Today it has officially been three years since I published my fist post on Adventures Around Asia. How crazy is that??!!
As I spent the evening packing for my trip to Cambodia tomorrow, I thought about how much has changed in the last three years. My life is so completely different now than it was back then. As I’ve grown, by blog has too. Through the ups and downs of life in China, this blog has been with me the entire way.
To celebrate three years of blogging, I decided to talk a bit about all the things that have changed since my very first post.
Three years ago I wrote my first post sitting on my bed in Seattle, trying to imagine what my life in China would be like. I still remember writing that first post like it was yesterday. A part of me wants to delete it because it’s absolutely horrible (don’t believe me? check it out… actually, no please don’t). But another part of me likes having my whole story from the beginning. My whole life for the last three years is documented on this blog!
Three years ago I had signed up to study abroad in two different Chinese cities for a total of seven months. I was excited beyond words, but also terrified. I had never been to Asia before, and for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to spend over half a year living in China?! All of my friends had gone back to school while I was still waiting for my adventure to start. When I wrote my first post, China was still a few weeks away. It felt like I’d never leave!
Three years ago if you had told me I would be living in China getting my master’s degree at a British university there’s no way I would have believed you. I’ve been living in China on and off for almost exactly two full years now (approximately 23.5 months in case you were wondering). While it hasn’t always been easy, I can’t imagine living my life any other way!
Three years ago I booked my first hostel. I was about to spend a week in South Korea visiting my Korean exchange student friend. While I could stay with her for the first few days, I had to find a different place to stay for the rest of the week. I had never stayed in a hostel before, and I had never traveled on my own, even in the USA! I remember my mom and I spent a few hours researching hostels, trying to find the best one. I was too scared to stay in a dorm room with strangers, so I booked a single. I can’t believe I spent so much money!
Three years later I’m about to embark on a two-week solo trip to Cambodia, with nothing booked but the first two nights in Phnom Penh. I plan on staying exclusively in hostel dorms, for about $5 a night. While I’m a little nervous, I’m confident that I’ll be able to get around Cambodia on my own, and I’m sure I’ll make a lot of friends along the way. I can’t believe that three years ago I was the girl who was afraid to stay at a fancy hostel in Myeongdong by myself, even though I knew I had a friend to meet up with!
Three years ago I was heartbroken. I had just broken up with my serious long-distance boyfriend, because I chose travel over love. I was a complete mess. Our post-relationship friendship had become toxic, and it was weighing me down. I was even planning on meeting him in Korea (the original reason I bought the ticket), but our strained relationship caused him to change his plans and head back to Australia early. I was devastated, but now I know it was definitely for the best.
It’s three years later and I’m still single living in China! I have much more self confidence than I did back then. I’ve discovered what I want out of a relationship, and I now know that breaking up to travel the world was the best decision I have ever made. I know I need a partner who is just as crazy and adventurous as me. Someone who will push me to follow my dreams, and will never make me choose between travel and a relationship.
Three years ago I thought I’d come back home to America and get a “real job”. I pictured myself working in an office, doing something with international affairs and Chinese. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but I figured I’d probably end up back in America. I’d use my degree to get a great job with a good salary, probably in Washington DC. I’d climb up the corporate ladder because I’m decently smart and ambitious, and that’s what girls like me do. Over time I’d study for the GRE and attend grad school, most likely while working a full-time job, because grad school in America is expensive.
Looking back, I’m glad I decided to leap off the beaten path and come to China. While I definitely may end up in a corporate job someday (I actually don’t completely hate working in an office, unlike 99.9% of travel bloggers), I know I’m happy living abroad for now. While it’s hard to be away from my family and friends, and it’s tough to start over every year, I’m not ready to go home yet. My insatiable wanderlust addiction has kept me in Asia for two years, and has definitely claimed at least one more. There are so many places I still have to explore, how can I go back to a corporate job with two weeks of vacation time a year?
Three years ago, the only people reading my blog were my parents and a few friends. I was excited to have my blog featured on my study abroad website, and jumped for joy every time I got a comment… which wasn’t often. My blog was ugly and I had no idea what I was doing. My first few posts are embarrassing, but I like to think my blog has grown and matured along with me.
Three years ago I had no idea travel blogs existed. I didn’t realize it was possible to make money off a blog, and I didn’t know bloggers actually created self-hosted websites. I had no clue that other bloggers were creating beautiful websites and building Facebook and Twitter followings. I just wrote because I liked sharing my experience with others.
It wasn’t until last spring that I stumbled on the world of travel blogging, and decided to create a self-hosted website. “adventuresaroundasia.wordpress.com” became “adventuresaroundasia.com” and my life hasn’t been the same since! My blog has completely taken over my life. While things have been a bit more stressful, it’s also been very exciting to see so many new readers! In all honesty, I still get excited whenever I see a new comment or email. I’ve also been getting approached for various business collaborations, which is something I never in a million years thought would happen.
I think it’s safe to say a lot has changed in the last three years. If anything, this blog is a record of my life. Whether it’s crazy culture shock moments, my struggles living abroad or amazing adventures around Asia, it’s all here.