It was my sophomore year of college, sitting in the kitchen of my run-down house that I moved into after reasoning the dorm prices were unreasonable. The weather was cold, my terrible roommates weren’t home, and that meant blasting “Best of French Pop”, watered down hot chocolate, and a bowl of cheap ramen noodles that I had bought in bulk and had grown to resent. You see, in college, everyone pushes ramen on you like it’s the holy grail of cheap foods. And what you quickly learn is eating ramen every day quickly grows old. Not just old, but think sodium overkill, blandest of carbs, even if you spice it up you can’t get the cheap chicken stock taste out of your mouth – old.
I was looking down at my bowl of ramen and struggling to convince myself to eat another bite when a thought occurred to me. “What if I quit my job, dropped out of college, and backpacked through Asia?” A rational person would have said, “That’s crazy.” And that’s precisely what my mother did when I told her my plan.
I set my plan into motion. Buying plane tickets, quitting my job, finishing the last few weeks of the semester and withdrawing, obtaining visas, forming an elaborate plan through Southeast Asia that included a month in China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. I realized how much that would cost and after looking at my bank account, simplified the plan a little bit; China, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia.
Now a fun fact about me, I LOVE cooking. And when I was 10 years old I started a desserts blog that ended up being stupidly successful. To date, it has 151, 311 page views on about 30 posts with recipes written by a 10-year-old. The quality is about what you’d expect from a 5th grader. So when I checked the blog recently and saw it’s success, my head didn’t just explode, it systematically poured gasoline on itself and grabbed a blowtorch.
I needed a way to document my food experiences while traveling (because I knew I was going to eat WEIRD food), and thought about the pure luck of 10-year-old me. If 5th grade me could be more successful on the internet than 14th grade me then maybe something needed to change. I decided then that I was going to live a life that was Bigger Than Ramen. I was going to eat better, I was going to learn how to cook new foods, I was going to go to ice castles, live in monasteries, eat bugs, go to raves on islands, get a scuba diving license, hike the most dangerous hike in the world, and so much more.
If you want to see how a college kid goes from eating ramen in their small rural town to navigating the eastern world as a solo female traveler, I will be documenting my travels living Bigger Than Ramen here! Expect to see posts weekly as I document my journey starting January until whenever I decide to come home.