I have been on the road now for six months! From the familiar path of Thailand down to Melbourne where I lived for five of those months, building friendships, creating memories and working many tedious jobs to propel my travels further. I’ve watched the sun burn up the sky setting in Thailand and St Kilda, I’ve watched the clouds turn orange and pink behind the Shrine of Remembrance, I’ve explore laneways, cocktail bars, graffiti soaked cities, eaten great vegetarian food and laughed a whole ton.
In those six months I’ve also been on the brink of going home, with $30 to my name, I’ve cried, I’ve argued, I’ve had a return from my old friend anxiety which has awoken me in the night with panic attacks, at times I’ve felt low, lost, confused and unsure of if I was doing the right thing. I’ve learnt a lot about myself over six months, more than I thought that I would have done. Below are six things which travel has taught me about myself.
1. I miss home more than I thought I would
Before I left to come travelling I was so excited to leave my hometown, it all felt restricted there, the same people, the same places, the same routine, I longed to shake it up. Now I’ve been away for a while I think back to England and Essex and find that I miss it, I miss English summers, the countryside, beer gardens and banter, I long for Cornwall or Lincolnshire; I really miss Leigh on Sea and the festivals going around home at the moment. But most of all I miss the people that make my life complete, my family and friends, my Golden Retriever, all of them.
2. What I need to be happy – Family, Friends, Creative Freedom, Travel and Laughter
You can’t travel to find happiness, it’s not a destination, but what travel does give you is the time to digest what components you need to build your own version of a happy life. To some a house, a stable income, marriage and a child might be what you need to be happy, but for me it is having the ability to move freely around the world, to work in a creative environment to live in a country where you can eat well and laugh often, ideally under a beautiful sunny sky. To communicate often with family and friends and to build a simple life where neither money or material belongings define who you are but instead what you love doing, what makes you happy and how you treat others builds people’s perceptions of you.
3. It’s true that only boring people get bored
I was never worried about travelling on my own, I know that loneliness is a state of mind and that I know myself well enough to enjoy my own company; but I was worried about being bored. What would I do when money was low or I was on my own? The answer to that is anything I want to do! I quite often fill my days with fun experiences from exploring cities, towns or going for a hike, to bouldering, swimming, sitting by the beach, reading an amazing book, writing, drawing, meditating or horning in on my (soon to be) mad yoga skills. I have found that since travelling on my own over these past six months I’ve discovered ways to fill my days with adventures big and small, enough to make something to smile about every single day.
4. I can persevere through hard times and still be positive
I’m a disgustingly happy, optimistic person, I always have been, this is a fact that’s hard for some people to digest when they choose to let negative emotions run amok in their own lives. I’ve had to deal with some real shit over the past six months, from being cripplingly poor to having to work horrific jobs just so I can stay in Australia for a week longer at a time, but through it all I’ve managed to keep positive, the phrase “this too shall pass” has been my buddy and managed to help me surf the dramas of long term travel to keep going and keep smiling.
5. I have found my voice
I’m not into confrontation, I would rather just throw my hands up in the air and say “cool, whatever, do what you need to do” than to push for my own selfish reasons. But, since I’ve been travelling I’ve found my voice and found that I can stand up for myself and do what I feel is right for me. I don’t agree with arguments, I feel that conversations are better than confrontations, but I have also realised that how I allow people to treat me is a reflection of how I see myself and I won’t be a pushover when it comes to my own happiness and mental well being.
6. I’m more certain now that I want to do TEFL and teach in Asia and South America
I’ve always flirted with the idea of doing a TEFL course and going to teach English in countries around the world, but I’ve never turned that thought into a reality. Although now, I’m more certain than ever that I’m going to do a TEFL course and go teach English abroad, I’m not sure where yet, but I’m pretty sure that it’ll be part of the adventure after I finish my year in Australia (I’m not sure if I want to spend a second one here, but more on that another time). I would love to go to Malaysia, Vietnam Cambodia or Colombia to teach; they’re all just plans up in the air at the moment but I will be working on bringing them to reality soon.
I’m really looking forward to seeing where the next six months take me, whether I’ll carry on being in Australia or not is a big question, but one that I’ll figure out in due course. To keep up with my travels however they’re going on Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat as Hbee23.