When I left university back in 2008 with that degree scroll in my hand, I had no idea what I wanted to be or where I would end up. I knew I wanted to do great things in life, and most importantly be happy, but how or in what field I honestly had no idea. Since that day in 2008 I have been to Morocco, France, Spain, Greece, Croatia, Belgium, Portugal, Denmark, Slovenia, Germany, Italy, Austria, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand. Whilst that’s quite a few countries, compared to other backpackers and travel bloggers, that’s not even that many. But it’s not about the quantity or how far and wide you’ve travelled. It’s about what you get out of it that really matters.
Through travelling the world, I hoped I would discover what it was I was looking for. I’m still a way off finding a place that I want to call home or being in the position I want to be in career/money wise, but I think I can safely say that I discovered travel itself has become my life. Whatever I do, it will always have to have a travel aspect to it.
This August marked 3 years of travel and July marked 2 years of this blog. Here are some of the things I have learnt from travelling…
Thoughts on travelling alone- When you travel alone, you experience far less ups and downs. You go where you want to go and do the things you want to do without having to consider anyone else. There are no people to be annoyed with, or people to tell you you’re being annoying. You can pick and choose which people you hang out with, share amazing moments with them, then have alone time when you need it. These have been some of my easiest times. BUT having said all this, you always have to say goodbye to these people and then you realize you are alone again. I do get tired of saying goodbyes and there are times when I wish I could keep these people with me on the road. It is nice to share your travel experiences with someone that you’ve known for more than 5 seconds.
Thoughts on people- I have met some amazing people along the way who have changed my life without even realizing it. Some people have surprised me with acts of kindness, and others have let me down greatly. Some people I have misjudged upon first meeting them, and others haven’t turned out to be who I thought they were. This is what’s going to happen when you let life in. You’re not going to get along with everybody, but you will find people who will be your friends for life.
Thoughts on love- Relationships and travel are incredibly difficult and that’s one of the downsides of travelling. I don’t travel because I want to be single, but being single just happens to be a side-effect of travelling. It’s hard to develop relationships on the road because the people you meet have their own itinerary and their own agenda. You meet someone you get along with really well and things progress much quicker than they would in an ordinary environment, but then you’re off on your separate paths again. For a lot of people, it’s an incredibly big risk to take to change their travel plans for someone else. You might meet up for fleeting moments in other places or cities, but unless you are both stopping in one place for an extended period of time, then relationships on the road tend to have a short life span. That’s not to say I haven’t seen people make it work- I know of several couples who met whilst working a season and are still together somewhere else in the world. I’ve seen weddings come out of it. And I say if you really want to be with someone, then take a chance.
Thoughts on Being Yourself- I’ve come to realise that you can’t please everyone. Don’t live someone else’s life and don’t ever feel afraid to do what you want to do. If you want to let loose and party around the world for a year, then do it. If you don’t know what you want to be and you need to travel the world to discover what it is, then go. If you want to swap your office job to work in a beach bar, then swap it. If you want to do all the things on your bucket list, then do them! As human beings we tend to follow what society tells us is appropriate to do. We do things without even thinking about it. I applaud people who can stop and think- “wow i’ve been doing this all these years without questioning it, well i’m not going to do that anymore”.
Thoughts on Snobbery- I really dislike travel snobbery. It shouldn’t matter how many countries you’ve been to or how much money you spent doing it. One of my pet hates is people who say “I don’t want to see people from my home country in another country.” You’re a tourist who’s travelling with a buch of mates from your home country! Don’t start moaning when you bump into another group of people just like you. You get the ones who boast about how cheaply they have done everything and moan about people who stay in hotels or spend money on nice dinners. Then you get the ones who complain about people who stay in backpacker hostels and go on pub crawls. Travel snobbery either way round is not cool.
Thoughts on long-term travel- The longer I travel the more I am aware that things just don’t have the same impact on me as they probably should do. Many people dream of travelling the world and being able to do whatever they want. But one thing that keeps us going is desire. If you save up for a 2 week holiday, the chances are you are going to be dreaming about it for weeks because you’re so excited about it. But when you’re travelling all the time, you don’t get the same butterflies. There have been times when I’ve been in the most beautiful towns and looking at the most tremendous sights, and I just don’t have that same excitement of a first-time backpacker. But that’s OK. It’s easy to get complacent travelling for a long time, and that’s when I sometimes take a break and just stay put for a while to get that adrenaline rush back again. Travel can occasionally make you a little bit jaded about life- and then something magical happens and it takes your breath away. It can also make you appreciate the value of family, friends, a home and the stability that comes with it.
Thoughts on Being Your Own Boss- There is nothing shameful in admitting you don’t want to work for someone else or that you don’t like taking orders. In fact I think it should be celebrated and embraced. When I left university and applied for jobs I was invited to some ridiculous “assessment centres” with “team building exercises” and psychometric tests. I had to fill in multi-choice questionnaires where it was very obvious what bland answer they expected you to give. I lied, obviously. Everyone is different, and the world can’t be full of ‘team players’. Some people were meant to work alone, some were meant to be ground-breakers, some were meant to be leaders. If you have an idea, take that idea and make it into something great.
Thoughts on Travel Blogging- Travel Blogging and working online has its ups and downs because it’s like your baby that you have to keep feeding. In order to make it work you have to keep posting regularly and promoting your content, which can be difficult when you’re having so much fun travelling. Juggling work and travel is a challenge, so if you’re thinking of doing it, be aware that it’s not as cruisy as it sounds. Travel companies are certainly cottoning on to the world of blogging and there’s an increasing number of travel blogs popping up all over the place. Unfortunately that means increasing competition. Sometimes I do worry that blogging is turning into a bit of a popularity contest of who can network the most.