On the day of my university graduation, I booked a one-way ticket to London. Uncertain of where life would lead, I took a leap of faith and for the first time in my life took a risk that could possibly leave me stranded elsewhere in the world… or could lead to a career travelling the world, being paid to enjoy the one thing I love more than anything else – exploring.
I’m glad to say it was the latter.
2014 was my year of making things happen. I have never been one for making distinctive New Years Resolutions, but rather reminding myself at the beginning of each new year that this year I should aim to be better. Always myself, but always a better version of myself.
That is what happened in 2014.
Exactly How Travel Changed My Life
Before I took off on this adventure to chase my dreams of being a travel writer, I was not an entirely different person.
Travel didn’t morph me into a heroin. It didn’t make me the best version of myself (I’m always working on that). I also can’t say that travel made everything clear in my mind. I didn’t have an epiphany. I couldn’t tell you where I’ll be in ten years or what I’ll be doing. Travel hasn’t been the definitive answer or solution, but it has certainly changed my life for the better.
1. If all else fails, I can rely on myself
The biggest lesson this year has been to learn to rely on no one but myself. Whether its something I want done, going to a new country and not needing to wait for a +1 or learning to love myself enough to enjoy my own company. As much as I love people (and I mean I really am a people person), I know that if all else fails, I know I can make it on my own.
2. Travel made me appreciate home, family and friends more than ever
I’ve always believed family comes first. And considering my friends are my second family, its pretty safe to say they come into the same rule. But before I left for this year abroad, I never truly appreciated how great my home country Australia is, let alone my little island paradise – Tasmania. It was when I came home after a year of solo travels that I finally sat back and let it all sink in. Family, friends and home can’t be beat and will never be replaced.
3. I no longer think, I just do
Whether you view it as a good or bad thing, letting go of the overthinking aspect of life has in my eyes been a massive step in the right direction to truly enjoying and experiencing all life has to offer. I’ve adopted a “do now, apologise later” attitude and no longer weigh up the pros and cons before just jumping in and experiencing something new. Case in point: Bungy jumping off the highest bungy in the world.
4. I would be a pretty good companion at a trivia night
Ha! Okay, so lets just take a minute to appreciate all that I have learned this year. Every place I go I learn so many new things about the culture, language, people, traditions, history and so much more. Every person I meet teaches me at least one thing new (usually a lot more than one thing). I can say thank you in at least 50 different languages, I can count to ten in a handful more. I could tell you about the fruits in Brazil or the real pirates in the Caribbean. Travel has taught me more about the world than I could ever learn from any book… and because I experienced it first hand, I will always remember it.
5. I learned to appreciate and accept difference
As someone who grew up in a religious household, I have always been taught that a certain way is the right way of thinking & believing. While I will always have my faith and follow it in my personal life, travel has allowed me to accept and appreciate the different beliefs, religions and cultural differences we share. Despite our differences, we are all human. Therefore we all have something in common. I don’t think it can get any simpler than that.
6. I learned what I want AND what I don’t want
On a weekend trip to Copenhagen early in my travels, I sat with a local Dane and discuss the trials and tribulations of breakups that never really break you beyond mending, but certainly have a way of making it hard to piece back together the puzzle. They say time heals everything but I don’t believe it to be so much about time, but about what we do with that time. If you’re interested further on this, I wrote earlier in the year about what happened when I stopped thinking I needed a boyfriend.
7. I started living each day as it comes
I’ll cut straight to the point and state the obvious: there’s no security in jobs, period. But having a job as a self-employed travel blogger, there is perhaps more uncertainty about my career and its future. Should that scare me? Maybe. Does it? NO! It excites me. The idea and notion that I should always be one step ahead of myself and always looking beyond what is available right now has forced me to live life to the fullest and with a whole heart. Everything I do in my career is with 110% effort and passion. I can’t tell you how rewarding it is to say that I ‘go to work every day more in love with my life and job than the previous day’. As the wise Marc Anthony would have said,
If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.
8. I now know what it feels like to lose your human senses
In the English language we tend to throw words around without much consideration for their genuine definition. Phrases like “It left me speechless” or “I felt breathless” have an entirely different meaning when that involves jumping out of a plane and quite literally losing your ability to breathe. Travel has a way of making you feel less whilst feeling more. A paradox I’m willing to accept.
9. I learned that Bad Things Can be the Best Things
When I booked my one-way ticket to London over a year ago, I was amidst a break-up. Oh, the cliche. At the time it felt like my world was crashing around me – typical, as far as breakups go. But this one bad thing turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me, as it opened the door for so much positive change that I needed to achieve within myself before I would ever be ready for anyone else to come into my life. I learned what happened when you accept yourself and now truly believe that you must first love yourself before anyone else can love you.