All my life people have doubted me and have tried to control the outcome of my future. From a young age I’ve always been different from the crowd and slipped away from the pack.
After graduating high school, I decided to take a year off and travel through South-East Asia, starting with my best friend and then venturing off on my own for the remainder of my journey. In 2010, I travelled through Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Laos. Family, friends, almost everyone I knew thought it was a horrible decision. They said that I would never go back to studying and that I wouldn’t even last long. I proved them wrong. After my travels, I applied for courses but I still had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I got accepted into a few and decided to venture into full time study in Visual Merchandising. I kept four jobs during this time because I was motivated to save enough money and travel again as soon as possible. Keeping that promise to myself, I flew to Europe two days after graduation in 2012 to start my solo backpacking adventure – I went on to explore Turkey, Greece, Croatia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Morocco, Spain and Portugal. Returning home seemed silly, but I had run out of money. I regretted it the second I came home. I threw myself into another three jobs and worked my butt off for the next seven months to drag out my dirty backpack out again to explore more of Europe, this time travelling to Israel, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Luxembourg, Belgium, England, Scotland, Netherlands and Germany. Now that I’m home, every single dream and desire of mine is of my next big adventure.
Everything I do is by word of mouth: experiencing something that someone else absolutely loved and had to tell me about. I stay in each city until I feel as though it’s time to leave and move onto the next. Never look at the time and be spontaneous in all your decisions.
I can tell you one thing: travel changes you. It throws you headfirst into the unknown – you face challenges and have experiences you never normally would. It changes your outlook on life and reminds you not to be tied down by material belongings. It makes you want to travel even more and explore everything that is out there. It forces you out of your comfort zone to meet new people. It is scary yet thrilling and makes you believe in yourself and life’s possibilities.
I’m the type of girl who works two to four jobs at a time. I work stupid hours in some of the silliest jobs, but it doesn’t matter what I do. I’m working hard and saving up every cent so I can fund my next big solo adventure. I work hard to travel as much as I do, and even though I come back every trip with zero dollars to my name and have to start from scratch, every single second abroad makes it worth it.
There are still friends and family, even strangers I meet, who think it’s time for me to stop travelling, to get a ‘real’ job and head back to reality. It’s time to ‘grow up’ and think about my future. I am 23 and I can think of nothing worse than sitting in an office Monday to Friday, nine to five, stuck in a job that makes me unhappy. Travelling isn’t for everyone, but it is for me and I don’t think I can stop doing something I believe in and something that I love just because it’s not the norm.
I strongly recommend everyone to travel at least once… I’m not talking about the type of travelling where you jump on a plane all the way to Europe for four weeks with a 30kg suitcase packed with condoms and shoes, get high on drugs and alcohol every night and call that backpacking through Europe. That’s great for some people and good on them for enjoying their holiday, but I mean the type of travelling where you take an actual backpack and pack only the essentials, don’t have anything pre-booked, let go and be free.
I am far from a travel expert and when you really look at it I’ve only just started exploring the world, but it’s something I truly love and enjoy and I have no plans to quit anytime soon.
I have met some of the most incredible people during my travels, people who love me as I am and make me a better person, fellow travellers who share the same interests and want to plunge into new adventures right by my side. It’s never about having a plan – I strongly dislike plans – it’s about being spontaneous and daring, leaving the map in your bag (to find your way home, number one tip) or back at the hostel and getting lost on the many winding roads and finding hidden gems that only the locals know about.
I can’t say my writing is fabulous nor my grammar correct (I’m not a writer), but these are my thoughts and my journeys that I’ve finally decided to share with the world. I am constantly being asked for travel advice and with this blog I can share it with everyone.
This is my story and this is me. Take it or leave it.
Little Travel Gypsy xx