You’ve seen the “jobs fill your pockets, adventures fill your soul” quotes plastered all over the internet, and as toe curlingly cringey as some of them are there’s definitely an element of truth behind them. I was hoping perhaps by sharing with you the benefits and pure enjoyment of travel, that it might entice some of you out of your comfort zones and away from your much loved senses of security every once in a while. Now I’m not claiming to be Bear Grills, stranding myself in the middle of Zambia with just a few basic tools for survival.. But you could say that adventuring has been a hobby of mine ever since I was able to legally book a flight on my own. And since moving to New Zealand for 3 months at the age of 18, I knew that I wanted to see so much more of this crazy magnificent place we call Planet Earth.
Wouldn’t you agree that travel is one of those topics that everybody is interested in to some degree? There’s a real sense of excitement that surrounds the idea of exploring the hidden gems of the world with just a paper map and a good sense of direction for navigation. After traveling to different parts of Europe, the Middle East and across to the other side of the world, it quickly became apparent to me that exploration, discovery and adventure are essential elements of the human experience. It not only opens us up to the wonders of our world but it connects us with people, culture and the sheer beauty that is nature. For me personally, travel will always be the most fulfilling experience and it has genuinely enriched my life in more ways than one.
Two years ago I decided upon an epic 3.5 week road trip round the whole of France and along the French Riviera. I sold my Mini to fund the trip and with the left over money, bought a £20 tent, portable gas hob and a Ford Mondeo. I ripped out the backseats so that i was able to sleep in the back in the case of heavy rain and/or murderers. And honestly? It was the most fun I’ve ever had. The point being that traveling doesn’t need to be expensive to be fun / successful. Period. If anything, it’s the days when you have €10 to your name, everything is going wrong and it’s done nothing but rain for the past few days that you laugh the most and really get to experience life in all its glory. It’s also important to remember that frame of mind and perspective really are make or break in times of trial and misfortune. Not everything goes right all of the time but that’s the beauty of it. Any situation really is what YOU make of it.
Being on a working holiday visa here in Australia is somewhat different to my previous experiences of travel. Booking a one-way ticket and packing your life into a backpack for the next year can be a daunting thought, and having to alternate between the same 5 t-shirts for 12 months definitely takes a little bit of adjusting to. Letting go of materialistic possessions has been a pivotal learning curve for me and really put into perspective how much unnecessary crap I actually buy. I’ve now gone without all of my ‘essential’ belongings for 6 months and there’s been something so liberating about living life without a laptop, without a hairdryer or 10 different pairs of shoes to choose from in a morning. And as a result I’m genuinely excited to embrace a much more minimalist approach to life once I return home. Don’t get me wrong I’ve never been a materialistic person and I’ve always taken pride in being grateful for everything that I have, but growing up in western society means I’ve naturally been exposed to a money-hungry, materialistic way of life where the value of our luxuries are so often underestimated and under appreciated. It wasn’t until i stepped out of that environment that i realised the extent of opulence and privilege in which I was fortunate enough to be born into.
In terms of personal development, traveling thus far has massively improved my confidence, not just in myself but in my ability to spark up conversation with just about anyone. It has coincided perfectly with my self-actualisation and almost completely eradicated any social anxiety I had before. Although most importantly it has made me realise how utterly fortunate I am to be in a position where travel and exploration is even an option for me. Backpacking on a tight budget has been educational to say the least, and going without has allowed me to develop a much more profound sense of self (so cringe yet so true).
There’s been a couple of occasions where I’ve stopped to look around and I’ve been truly overwhelmed by my surroundings. It’s a difficult concept to try and put into words as I don’t really understand it myself properly yet, but I am every bit confident that taking the time to look around and up at the sky has changed my life! As funny and ridiculous as it sounds when you put it as simply as that, it’s true. The more you see the more you realise the absurdity and utter bullshit that is the information fed to us our entire lives that leads us to believe there is just ONE reality, and that there are certain ways to live OUR lives and that we should just accept, without question that this is the norm?? And although I’m touching upon spirituality a little bit here the beauty about travel is that it allows you to break free from the societal routine you’ve been practicing since birth. We’re part of something soo much bigger than we can ever even comprehend and this life is quite literally a once in a lifetime adventure. Pease treat it as such!