Today I am celebrating two years of continuous travel and wow, there is a lot to reflect upon. On the 19th August 2013 I landed in Melbourne with very few plans on what may occur or what I may experience. Looking back, I could never have anticipated what my years of travelling would bring me, the people I would meet, the struggles I would face, the insane moments I would experience. But after a little reflection over a cup of coffee, there are a few big things that travel has taught me, not only about other people, but about myself.
I don’t want to stop travelling
When the travel bug hits, it hits hard. It sucks you into a life you never thought existed. I saw travel for so long as an experience, never imagining that it could be a way of life too. When people ask me “So, what do you do Aly?” I respond, “I travel”. For the majority of the world, travel means a holiday, an experience, a great time, an adventure. Travel for me has become life. It is something I live, not just experience and I am no where near stopping anytime soon.
Can I see myself settling down one day. Probably. When I am around my friends, they all seem to get all wound up when they see their friends back home having babies and getting married and think that although they are so happy to be travelling the world, they feel old. Old? I want to shake these people. Your mid twenties are not old. I see my friends taking a different path in life and I am happy for them. I know deep within myself that I don’t want any of that. At least not right now. I don’t feel old. I certainly don’t feel superior over those who decided to make a family. I feel indifferent. That is their path, this is mine.
Something I refer to as “The picket fence syndrome” applies to a lot of nomads. The daydreams of finding a home, decorating it with all the beautiful items you see in exotic marketplaces along your travels. But you know that it will be short lived the moment your feet start itching. So you continue to travel. Sure, I get this feeling. There is nothing more frustrating than wanting to buy everything you see when travelling through Thailand but have no home to hang it. But you get over it.
I went out to Australia with no preconceptions of what my life may become. It has now become a life I could never have imagined and that’s what’s exciting about life, you really never know where you will end up.
Travel is more educational than books… FACT.
If you asked me to design an education curriculum I would include mandatory travel. After spending my whole life in full time education, thinking I was learning everything I could, the world gave me a slap around the face a laughed. Granted I learnt a lot during my degree. But I only learnt what other people had already learnt before me. What I had read in articles and journals. These weren’t my discoveries. Someone out there had probably taken from the person before them to create what I am learning about right now.
When you travel, you are forced to learn things for yourself. Through your own mistakes. Through your own means. At your own time. The road will provide you with a tonne of information and it is up to you to create your own knowledge. Your own opinions. Sitting for 2 hours in a Cafe sipping on multiple Latte’s may seem like an idle waste of time to most. But I’m watching. Watching the locals walk past, talking to the barista and waiter. I am learning every second and making my own thoughts and opinions on the world around me. Not absentmindedly absorbing another mans teachings from their travels. Make your own education. Form your own thoughts and say them with conviction, because you were there, you have seen things. You got none of it from a book.
Travel does not equal happiness
Throughout my life I have always been fascinated with happiness. Where does it come from? What makes people happy? Then I went travelling and became really happy… Until I had to leave. Then I got confused. Surely happiness shouldn’t be able to be just taken away like that. Travel made me happy, yes? But if I run out of money on the road and get stressed and equally unhappy, then travel in and of itself, cannot cause happiness. I’m no monk but it was obvious that you can’t find happiness in any experience or possession, because happiness can only come from within. An experience makes us happy TEMPORARILY, therefore, not true happiness.
I love to travel. Obviously. But I have been very sad on the road before. I have had incredibly tough times on the road. I have sometimes felt my lowest when travelling. But it is not all doom and gloom. From this realisation, I can use my passion of exploration to feel at peace, find my inner happiness and work on what is going on inside. Then, wherever I am in the world, if I am truly happy within, I can be happy anywhere I am in the world.
I am happy. I am very happy. But I had to realise that you can’t keep travelling to escape life. Once you realise this, happiness increases.
I’m stronger than I thought
I don’t share everything on my channel and blog. I do certainly show you some low moments and the real honest struggles I go through. Because like I have always said, travel is not all rainbows and lolly pops. It is still life and life brings some crappy situations, whatever you are doing. But I have a limit to what I can share. As many of you know, I am currently back on track with writing my first book. A book where I do NOT hold back. I will be open and honest and discuss situations I have had on the road that absolutely none of you know about. That I have kept to myself. I have had experiences that would make any other traveller run home screaming. But here I am. Still travelling.
I won’t see EVERYTHING
Compared to other travel bloggers, I have visited very few countries. And I’m OK with that. I really am. I spent 20 months travelling through Australia and I still have another 7 month to go in New Zealand. I pass through places in Europe and Asia and love every minute, but I take my time. I refuse to rush through life just to check everything off my bucket list.
I am a wanderer through and through. I can’t just stay 2 days in a place, I stay till I feel I have explored every corner. Sure, I don’t actually explore everything a place has to offer, there aren’t enough years in an average persons life to do that. But I go to learn, wander down small side streets, talk to locals, maybe get a casual job!
I won’t see everything. I travel too slow. But through travelling slow, I see so much more. I get a real appreciation for a country, a culture, it’s people. I used to struggle with this thought when I would look at how many places other bloggers had visited. They have seen so much more than me in the same amount of time! Oh god! I can’t afford all of that movement just yet! I don’t want to leave here and move on, there is too much to see. Then I stopped myself. QUICKLY. I came to realise that this isn’t a competition. My online success is not down to visiting every single country in the world. I’ll just keep on exploring. I can give you more in depth videos and posts on every single place, because I saw it! This is how I travel and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Here is to another 2 years and I cannot be more thankful to all of you for following my journey and supporting me through it all! I love you all and hope we can keep travelling together for a really long time!!
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