elephant nature park chiang mai

Or rather, how this unplanned venture throughout SE Asia has changed mine.

If you follow me on Instagram (@amy_marietta) then you know I have been traveling throughout SE Asia for about 2 months now to countries including Bali, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Australia – I have many stories to come… What you might not know is that the only preparation I did for this trip was researching countries in SE Asia, making some Pinterest boards of potential destinations and watching every Anthony Bourdain episode on SE Asia to get a visual understanding of what to expect in certain cities.

Then I made a list of places I wanted to explore and flew off to Bali to begin this life changing adventure. Solely 1 ticket booked and a carry on suitcase that carried the clothes I was to shoot a campaign for, my camera, wallet, passport and phone. (Empty suitcase = more shopping).

So how has this unplanned trip changed my life so far?

  1. I have become more open minded, easy going and spontaneous. I’ve previously always been obsessed with my “to do lists” and calendars – having every single move planned down to the minute to maximize ultimate efficiency. But there is a time and place for everything and sometimes you just need to chill out and let things happen because you never know what awesome people you will meet along your journey. The best and most unforgettable moments are usually unplanned and spontaneous.
    ha long bay
  2. I started living for myself, became more independent and stopped relying on other people. If you want to go somewhere, then YOU need to book it and figure out the logistics. You realize how in control of your life you are and that no one else is to blame for where you end up. elephant nature park
  3. This spontaneous trip taught me what I live for and how I want to live my life. You truly understand what you live for when you remove yourself from your comfort zone and daily routine, wake up in a foreign place and are honest with yourself about what it is you love to do. When you wake up – what is the first thing that comes to mind? How do you want to spend your day? What makes you feel alive and fulfilled? What are some of your life goals and why? Traveling and being forced to make your own choices helps you get a better understanding of the way your mind works and what drives you. I personally know that I live to create content – all types – and I have known this for years. Rather, I HAVE to create content. I love using my images and stories to share my experiences to inspire others one way or another; whether it is to travel somewhere or helping them find what they love to do or maybe a style they want to try. I love producing content that makes people feel, and this is something that I am continuously evolving.                                      — This image below is from a campaign I shot for Sulu Collection in Chiang Mai, Thailand while also working with the Four Seasonssulu x four seasons chiang mai
  1. This trip taught me that I need to explore the unfamiliar more often. While in Cambodia I discovered an island I had never heard of before through the locals. It wasn’t a destination included in all the “Top 10 Places You Need To Visit” lists, it wasn’t easy to get to, and I wasn’t sure if it would be worth it because there weren’t a lot of photos online. This island is called Koh Rong Samloem and it was the most beautiful scene I had ever laid eyes on. The feeling I felt when the boat pulled up felt like I had just discovered a whole new world. I love being able to share this gem with you and hopefully inspire you to go see this majestic slice of heaven. I want to find more islands and places that aren’t on Huff Po’s top 10 list, seek out new and untouched places and share them with the world. koh rong samloem
  2. I discovered talents I never knew I had. Body surfing, dirt biking, hiking, rock climbing, playing pool, bowling tipsy – never knew I had these hidden talents but I thoroughly enjoy them. Travel teaches you what you love because you find out what inspires you each morning. I didn’t plan on all of the activities I participated in, but I loved almost every adventure and made an attempt to rock climb more after I realized I loved the thrill. I encourage you to try more, do more and push yourself more. This photo below was from my day of dirt biking through the mountains of Cambodia. dirt biking
  3.  We are all in this together. I met so many amazing individuals on this trip and the one thing all travelers have in common is that they love to live, learn and share experiences. We are all bound by this beautiful mentality. I made friends with some people who had also booked last minute tickets, had no plans, but have been exploring for 9 months… You make so many friends along the way and share experiences with them that you will never forget. It’s these types of beautiful things that one can’t plan. This image below is from one of the most unforgettable nights I spent drinking wine and exchanging stories at Utopia – an eclectic lounge in Luang Prabang, Laos – with some beautiful humans I will remain friends with for years:) utopia
  4. I still have so much to see – this is just the beginning. I’m grateful that I started this curious adventure at a young age and I encourage you to do the same. Stop making excuses and just do it. Travel while you’re young -before you have kids – and then continue to travel once you do. It’s never too late but the world is so vast so stop putting the adventures off. There is so much to see and so many people to meet – start now. luang prabang laos
  5. Stop complaining, life is short. Traveling to multiple different countries really put things into perspective for me. I saw people with almost nothing, but they are genuinely happy and grateful for every single thing. We should embrace each day and be thankful to be alive in this wondrous world, no matter our situation. Make the best of it and spread good vibes.
  6. This also helped me realize what kind of people I want to surround myself with because I recognized how many people are out there and how one should not limit themselves or settle for those who don’t enhance one’s life. Why waste time with those who don’t lift you up? I solely want to be surrounded by those with positive outlooks, those who lift me up and inspire me and I want to do the same for them. Energy is everything. 12957561_10207429209502895_3250471349954829542_o
  7. Last minute, spontaneous trips are easier these days because the internet is here to help us. I quickly learned to love the flexibility and freedom of being able to book flights and hotels the day of or the night before. When you’re traveling light and are open to the adventure – anything is possible. An unplanned trip gives you the option to book one ways whenever and wherever you want to go. My favorite and most used sites that help plan quick accommodations are Travelocity, Skyscanner and Agoda. Check out more Travelocity deals on Groupon Coupons for last minute savings:)

Go book a last minute trip and see where it takes you, I promise you won’t be disappointed. The world is so vast and there are so many adventures to be had.