_ I am utterly terrified of international travel. I know, this is a preposterous statement coming from someone who has been happily country hopping for the past five months, and still can't seem to get enough of it. With a slew of transcontinental flights behind me you'd think I'd be used to it by now, but no. I've established a freak out routine that is becoming tradition. It's not the foreign country part of even the plane itself-the airport is my second home and I would live in the air if I could. My paralyzing anxiety lies with the "oohhh shoot I have a one-way ticket outta here" realization and resides somewhere between the "I'm traveling alone to a foreign country" and "I have no idea when I will return home" sentiments.

I have been tempted to hide from airport gates or burst out of my plane seat, running towards solid land convinced this bird will crash, but somehow the curiosity of what awaits me on the other end always pulls me through.

Last time, I was sure my Qantas flight was going down somewhere mid Hawaii and Papeete and I would be forevermore a Pacific refugee grilling hand-caught fish over a fire. This time it's Asia. Everything about the place terrifies me and until a year ago I never fathomed a visit to the land of Eastern Exotics. Now here I am chasing my fears, enamored with the beautiful Buddhist culture, bare beaches and tasty Thai food. 

The reality of it all hit me about a week ago. I was counting down the days until my Asian escapades. Then, the what ifs began bubbling up. What if I get stuck in Asia and can never return to the United States? What if I never meet anyone and have to travel alone through a new culture and new city? What if my finger gets chopped off like in the Hangover II? Haha just kidding! What it all comes down to is nothing but illogical rubbish. Of course I will make friends, the traveling world is one of instant BFF status-even if you don't try to make friends you will still have several people flocking to get to know you. It's impossible to get rid of them. And of course I will not get stuck in Asia that's just absurd. I've got the US government and six years of swimming lessons on my side. I keep reminding myself of the slew of pre-trip articles I browsed claiming Southeast Asia to be one of the safest places for females to travel. If the experts can do it, I can do it! So here I am finally fearless, halfway to Bangkok, completely exhilarated and ready for the world to bring it on.