Thursday, February 27, 2014

One Year Ago Today

Exactly one year ago today, I made a dream come true. After years of wishing, hoping, saving money, and working around obstacles, I boarded a plane and flew away to Malaysia.

What happened next is hard to explain.
  • I did not travel as a tourist. I was visiting my Malaysian friends, staying in their homes and living alongside of them.
  • Although we had been great Facebook friends for several years, I had never met any of these people in person.
  • While I knew that my friends understood and accepted me for who I am, I also knew that I was stepping into a radically different culture, and my assimilation would be an interesting process.
  • I traveled on a one-way ticket. Though I was certainly planning to return home within a few months, a friend advised me to luxuriate in the freedom of an open-ended trip for at least a few weeks before I locked in a return date. Great advice. 
The next two and a half months were among the most intensely challenging and deeply gratifying weeks of my life. I never could have anticipated the emotions of the trip, and I learned more about myself than I ever expected. By the end of my stay, I understood that this was not a one-time visit; somehow, this little country was destined to be part of my future as well.

But on the second evening of my visit, I didn't understand any of that yet. I only knew that I was taking photos with my newly adopted family at the base of the iconic Petronas Towers, breathing in the sweet Malaysian night air and basking in the heady glow of dreams that are coming true.

* * * * * 

In honor of the first anniversary of my amazing trip, I'm gathering up all my stories from my travels and publishing them in a new feature called Me in Malaysia. To find these tales of my amazing adventures, go here:

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