Circle profile.png

Hi.

I'm Stephanie Lee. I like to write about all sorts of things. Remember, nothing is foolproof to the sufficiently talented fool.

Reflecting on the other side

Reflecting on the other side

Wooden roof details at Engyoji Temple, Himeji

Wooden roof details at Engyoji Temple, Himeji

Since embarking on solo travel, I've been fascinated by those people I meet who seem to enjoy it so much. These seeming nomads captivate me with their stories as I meet them on my own solo journey. These nomads are content to spend their days mostly alone in strange cities and destinations, to explore in their own time and in their own way.

Don't get me wrong, I am thoroughly enjoying having only to worry about my own time, at the whim of only my desires to explore or not. The endless minutes and hours to spend as you please suit me perfectly in my quest to improve my photography skills. Despite being more a loner than a social butterfly, I'll admit that travelling solo has it down sides. Apparently my Dad reads a lot of blogs as he said with conviction that plenty of people have written posts in this vein, but I'll take it in my stride and persist, if only to relieve my brain of some swirling thoughts.

Travelling is a great gift and privilege for which I am so grateful. There are so many places I have been so far in my 26 years that even sometimes I am amazed. I've only two continents to visit before I can tick of the complete seven, and after July only the great Antarctic mass will remain.

For me, travelling enables you to express the purest form of oneself, especially when travelling alone. Being removed from the context in which you usually exist, and away from those people who know your history and expect you to behave in a certain way, is entirely liberating. With every person you meet, it is possible to put forth a version of yourself that is not tainted by these familiarities and expectations - you can just be 'you' without question. 

Recently, my life has had somewhat of an upheaval from the path on which it was travelling, to be completely supplanted onto another path that is, for the time being, considerably less clear. This fact enables me to once again reflect on who I am, who I am becoming and the type of person I aspire to be. Being removed from the aforementioned familiarities and expectations of home is essential to allowing my identity to develop and consolidate before once again returning to the context from whence I came.

Self reflection while appreciating an actual reflection in Himeji Castle moat

Self reflection while appreciating an actual reflection in Himeji Castle moat

However, being alone in strange places gets tiring. Unsurprisingly, it can also get incredibly lonely, despite meeting plenty of transient travellers along the way. To be alone with only your thoughts for hours, days on end can get exhausting, let alone having to organise logistics like travel and lunch. I've also contemplated purchasing a selfie stick to make those 'happy' snaps easier to snap.

There is nothing I crave for more right now than to be with someone who has known me longer than a few days - someone with whom formalities of name, age, nationality, occupation, life purpose were exchanged long ago. Someone with whom to share old jokes and common memories. Someone who knows me well enough to be able to sit in a long, pleasant silence to contemplate our separate thoughts side by side.

Perhaps in a month's time when I'm reunited with some familiar faces I'll crave for this seeming solitude once more. But right now, I'm looking forward to a bear hug from my brother.

The photos on this post are just a selection from recent snaps on my travels of places conducive to much self-reflection...

SL x.

Torii at Ise Geku Shrine

Torii at Ise Geku Shrine

Looking out over the rooftops, Ise

Looking out over the rooftops, Ise

Impossible wall, Himeji Castle

Impossible wall, Himeji Castle

Arrow slit, Himeji Castle

Arrow slit, Himeji Castle

Waterlily at Kokoen, Himeji

Waterlily at Kokoen, Himeji

Travel: Hiroshima

Travel: Hiroshima

In the weeds

In the weeds