as the saying goes, "If plan A didn't work, the alphabet has 25 more letters. Stay cool." And, I did; not letting a single mishap ruin the trip.

Whatever mishaps may had happened, the general experience couldn't be outweighed furthermore. I talked to locals, mastered the act of asking strangers to take my photos, learning how to sweetly smile towards the confused look on people whenever they saw me using my gorillapod, eating where locals (I assume) would do, upping my selfie game, discovering little nooks, parks, art spaces, galleries, and bookstores, hopping on train stations, meeting incredible people with and without the same interests as mine, learning their history, and exhausting my feet until there is nothing more to discover that day.

It is true what they say that when you travel alone, you get to know yourself better. I could not agree more. Solitude was the kind of freedom that I needed.

Taiwan was a surprising experience, in between of its buzzing city lights and seemly surrounding peaks. I am glad I won over myself just to see this country, and perhaps next time, I will be exploring of the mountains more. But for now, let me tell you first of how my solo days went by, of the things I've seen, I've felt, immersed and maybe, some of the magic in between.

Always for love, all ways..,

Raine xx

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