Yep, it’s a cliche but it’s true: travelling has changed my life. It’s a bold statement to open up a blog post with, particularly for first thing on a Sunday morning, but if there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s this. As someone who follows a lot of travel bloggers, I know we all have our own stories to tell. Our own reasons why we choose to travel, regardless of whether it’s sun chasing or soul searching. My stories aren’t going to shock you to the core but maybe when you read about my next adventure, you’ll remember what set me on this globetrotting path that I’m struggling to stay away from.
Travelling gave me self belief
Before 2015, I would shirk away from virtually all responsibility. I’d take trips with my family – admittedly, pretty great ones – or book all-inclusive packages that had me cocooned in a safe yet totally dull routine. And that’s not me slating all inclusive holidays, it’s me waggling a finger at my past self for being so damn unadventurous. I’m not one of those confident, up for anything, kinda travellers – I have zero desire to jump out of a plane and you’d probably even struggle to get me on a rollercoaster. But once I was out of my comfort zone, I realised how easy it actually is. And now? I’ve flown to the other side of the world and back alone, rode on overnight buses alone, checked into hostels and made friends alone. I can budget, plan and cope when things go spectacularly tits up.
Travelling made me less afraid
I’m a natural wimp. For example, I was always cautious about the idea of visiting South East Asia. I convinced myself that it would be hard to get around, it could be dangerous and so many other things. Well, as any regular readers will know, I’ve spent four months travelling in Asia this year and it was such a valuable experience. When we landed in Indonesia, our first stop, I instantly felt at home, relaxed and curious. On that first day, Jamie and I ate banana pancakes from a roadside stall and drank Bintang while a live band played some terrible music. It felt amazing. Sitting on our balcony as the rain poured down – something I’d hate back home – felt exotic and exciting. In short, I learned that letting go of your fears and prejudices is the only way to grow.
Travelling made me independent
This half links to above where I’m being all self congratulatory about being able to check into a hostel and navigate a city alone. But deeper than that, it made me realise that I don’t have to rely on somebody else to be able to do what I want. I healed my heartbreak by pushing myself to realise that. When nobody I knew wanted to drop everything and fly to Australia with me – shocking, I know – I booked a flight on my own. Even if you don’t head off on solo city breaks all the time, the knowledge that you happily could is important.
Travelling enriched my life
I’ve left this one until last although it could well be the most important. As somebody who has lived their whole life in the same area of the UK, with lots of the same friends, travel has been a really important aspect of shaping my life. When I’m down, booking my next trip will always lift my spirits – or at least planning one when the funds are too low to take the plunge! I’ll love the tedious airport routines, the incredible new views and spotting world-famous landmarks and little-known gems alike. Without a life filled with travel, I don’t think I’d be anywhere near the person I am today. I really am incredibly grateful.
Reading back through those headings, I sound like some kickass person who has it all sorted – believe me, I don’t. But before I really experienced travelling fully, I was an incredibly nervous girl who was regularly too shy to even talk on the phone. It’s definitely helped in that tough time where we’re expected to grow up and become adults by giving me a passion to focus on. Now, it’s all about pushing myself to keep that progress going!
Has travelling changed your life? Tell me how in the comments below.