Change can be exciting and bring new joys into our lives. But it can present challenges that frustrate or annoy us. How has travel changed you in the last year? Did you welcome these changes or resist them at the time, and how do you feel about them now?
I started travelling seriously because of a change in my life – after the end of my previous long-term relationship I no longer wanted to be settled in one place, and took the opportunity to travel without time constraint for the first time in my life, at the age of 27. I’d taken countless short trips around Europe (and reaching slightly further afield) before then, but never had the chance to do the months-on-end wandering thing. I didn’t care where I went, and ended up in Central America for 5 months after following a link on facebook to a medical research trial who would pay people to receive a vaccine and then send them to Guatemala to try and get food poisoning.
That trip changed me for good – it was the first time I tasted the absolute freedom that independent solo travel gives you – that you can do whatever you want to do, with no deadlines or responsibilities, you have the chance to just explore and experience and see whatever it is that takes your fancy that day. I also learned to scuba dive, which now has a massive influence in my life and travel choices. I left for that trip wanting to travel; I came back a traveller. I left broken-hearted and a little lost, and I returned independent and excited about the further unexpected adventures ahead in my life.
The last 18 months of travel has been shorter trips, some solo although mostly with friends – usually people I had previously met travelling! Each has just led me to being even more eager to travel again on a long-term basis; and now I will be, with a one-way ticket to Malaysia in 5 weeks time.
Travel has given me a much wider perspective on the world; it has led me to a much simpler point of view on life, I tend not to get upset about things I can’t change and just move on- I know there will be another even more amazing opportunity around the corner. I take advantage of all chances I can as they present themselves – you never know which seemingly unimportant choice will lead you to your next adventure. I have learned how little materially I actually need to have in my life, and now even in my ‘everyday’ life in the UK live out of a backpack, whereas previously I filled a 3-bedroom house with my possessions. Whether travel changed me, or I changed and became addicted to travel, I don’t know……but I have definitely welcomed the influence that travelling now has over my life choices.
However what I look forward to most, are the changes to come…..for me, 2010 was the year of discovering travelling, myself and the world, the realisation of my dream to travel and my discovery that travelling really was as amazing as I thought it would be…..2011 was the year of maintaining travel as the main driving force in my life, of working out how I can incorporate this incurable wanderlust into my life for good…..2012 will be the year of making that a reality. Hopefully!