Discovering Yourself Outside of your Comfort Zone

Discovering Yourself Outside of your Comfort Zone

Elizabeth Pasquale

Southeast Asia 2017

All images have been provided by Elizabeth. Read her story below!

My name is Liz Pasquale and I recently graduated from Suffolk University with a B.A. in International Relations. I have a Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and I have a passion for art, the outdoors, and connecting with people.

In the Spring of 2017, I was at a crossroads in my life. I had just decided to take a gap semester from college and I knew I wanted to do something different, something bold. I came across Rustic Pathways online, and after a lot of sweet talk, I was finally able to convince my family to let me fly halfway across the world for three months (and I am forever grateful they agreed).

Ha Long Bay

Sitting on the top deck of a houseboat in Ha Long Bay as the morning fog rolled by, I looked down at the crystal blue water and was suddenly overwhelmed by gratitude. I knew in that moment that I was experiencing something incredible, something that most people will never get a chance to experience in their lifetime, and I promised myself that I was not going to take a second of this trip for granted.

What ensued was three months of non-stop adventures with a group of incredible people; from sharing the sunrise over Angkor Watt, to harvesting Yuca in Vietnam, zip-lining past massive waterfalls in Laos, to eating Pho in the heart of Hanoi (just to name a few). Because of Rustic’s close relationships with the communities they operate within, we were able to stay in unbelievable places; from the floating villages in Cambodia, to a monastery in Myanmar, to a treehouse hidden in the jungle of Laos.

Harvesting Yuca

During my trip, I became extremely close with our group leaders, RJ and Kristen, who pushed our group to engage in critical conversations about the importance of traveling responsibly and the difference between being a traveler and a tourist. Our group leaders helped us to let go of any preconceived notions and anxieties we had about the trip and were staunchly dedicated to preserving the safety and wellbeing of each and every member of our group.

With Rustic Pathways, I was able to visit incredible places and experience once-in-a-lifetime moments every single day. With each new place we explored, I discovered more and more about myself; pushing myself out of my comfort zone and embracing every opportunity to learn and grow.

Biking in Laos

On my long flight back to the United States, I thought about the girl that I was when I left for my trip 3 months before; brimming with excitement and nerves, armed with a journal and a camera.

The girl that returned had a backpack full of memories, new friends all around the globe, and was bolder, brighter, and more sure of herself than before. I am so thankful for my opportunity to travel Southeast Asia with Rustic Pathways, and I would recommend the experience wholeheartedly to anyone seeking adventure and personal growth.

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