What I learnt the last 3 years living abroad and travelling

Trust in myself

We are each individually responsible for our lives. I would say from my own upbringing I was, without realising at the time, taught to make decisions that would make others around me happy, thinking less about what I wanted and more of what was expected of me. In moving abroad, I realised I was the only captain of my ship and that was a very liberating and powerful feeling, that any decision I would make, where to live, what job to take, I would be responsible for. It actually taught me that I am and all of us are perfectly capable of making smart decisions for ourselves and has taught me to trust my instinct and go for it.

People’s negative opinions doesn’t bother you as much

Now this is hard because this often comes from people closest to you, friends and family. Some won’t get it. Some will be asking, ‘you really want to go alone? Why?’, some may speak negatively about where your going and what your doing because sadly they are jealous they don’t have your courage. It’s a sad but true fact. It doesn’t matter what anyone says to you. You know your why and that’s enough.

F*ck society norms, it’s never too late

University, 9-5 career, relationship, moving in together, marriage, babies, done. Now I don’t care for these societal norms. In Australia this woman I met described how she got married and had children very young, she was now in her 50’s, divorced and on the path of exploring the world and learning who she truly is. I don’t understand at a certain age that your no longer allowed to do something or at a certain age there’s a cut off point. As long as our hearts are still beating we still have time to do whatever the f*ck we want to do.

You are really strong

I’ve always believed myself to be a strong character however the last 3 years really confirmed that in times of difficulty I can reach deep and find strength that I didn’t even know I have. Cherish it and hold it within you when your having a not so positive day.

There is no good in the world than bad

The media has us believing that we’re all going to get attacked walking home in the dark etc, of course it happens, but the media play a huge part in scaring us. I studied for a degree in Journalism so I know as good as anyway, the media’s tools to create a sense of fear. What I’ve learnt travelling is that there’s more good in the world than bad. From the kiwi lady who I invited me to house sit alone. (I’d litreally known her 2 weeks) to this laptop I gave to look after to a Balinese guy that had been my driver twice. There’s two people I now consider to be friends.

Strengthened instinct

With the above being said, I would not give my laptop to someone that was dangerous or giving me bad energy in any way or stay in someone’s house for that matter. Travelling and moving abroad solo has strengthened my internal GPS and allowed to listen and act accordingly if something feels off about a situation, place or person.

Loving myself

This is a tricky one as I always felt that I truly loved myself but looking back on some of the relationships I allowed myself to escape into, it’s made me question whether I truly loved myself. When this chapter of my life began I was a happy, confident young woman and at the time I thought I met a man who was funny, charming, interesting and intelligent. I’ve learnt that sometimes the beauty is masked as a beast. As time passed there was red flag, after red flag. Deep down I knew this but for some reason I just didn’t want to wake up. I won’t go into the full details in this post but all I will say is that those little red flags popping up in your head, do not paint them another colour, do not bat them away. Listen to them and it will save you time and energy. I unfortunately won’t get that time and energy back but that’s okay because it’s made me the woman that I am today.

You live for the little things in life

You realise that the little things in life are the things that matter the most. The conversation in a hostel room may make you question everything you think you know, a beautiful sunset or even a bed after a exhausting and seemingly never ending day. Especially when the country your in has people very poor, making very little money and I’ve touched by their beautiful smiles and kindness.

Find what makes your soul sing and do it

Looking back before I moved to New Zealand, in the nicest possible way to myself, I didn’t have much of a life. Of course I had a life, we all do, every second, every day. In a deeper sense, I didn’t feel alive. I didn’t know what my true passions were. I didn’t have much of a appetite for anything. I didn’t really have passions which I actually took the time to do in my everyday life. Moving away I learnt that I love yoga, hot yoga, going out with new friends. I fell in love with salsa and bachata and with Spanish music and through that I met someone wonderful. Find what you love and make your soul happy but doing it, everyday if you can. Man I miss salsa.

Vulnerability is a super power

Today’s norm is to project this image that we’re all happy, doing amazing, living our best lives. It’s really just a facade that’s got so much worse with Instagram. Let’s be real we only post what we want others to believe true. We don’t post the moments of self doubt, of insecurity or necessarily of that really shit day. I’ve learnt that opening up to someone and them really seeing you, is all we really have. I don’t want to look back on my life and see it as some facade, orchestrated life to keep my social media followers happy. What do I care, I’m not even ‘insta famous’. Vulnerability takes a new level of confidence within yourself and I’ve found since returning ‘home’ more people aren’t there to have some real conversations. For me, this is a struggle but it’s about understanding what place they’re coming from but at the same time not comprising yourself.

What I want in my life

I think sometimes our education and upbringing can have an effect on what we chase in life. For example, I went to a good school and I’m very blessed to have had the opportunities provided to me that I have. Sometimes the route we go down is because your doing it for others. Take my earlier point, I felt like I was making choices for others and not really looking in deep to figure out what would make me happy. It took the last 3 years for me to really examine the life I want. For me, I believe that money gives us options. I believe its always wise to have a plan B, savings when shit hits the fan, as it often does. However, I’ve learnt that in order for me to feel content and fufilled I don’t need all the ‘stuff’. I returned home from Bali with one bag that was my constant for the last 3 years. I shipped a lot from Australia before leaving to travel. Looking around my bedroom in the UK, I just thought wow I don’t actually need this much stuff, because I’ve had the best 3 years ever and actually spent 2 months with mainly the same things. If I needed something, I brought it. If I no longer wanted to keep something I either left it or gave it to a friend. A very common ritual as a traveler. It also taught me that I don’t really need to become a millionaire to be happy. You can’t take a fancy car, mansion and rails of clothes to your grave with you. I’ve realised that living purposefully and meaningfully is in the little things. Walking down a beach in Bali, gazing at the sunset. It’s hours of great conversation with someone you just met in a hostel. It’s dancing to salsa for hours on end that you don’t even care your feet hurt. It’s stepping foot in a country you dreamt of visiting for years. Meeting a stranger and instantly feeling that magical connection. Although I may have entered in a phase of my life that’s stalled slightly I’ve learnt to try and live life as fully and meaningful as possible and I hope you do too.