It has been 12 months since I packed up my things and left my home to travel, live and work on the other side of the globe. A short time, many of you may be thinking, but in this time I feel like I have learned more than I could have ever imagined. These months have been filled to the brim with new experiences and with these experiences I have discovered more and more about myself and where my values truly lie. It is a complete cliche to say that travelling 'changes' you, but I have already noticed differences that are undoubtedly the effect of this adventure I am on. I have found myself...lol jokes that is thee most cliche statement ever. But in someways I suppose it is mildly relateable, and I mean very mildly.
Relateable in the sense that I am learning to live in a completely different way that I am used to. Travelling is kind of like going to school all over again, except a million times better. Although my adventure is not yet over, I have decided to share with you all the little things I have learnt to live by during my insane year abroad.
1. Expect nothing, appreciate everything
I would like to think that I've always lived by this rule, but in truth I doubt I ever did until my travels begun. The whole 'goals' craze flying around is the prime example of this. The pressure and competition of showing off our expensive gifts and possessions on social media needs to stop. The little and thoughtful gestures are the ones that truly mean the most, and that is something you will learn while travelling, perhaps in a slightly different sense. You don't need to spend loads of money to stay in that amazing 5* hotel, you don't need to go to that fancy bar, you really don't need to do anything. In my experience, my best nights are the free ones with friends. My number one most memorable night travelling was with my work friends in the outback. We drove out to one of the local stations, bottle of wine each in hand. At this station there is an old empty water tank that the station owners have made into a (very basic) hot-tub. The sky was so clear that night we could see what felt like every star in the sky. The water was stinky, there were loads of mozzies, prickles all over the floor and we couldn't see a thing, but it was awesome. It is important to enjoy the little things in life.
2. Work hard, play harder
One common misconception is that my trip is funded by the bank of mum and dad. Wrong. I worked hard to get where I am, saving for over a year at home and then working for 4 months in the outback to continue funding my adventure. It irritates me when people say how 'they wish they could travel' but they simply 'cannot afford it'. Anyone can travel, all you have to do is book that flight, save your money and work hard. I love the life I live, but it isn't hard to do yourself. Work hard so you can play harder. I am not rich, I am just careful with my money. Working your ass off so you can travel is one of the most satisfying feelings ever. Spending your hard earned cash on a once in a life-time experience? Worth it.
3. Be more money conscious
Personally I have always been pretty good at saving, but I am also 100% guilty of splashing out on clothes and life's little luxuries. Travel has taught me to be more frugal. When you're on the move and you don't know where you will be sleeping tomorrow night, blowing money on things like booze and clothes (for me) isn't an option. Perhaps my standards have lowered a little, but I am quite happy to shop home-brand and stick to free activities so that I can afford to do something nice the following day. When you are travelling I guess you are more aware of where you're money is going.
4. Lose friends, make friends
Ok, this one is a little sad but true. Travelling will more than likely see some friendships fade. It is a fact. When you are away long term life at home will continue. One of the hardest things for me was seeing my pals at home have a blast without me. I am lucky to still be in great contact with all my pals, but if travelling will show anything it is who gives a shit. My best friend Amy compared it to being in a long distance relationship, some people can make it work and some people can't. You both have to be committed to keeping in touch, it's a two way street. However, the friends you will make travelling probably some of the firmest you'll make in your entire life!
5. To believe in yourself
Travelling will encourage...or rather force you out of your comfort zone, and it feels fantastic. Doing things that you probably would never do at home will give you a new found energy, showing you your own strengths in new ways. I have stepped out of my comfort zone too many times to count over the past 12 months and I have never felt so confident and happy within myself. It feels great to explore your own boundaries and test yourself in new ways, and that is one thing travelling will do to you.
6. Go off the beaten track
The best adventures always happen by accident and off the beaten track. It is great going to see all the popular spots we see on Instagram, but sometimes the best ones are a little harder to find. There's something much more magical when you have a beautiful spot all to yourself, opposed to struggling to get a photo through all the crowds. Do some research and speak to some locals who know the area. Don't be afraid of getting lost, sometimes that's where the best adventures start.
7. We are all one
Getting to know new cultures and lifestyles is (for me) the best part of travel. People are what make each place whole, and I absolutely love learning and gaining inspiration from new cultures. More importantly, it teaches you that underneath it all we truly are the same. Despite our unique and physical differences, we are all equal. Nowadays when we are all so filled with hate and false idea's of certain religions and races of people, I think actually taking the time to learn about these people is one of the best things we can do. We are all so brainwashed by what we see online that we forget these people are real. Before I came to Australia, and even when I arrived I was told (and had heard about) the extremely negative stereotype that clouded the aboriginal people. After working in the outback and bonding with a large aboriginal community I knew this stereotype was wrong. You can't judge a whole race of people by the minority that give them a bad name. The aboriginal people I met were among the kindest, happiest and friendliest people I have ever met. Bare in mind the horrors that these people's ancestors were subject to at the hands of our own ancestors, perhaps this puts things into perspective. Moral of the story, don't always believe what you hear.
8. Be selfless, not selfish
Being kind to one another shouldn't be a chore. Learn to be more selfless while your travelling, not only does it feel great but it normally leads to something even better. We are all on the same boat here, so make life easier for one another and reach out when you can. Offer you help to someone who's lost, share your Uber ride, share that last piece of chocolate, or just give some advice you have learnt from. The knowledge that you have helped someone alone is wonderful, but often it can lead to greater things. Friendships, travel advice for yourself, maybe even awesome opportunities.
9. Live with less
This one is so important. Travelling has well and truly lowered my standards and I have never been happier. Travelling isn't always glamorous, but if it was it'd be hella' boring. As I previously mentioned in this post, my favourite night has been cheap and the polar opposite of 'glam'. Equally, I have realised that a wardrobe full of clothes and a wallet full of money is definitely not the key to happiness (although it is still nice, obz). At home I was all about having the best makeup, a crazy array of face creams and a different outfit for everyday. Sure, these things still appeal to me, but when I am travelling I'd much rather keep it simple. I regret packing so much everyday, because there is nothing like sliding into my favourite comfy shorts and t-shirt. You don't have the same urges when you're on the road and the little things you lived for at home soon disappear. The simple life is the good life.
10. Take everything as it comes
Never plan too far ahead, just take things are they come. As you're travelling your plans will change and so will your idea's. That place you thought looked amazing isn't so great in real life, but you've already booked and paid for you're accommodation. Basically what I am trying to say is don't tie yourself down. It is great to have a rough plan so the days don't waste away, but avoid planning everything down to a T - you'll only end up missing out on things. Give yourself the freedom of moving around if and when you like. I used to hate not having a plan, my OCD 'Mrs Organised' would go into overdrive and send me into stressy breakdown mode. I have learnt from my mistakes, and now love the mystery of our unplanned adventures.
11. Patience is key
Things always go wrong when you're travelling, that is a fact that cannot be avoided. These little slip ups will almost always seem worse when you're on the other-side of the world, but they can be overcome. Travel will teach you patience on a whole new level. Whether that is when something goes horribly wrong, or even the small struggles of a language barrier. All these tricky situations suck at the time, but they always teach you a valid lesson. And a few months down the line they normally turn into a pretty funny story to tell your pals over a cold one.
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