I Learn To Go Alone

This is the story of a girl who traveled the world, alone. No it's, and's or but's. She's brave, poetic, and badass. This is Jen Yih. Check out her story in our latest issue, 004 Revelation. But for now, here's a taste.

 

Words: Jen Yih

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It’s the year of the woman. Can’t you feel it? All around the world, we’re coming together, rising up with voice, redefining what it means to be female. This is an era of change. This is an era for her.

It was the summer of 2015 when I sat at my aunt’s dining room table overlooking San Francisco’s Embarcadero. We were sipping coconut water and waiting for the rice to cook. She had recently lost her husband after more than 40 years of marriage, and had just returned from a proper globe trot to more countries than I can remember. We had that in common, travel—that persistent urge to displace ourselves to ultimately discover and rediscover the self. Of course she missed her husband, but she said something to me that I’ll never forget:

“No matter what you do, where you go, or who you fall asleep next to, everyone comes into this world alone and leaves alone.”

Her comments on this perpetual "alone-ness" really resonated with me. I never thought of myself as a loner or lonely or alone, but the more I thought about it, the more sense it made to me—especially the more I traveled,

experienced, fell in love, had my heart broken, made friends, lost friends, lost people, changed cities, depended on myself and so on. She was simplystating the fact that this human experience is a very singular one. Even in a sea of people, everyone feels, sees, thinks and experiences things uniquely. No imprint or person is the same. It dawned on me that this lonesomeness is why nonverbal expressions like music or art even exist. We’re desperately trying to understand the self and communicate with each other; in hopes that our message will unite us. It’s why we gravitate to people with similar interests, because we're trying to understand and be understood. But at the end of the day, no one is going to ever fully understand the beauty of your own originality.

I traveled the world for more than 200 days this year. I took advantage of our digital era and decided to write and publish the life-changing adventure. Along the way, I received uplifting and inspiring messages from people who also broke routine and packed their bags to chase an original life. What people didn’t see beyond Instagram is that I left my job, sold most of my things, packed my bags and went alone.

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Read more in Issue 004 Revelation