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by Christine Ka’aloa
Before entering the new year, I always make it a ritual of spending time to assess the present year- its highs, lows, lessons and challenges. Then, I set my goals for the future. This time however, my humuna-humuna ritual time was eclipsed by work on New Year’s Eve, fatigue …and the sudden realization that unlike my previous years, I really hadn’t a clue as to how to go about goal setting for this upcoming 2010!
(Fuzzy, vague, dark to pitch black is how the actual picture of 2010 looked…)
2009 Takeaways: Things I learned as a solo traveler
I learned two valuable lessons this year as a beginning solo traveler –
1) Believe in my self resourcefulness and its ability to handle the unknown, and
2) Go with the flow, while trusting things will work out in the way they were meant.
Such lessons are strong reminders to carry in my TRAVEL/LIFE tool belt right now. Why?
Surviving N.Y.C. in 2009 to surviving South Korea in 2010
In saying farewell to 2009, I am closing doors, to a New York/Hawaii lifestyle, career and identity that I have held for several years. Moving to Korea initiates a sparkling clean slate of life, with little to no familiar reference points to connect me to my native self, outside of my laptop and Skype. Talk about a blank canvas.
– Learn how to read and speak the Korean language
– Navigate the daily in’s/out’s and subtleties of Korean culture and etiquette
– Make new friends
– Learn the skills of my new job
– Plan my next solo trip in Asia
… Yup, all of this sounds about right, but for the rest, I’ll have to “adopt a wait and see attitude”…
– Career? …A big bold question mark.
– City I’ll live in? …Placement pending.
– New Job in Korea?…No confirmation yet.
– Depature date (from the U.S.) … sometime in February.
– My U.S. return date? …Up in the air.
– Will I like Korea? …Won’t know until I try.
– Which neighboring country will I make my next solo trip? …Waiting for a name to drop into my head.
Like I said- not a clue…
Experiencing the “new” is definitely a welcome delivery from a worn life, but while it feels exciting and pioneering, it’s also a tad scary.
“Adventure“, “solo travel“, “flexibility”, “open-mindedness” and “trust” are my new keywords for 2010. In starting upon a new life and job in a new country- I want to be open to exploring new avenues and skills, free to follow fresh insights and where they lead. Thus, I’m giving Korea the time frame of a year, with the considerable possibility of an extension.
Alternately, placing my career on hiatus, in exchange for a life abroad, feels like the equivalent of placing a ‘love life’ on hold. Afterall, I love working in the entertainment industry; so, dealing with the career transition in, might be like dealing with a lingering lover that has unresolved issues… What will my new identity be? Will I be able to work a possible 9 to 5 schedule after having been freelance? And a biggie- what will become of my old career when I return to the U.S.?…Let’s roll some dice.
In the best case scenario however, I do wonder if transition will evolve into transformation? Will living abroad inspire a new talent or livelihood? Will I discover a new and better lifestyle fit with Korea? Or will I stumble across a way to make traveling and living abroad a permanent lifestyle?…
For now, the year feels like one big open-ended possibility.
Happy and Safe Travels in 2010!