Needing to take time off to find yourself is a common trope that’s been thrown around increasingly these days, especially among young people, and it’s one I didn’t necessarily agree with. I believe that who you are is the summation of the choices you make, each one slowly chipping away the parts of yourself you’ve grown out of, revealing something new and less brittle underneath. But after putting together this issue, I’ve come to realize that getting away from everything you’ve ever known, dealing with this primal fear of unfamiliarity, and truly spending some time alone or with complete strangers can expedite this process.
Admittedly, it’s not an experience I can personally vouch for myself—every vacation I’ve gone on has either been with family or with a carefully planned itinerary (with pocket money!) on a press junket. While I’m always incredibly grateful for any opportunity to travel, I’ve never thrown myself headlong into anything remotely adventurous, unlike the writers for this month’s Travel issue.
From Vinny Tagle’s spontaneous backpacking experience around South America to Amanda Lago’s many close calls, being stranded and penniless in a foreign country, the stories they’ve brought back from their travels are exhilarating, at times frustrating, and sort of make me feel that I haven’t lived yet.
This feeling was reinforced during my interviews with designer Johann Manas and our cover girl, the beguiling June Marieezy. Though completely different individuals with totally different stories, both share a common experience of deciding to leave home in order to take root in places where they discovered they could be themselves. Before making the move to Tokyo, Johann was the owner of a food cart business in Manila, and when June left Dallas, Texas for the Philippines at 15, she was a regular Asian-American teenager in high school. If they hadn’t left home, would Johann have discovered that he could be a designer with his own label? Would June eventually find herself onstage at the 2012 South by Southwest Music Festival?
So if you’re starting to feel that you’re stuck in a place between going after what you want and doing what other people think you should, or if you’re starting to feel you’re in a state of creative stagnation, book a plane ticket and get lost. As the voices in this issue will tell you, it’s not as scary (or expensive!) as it sounds, and more often than not, you’ll come back with answers to questions you didn’t even know you had.
and the Scout team We’re always looking for interns and new contributors for the magazine! If you want to be part #TeamScout, shoot me an email at email@example.com. We love reading your emails, and do our best to reply to each one. This month’s editor’s note features travel photos sent in by Lito Espina (rizalenio.tumblr.com), Kisty Mea (@kistymea), and Kimee Lao (@kimlao09). Keep those letters coming!