10 Transformational Travel Perks

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” – Mark Twain

Hey fraands, I wrote a post a while back about the downfalls of long-term travel which I felt was important to share, but now it’s time to balance the scale and talk about the perks because they are plentiful! So here’s the other side of the story morning glory.

1. FREEDOM  There is an undeniable sense of freedom that comes with defying societal pressure to conform and carve out your own path instead. To redefine yourself by stepping out of the box you fit into back home and finding out who you truly are. #YouDoYou

2. OPPORTUNITIES – Let’s face it, you just don’t get the same life-altering opportunities sitting on your ass at a desk or the comfort of your couch as you do when travelling. They’re out there in the wild waiting to be snatched up like fresh baking for anyone willing to make the journey.

3. DEEP FRIENDSHIPS – Bonds created abroad are next level. There’s no time for small talk because you know time is precious so you simply cut to the chase. Deep and meaningfuls are bountiful and this allows for deeper connections to form with new and old friends alike.

4. CONNECTEDNESS  Exploring the world doesn’t make it seem so friggen big and scary. You realise how much we all have in common beneath superficial exteriors and labels which can only result in a sense of belonging to a much larger community. #WeAreOne

5.  AN OPEN MIND Staying stationary makes it all to easy to get so stuck in your own perspectives. Travelling forces you to explore different ways of life and in turn dream up ways you could live yours!

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6. WAKE UP CALLS – Say Sayonara to your expectations because little can be predicted on the road. I love when life gives you a good old-fashioned rude awakening that makes you question everything!

7. FLEXIBILITY  Going with the flow is the only way to go because life throws some serious curve balls especially abroad.  Letting go of how you think life “should” (hate that word) be and allowing it to unfold in ways you never imagined.

8. CONFIDENCE – When you overcome fear and self-doubt you feel pretty darn good about yourself and what you are capable of.

9. INTROSPECTION – Travel forces you to take a look inside to contemplate your current state. To discover what fuels your fire and what puts it out. It’s the greatest journey of self-discovery!

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10. GROWTH  –  Often a result of adversity because jetting off isn’t an escape from your “problems”, it’s a direct and confrontational facing up to them. These growing pains can hurt but avoiding them will cause more damage in the end.

So there you have it, a few of the informational travel perks that come with taking yourself out of your comfort zone and into the unknown. There is no doubt that fear is felt by everyone but it doesn’t STOP everyone that’s the difference. The rewards are far worth the risk and I truly believe every single person can benefit from sailing away from their safe harbour even if all they gain is a deeper appreciation for it. Travelling is an investment into yourself to become a more well-rounded, open-minded and confident person who knows exactly what they want out of life.

 

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The Return

Sooo whānau,  I have officially been back in the motherland for 1 whole year! But, for some reason, I don’t feel celebratory as such. This year has flown by in an instant compared to the lifetime a year on the road felt. Time is funny like that I guess. Anyway, I felt the need to open my diary tonight and as always the page that presented itself could not be more relevant right now so I thought I would share it.

Diary Entry – 22/08/2016

I am buzzing so much about being upgraded to business class with it’s never ending fancy features to focus on the fact that I’m returning home after over 2 years abroad! But now that we have officially left European soil it’s starting to sink in…

Just thinking about being home sends shivers down my spine!  I’m scared, I’m excited but most of all I am unsure. Will it be the same? Probably. But I have changed so incredibly much that’s the difference. I never felt like I fit in before so how will I feel now? Now that I have had a chance to see who and what lies beyond the safe shores of Aotearoa.

Maybe I’ll have a newfound appreciation for home. I have missed it greatly. But maybe that initial excitement and comfort will wear off? For some reason, it feels right to go back and ground myself, to reconnect with family and friends. I can’t run anymore. From what I don’t know. Maybe from conforming, from being trapped in a societal structure of “living” (if you can call it that) which doesn’t suit me. Why should I live for the weekend, to then live for a holiday to go on living for retirement?

I feel in a way that’s exactly what we travellers are afraid of, conforming. We’d rather sit on a bus for 12 hours than work some 9-5 office job that drains the life out of you. But, maybe that is why we feel lost sometimes too…Because we are running from what we don’t want, but not quite knowing what we are running towards either…

It feels like I have been floating for a long while in the hopes that something will pull me in. When you’re working full-time there is a purpose, something to strive towards. A pay rise, promotion and a better-looking bank account for instance. There isn’t as much time to ponder life and your place in it. A luxury/curse us drifters are often faced with. So many questions with so little answers. Until I find those answers (which probz won’t happen) – I shall seek refuge in the fact that most other people don’t know what the fu*k they are up to either.

GGS (Grass is Greener Syndrome)

WARNING – First World Problem Ahead

I had a mini internal freak out at my desk the other day. Yes I have a desk now, (never thought I’d say that) and it’s equipped with a $1 lolly bag, chips and a Te Reo book.

I felt frozen, numb, a strong desire to run.

Fear found me paralysed, doing what I preached so long against. Working in an office. That different day same shizz type of business.

Isn’t that what I so longed for while on the road? Routine and stability? Now it scares the bejesus out of me.

I feel the need to escape.

“The trappings of society feel like they are bearing down on me and I’m slowly beginning to transform into the robotic slave that I fought so hard not to become. Is it just fear? Is it the full moon? I don’t know the answer but I know that running feels like a good idea. Booking a one way ticket and experiencing what real living feels like again. Uncertainty, adventure, risk, reward, failure, connection, loneliness, expansion… The predictability of each day is making me feel anxious. Is it my fault? There’s so much I can do in this city to break the mould but it’s just too easy to fit into it.” – Written in the heat of the moment so excuse the intensity.

I have to laugh at it all, because really, it’s just another case of Grass is Greener Syndrome. You know the one. You always want what you can’t have, that’s kind of sick don’t you think?

I wish there was an easy remedy to this age old enemy (which is in fact myself). But like all great lessons they are hard earned. It will take time, discipline and letting go of the fantasy and accepting the reality as it is. Not as I want it to be.

Don’t be Tricked by a Travel Pic!

Is it just me, or does it seem like errbody is travelling these days? With no reluctance whatsoever in sharing the most magical moments (or so they seem) of their journey. #GUILTYYY!!

I aint gunna lie, I have a pretty epic travel album on Facebook featuring beautiful vistas and a very tanned, toned version of myself. From bathing on various beaches in Portugal/Greece to floating in the Dead Sea and skiing in the Austrian Alps. It would definitely appear to the viewer as if I were “living the dream”.

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What I didn’t add to that album was a very pale, slightly depressed and 9kg heavier than usual me washing dishes in Austria for three months. Along with some other less glamorous, less picturesque and certainly less documented moments and destinations of my journey. But just because they weren’t depicted doesn’t mean they never existed…

They say pictures speak more than 1000 words but that doesn’t ensue they are all true.

Every snapshot has a story and it might not be the one you initially thought up. For instance, that  beautiful piece of Spanish coastline (pictured bottom middle) was actually a nude beach where I witnessed two men jerking off in broad daylight. Not what you’d expect on your average day at the beach!  Now take your gaze to the top left image of  Petra, Jordan. A magnificent place full of history, mystery and culture…Along with abused animals being worked to death for money from ignorant tourists. But how could you guess these details by looking at a strategically placed camel or aerial beach shot?

It just goes to show how easy it is to crop, filter, edit and choose what makes it on social media and what doesn’t. But sometimes it’s what we don’t share that is most important and worthy of sharing. It’s what I didn’t capture that truly changed me. It’s the ugly, uncomfortable and unexpected experiences  which had a greater internal impact than sunbathing by an infinity pool in Greece (surprise, surprise).

If photoshopping people creates an unrealistic standard of beauty then we are just as guilty in creating an unrealistic standard of travel.

There is nothing inherently “wrong” or “bad” with wanting to share the most beautiful and idealised versions of who and where we are. Nobody likes a Debbie Downer on their newsfeed lezbehonest! But these solely positive projections come with a lot of deception. For if we fail to grasp that “light cannot exist without dark” and things are not always as they seem. Our perception of Self and the world around us will ultimately be distorted and narrowed as a result. It’s so easy to throw a self-pity party when you are comparing your present with someone else’s social media presence.

What I’m trying to say is don’t be fooled by a fancy photo folks. Let my honesty shed light on a certain reality so that we can stop lying to ourselves based on a fantasy. It is a harmful mistake to doubt the quality of your life based on someone else’s Instagram account. There will ALWAYS be two sides to every coin, even if we fail to acknowledge one of them. NO-ONE is exempt from facing pain (or acne for that matter) regardless of where they are, what they look like or how much money/likes/followers they have. We are all equals on this earth and a few stamps in a passport doesn’t change that (it just allows you to realise it more).  Take pride in knowing that your life is just as meaningful and precious as that blonde bombshells’ making her way through Bali one bikini at a time.  No better, no worse,  just different.

Long Term Travel- A Truth Seldom Told

 

“I would rather see less and feel more, than see everything and feel little”

Journal Entry: 11/10/2015

Long-term travel is definitely not the endless pleasure party it’s made out to be. There’s nothing wrong or disheartening about that… Just realistic

YES, you meet loads more people, see loads more stuff and experience loads more in general. But there comes a point where you become OVERLOADED. I am compelled at times to question whether I am built to experience so much, so often. It’s as if I have moments where my mind/body/soul malfunction from too much information that I just freeze. I can’t help but ask myself “what the hell am I doing? what am I even achieving anymore? Is there some sort of race to see and do more than everyone else?

I’ve learnt that quantity is definitely not quality as the old cliche warned me many years ago. With the more people I meet, the more places I go and the more things I see… the less I seem to care. Many relationships (not all) are superficial and finish as soon as they begin. I find myself cherishing pre-existing friendships that I have invested so much time and care into previously.
Living such a transient lifestyle causes you to develop an attitude of non-attachment as some sort of survival technique to minimise the amount of emotional pain you experience. It’s GOOD to experience pain, life is about balance and when you try to avoid the “bad” stuff you find yourself losing appreciation for the good stuff in the process. Too much of a good thing can believe it or not be a bad thing. Like when you’ve only been eating junk food you feel sick and just crave a freaking salad!

I know change is inevitable but it’s definitely more amplified and unpredictable on the road. I miss structure, I miss the stability of a stable income and a social netball team! Why the hell didn’t I appreciate these things when I had them?

“Worn out” is an understatement at times but I cant say certain hard times were avoidable had I chosen a different path. Just as I realised that committing myself to the traveller lifestyle wouldn’t solve all my problems or ensure avoidance of upcoming ones. That Fantasy was quickly woken up to.

 

IMG_0364 Coming on this trip at 21 fresh out of University I  was disillusioned by the perception that “dropping everything to be free and travel” was the easy route ha!  Instead, my troubles came along  in my baggage and there was a whole bus load waiting still. You cannot run from the lessons you need to learn! They will always find you until you acknowledge and work through them. Appreciate stability and structure because believe it or not you may miss it one day when you have no clue where you’ll sleep, what you’ll eat or who you’ll meet (it’s not always as adventurous and daring as it sounds). I spent waaaay too much time daydreaming about how great life would be on the other side of the world that I sometimes forgot how incredible it was right where I was standing. Don’t get me wrong folks, to travel is a gift and an honor that I am lucky to have and will always be grateful for. It’s inspiring, challenging and ultimately life changing. But its F**ken hard and definitely not for those who enjoy their “comfort zone”. My intentions aren’t to scare, but perhaps prepare, and make aware, because I care #rhymeskills.