The Little Ways Travel Changed My Life

Brooke Saward in Stockholm
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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.
Here’s how.

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.

Bungy jump Macau

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.

“If it leaves you speechless, it will

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.


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    Eliz Loys
    November 3, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    Traveling is two types. Most of the people are going for travel just for enjoyment but some people are really addict to travel. Travelling are a passion for them also they will find a meaning through this traveling.

    September 8, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    When I booked that plane ticket and started researching for my trip, I was asking for a change in my life, and that’s exactly what I got. A new city, new foods, new language, new culture – I saw things and did things that I had never done before and it fueled my desire to continue to see the world and experience new things.

    July 27, 2015 at 7:23 am

    Thank you so much for sharing! Inspiring!

    July 24, 2015 at 11:32 am

    Love your posts and maybe some has already mentioned this but… It is “heroine”, unless you are a drug?

    May 21, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    You are truly an inspiration! This list is amazing and the kind of life you’re living seems like it’s out of a dream! I’m glad to see that so much growth and learning is possible through travel; it makes me want to travel even more!

    February 25, 2015 at 7:26 am

    I find your story really inspirational. I love the way travel can help make you become a better version of yourself and put things into perspective

    February 24, 2015 at 10:28 pm

    Thanks for sharing this – this is so true :)!
    Just found your page and absolutely love it!

    February 10, 2015 at 6:18 am

    I just love your WoW website! It’s like I’m reading my own thoughts on screen! I’m from Europe and I travelled for 6 months in Australia and I also lived abroad in Miami! These are the most valuable memories in my life… Thanks for sharing your travels!

    January 20, 2015 at 1:00 am

    Awesome post! I am so happy to have discovered your blog and channel. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    January 12, 2015 at 2:01 am

    Great post, but I’m curious as to how you get paid to travel blog?

    January 12, 2015 at 1:56 am

    Love your posts, but I’m curious as to how and who pays you to be a travel blog writer.

    January 9, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    Great tips, i completely agree, I kind of did much the same as you, break-up, redundancy, I’d always wanted to travel, BOOM I’m now living in London and seeing the world and learning so much about myself and other cultures 🙂

    Sejarah BAru
    January 8, 2015 at 4:44 am

    of January and I could not be more excited! I wish you all the best for 2015

    January 6, 2015 at 10:57 pm

    I need to start doing more of #3 – I no longer think, I just do! Loved this post.
    – Tracey

    January 6, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    Oh Brook you are so amazing and inspiring! I love your Blog! Found it last year in September when i was searching for Marrakech Hotpots and found your 10 things to do list. In December I went to Morocco and now my travel diary part 2 is on my blog! Thank you for your writings and travel tips! Wish you the best for 2015 <3

    January 6, 2015 at 10:02 pm

    Great post! I have never travelled for a long period by myself or without family or best friends. But this summer I am going to travel by train in Europe with my boyfriend. It is our own continent, but we are going to see 13 different cities. For now I think it is a little bit scary, but I am lookin forward to it and I am sure that it will be my best vacation ever and that I am going to learn a lot of new things!

    January 6, 2015 at 10:18 am

    Love it! A big change like yours can be really eye-opening and makes you think about life in general.


    January 6, 2015 at 9:56 am

    Sometimes we just have to make the best of a bad situation… I am so happy that you were able to do that and discover so much about yourself in the process! Really makes me think about a quote from a song: “Life is not the breathes you take, it’s the moments that take your breath away.” Hopefully you’ll have many more of those moments in 2015!
    xo, chekara |

    January 6, 2015 at 9:40 am

    I think way too much so it would be nice to experience number three myself!

    January 6, 2015 at 9:09 am

    Amazing piece Brooke! I always enjoy reading your posts.


    Suze the Luxury Columnist
    January 6, 2015 at 7:54 am

    Good for you doing the bungy jump! I’m impressed by the number of photos you have taken by the way!

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

    January 6, 2015 at 7:35 am

    Well done, for learning all of that. But that’s mostly because you’ve dared and you’ve tried! Some people end up never realizing half of it, because they never leave their aquarium 🙂

    Natalie @ Budget and the Bees
    January 6, 2015 at 7:01 am

    What speaks to me most is that we’re all the same around the world. We believe different things, but we believe. Professions around the world look different, but people everywhere work hard for what they have. We all experience the same human emotions even if our lives look completely different on the outside. I love how travel shows how different two places can be, but how similar the people are.
    P.S. I saw a woman from behind walking through Chicago O’Hare last week with this chic hat on and immediately wondered if I spotted you jet setting to a new location!

    January 6, 2015 at 4:40 am

    You have learnt some valuable lessons through travel. I can relate to almost everything that you mentioned. Hope 2015 is even better for you! 🙂 All the best!

    Marie @ Marie Away
    January 6, 2015 at 4:05 am

    All such great points. Travel definitely taught me what I want and don’t want and what I’m capable of. I’m also surprised at all the knowledge I have tucked away in my head now, it’s made me much more confident in life in general.

    Thank you for always being such great inspiration!

    January 6, 2015 at 3:46 am

    You’re my role model. I want to travel as much as you did this year and I want to visit so many countries. Your year is so inspiring. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

    x Kate

    Any Galván
    January 6, 2015 at 3:44 am

    Love it!! You’re such an inspiration!

    January 6, 2015 at 12:55 am

    I agree that Travel experiences change you as a person. I wish everyone could find means to travel a lot. We would have a better world. I think, through travel you really get to know others and are much more accepting and tolerant.

    Mersad Donko Photography

    January 6, 2015 at 12:42 am

    As a globetrotter in training, you are an inspiration to me. I haven’t even begun college yet, but I hope to one day travel the world just as you did. This post was great; thanks for sharing.

    The Daily Miacis
    January 5, 2015 at 11:25 pm

    Loved point 4! I believe that one covers almost all the others. That must be really a treasure: all the knowlegde you gain, not only “trivia” but everything, to love yourselfm family, learning to hold life 🙂

    January 5, 2015 at 10:53 pm

    I haven’t traveled nearly as much as you but this post holds 100% true for me too! Its amazing what you pick up from experiencing things first hand. Thanks for voicing exactly what my thoughts are too – it helps in convincing my friends that I’m not the only insane one, and that’s a good thing! 😀

    January 5, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    Such an inspiring post! I felt so lost when I graduated from uni in June and wasted far too many months worrying that I had no idea what I wanted to do next, going round and round in circles. But a few months ago I decided to just stop over-thinking everything and I booked a one way flight to Sydney for the end of January and I could not be more excited! I wish you all the best for 2015!

    January 5, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    Great Post!

    Same thing traveling especially alone thought me is you can only rely on yourself…. And it is a great feeling 😀

    Laura Anne
    January 5, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    This is so inspiring and such a lovely post! I hope to be where you are someday, travelling the world and writing about it. That is my dream and, to watch you live yours gives me more motivation to achieve it! x

    Danielle {Styelleish }
    January 5, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    Great post! Even though I don’t travel much, I can agree with what you say. Everywhere I go, I learn something new. It’s so amazing to explore different cultures and lifestyles!

    Jake Ryan
    January 5, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    Good post Brooke.
    Travel teaches you so many different things, I feel like a completely different person since I started travelling 😀


    January 5, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    Love the trivia night one and it really is true, especially when it comes to geography. I was in a quiz once where they asked us to list the countries starting with the letter O. There is only one, Oman, but most people had never even heard of it.

    January 5, 2015 at 9:29 pm

    This is such an inspiring post, thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Tessa / Bramble & Thorn
    January 5, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    This was such an inspiring post to read, it’s wonderful how much travel has the power to change our lives for the better!

    Tessa at Bramble & Thorn

    January 5, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    It seems this year as been a really life-changing one, but most important, I hope you enjoyed it a lot and you learned a lot of things. Traveling is probably one of the most beautiful and open-minding activities there are nowadays, any you have sured learnt so many things! I truly wish you the best in 2015. With love,

    January 5, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    Great lessons. Always love reading your insights.

    Samantha Angell
    January 5, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    Brooke, this is such an amazing post. While I haven’t traveled the world solo, I moved to another country with my husband and since then have explored the world- with and without- him. Travel can be so rewarding. Even still, as we discuss moving back ‘home’, I know that there will always be the option to get up and go, learning new things. The biggest thing that scares me about moving back home is that now, I have learned and grown so much I may no longer fit in. Thank you for all of your adventures!

    January 5, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    Great post! I am really happy that you are happy & you had this awesome opportunity. I especially like this quote: “If it leaves you speechless, it will never leave you. Those are the moments worth chasing in life.”