I was a stranger to solo backpacking until 3 years ago and it changed my life.
It transformed my view of who people were around the world and who I was.
It pushed me to talk to people who I would have been too scared to and it pushed me to my limits and made me a more compassionate person.
Ever since my backpacking trip after my college graduation, I fell in love with Thailand, its people, traveling as a lifestyle, and it shaped me into somebody who was fearless, always seeking adventure, and not afraid to do what she wanted to do in life.
My trip also included stops in Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong, but what I remember the most were the two people that I met in Thailand that changed my life.
The Japanese Chef Who Worked 6 Months in Hell and Spent 6 Months in Heaven
When I first landed in my hostel in Bangkok in my first week, I had a conversation with a Japanese chef that changed my life.
I asked him how he was able to finance all his trips, and he said to me
"I work 6 months in hell and live 6 months in paradise"
This struck me as I was a fresh new college grad expecting to just go to a regular 9-5 job.
Never had I realized that I could work to supplement my life style.
I knew that chefs had a difficult time at work, but I realized that with a lot of planning, I could plan my own life too, and that taking some trips one month out of the year would absolutely change my work life.
I wouldn't have to wait until retirement to travel like my grandmother did and I would be able to travel when I was physically able to withstand more adventures and fun.
How I Met My Thai Sister from Another Mother
I met my Thai sister from another mother ALSO from a hostel, by simply saying hi to her in the bathroom.
Aeh was one of the most friendly people I had met in Thailand and I honestly would have no idea what to do had I not met her when I did.
She asked me if I wanted to come join her at a visa run in Thailand and I decided that yes I would.
That visa run turned into her teaching me about Thailand and where to go have fun and her also helping me book a lot of trips.
I was also able to take a cooking class while she took some advanced Thai massage classes, so when she went back to London her skills would have improved.
I am immensely grateful that she took me from somebody who thought she was going to get killed while traveling to somebody who absolutely embraces solo backpacking.
For that I am immensely grateful for her and we still keep in contact on Facebook, and had I not ventured out of my comfort zone I would have never met her.
How Travel Led Me to Starting My Own Business
While I was traveling I realized how possible it was for business owners to take their business mobile and travel while helping others.
Before my travels to Thailand, I never realized that I could actually start a business anywhere and work from my computer.
I did do a bit of work while I was in Thailand but I was quite distracted at the time, so as an employee I wasn't the greatest in the world, but reading about the entrepreneurs that I looked up to and me being in the exact same places at times really inspired me.
Thailand is a great place for digital nomads who love the cheaper accommodations as compared to the west, and I am definitely planning my retirement somewhere in Southeast Asia--the food was absolutely amazing, it showed me how friendly people can be, and how the same things can cost so much less in another part of the world. I am a huge fan of Thailand's laid back lifestyles and I am looking forward to going back there again and again.
And for that I want to thank the two people who changed my life that I met while traveling.
Do you have any stories of people who deeply touched you while traveling? Comment with your thoughts!
About the Author
Li Lin is a native Shanghainese who moved to the US in 2000. She hasa passion for traveling, writing, business, and cats.You can read more about her at www.Li-Lin.Net !