Today I’m sharing a little piece that I wrote for a friend’s blog during my travels in 2016. I was in Lima, the capital of Peru at the time. I spent about a week here before joining a tour group.
During this week I explored the city by myself (despite peoples concerns about me doing this), finding the best vegan spots to eat (another post to come on this) and just seeing what Lima had to offer. It was a time of reflection. Reflection on everything that had happened up to this point. Reflection on everything I had experienced, as well as anticipation for what was to come.
I connected with Chase through Instagram and she asked if I would be interested in writing a little piece for her blog. A summary of my travels thus far, so here it is. A relatively raw and unedited piece from August 2016. Just a sample of my writing if you will. It jumps ahead a little given that this was five months into my trip.
Currently, I am working through my journal entries from my first week in Bali. So yeah, a long way to go until I start writing about Peru in the book. But until then.. here’s a little taste for you. Let me know what you think.
-With adventurous thoughts and daydreams, B x
“As cliché as it may sound, reading ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ by Elizabeth Gilbert, as well as meeting an English backpacker last year in my hometown propelled me into making what could quite possibly have been the best decision of my life so far. This decision was to take a year off study after finishing High School last year and travel the world, predominately solo. Often called a ‘Gap Year’, however, this term doesn’t sit that well with me. It suggests that you are merely doing something to fill in a void, or ‘gap’ within your life. That you are just filling in time before you realise what you want to do. Initially, I thought this was what I was doing, taking some time to find myself and work out what I wanted.
I’ve learned through my experiences over the past five and a half months while I’ve been travelling that I already knew exactly who I was, and what I wanted, it was just hidden beneath societies expectations for someone of my age. It turns out that I just needed time to be with myself, not only to work out whom I was and what I wanted, but also to discover how strong and confident I could be, I am. Sometimes when we are constantly surrounded by people we get lazy and tend to rely on them too much. It isn’t until you have no one to lean on that your true traits come to the surface.
Not even a year ago the idea of travelling the world solo honestly scared me so much, despite my planning to do this very thing. I never would have thought I would feel comfortable being completely out of my comfort zone, and yet here I am sitting in Lima, Peru writing these very words. Isn’t that the really beautiful thing about life? The fact that we can grow and evolve in a positive way so quickly. When we put ourselves outside of our comfort zones our personal growth is accelerated to new levels.
I feel blessed to have experienced so many things over the past five and a half months that have pushed me out of my little bubble of comfort. A few examples include; living with a local family in Bali, Indonesia for three months, getting sick in Bali and staying in hospital for three days with an IV drip in (not many nineteen-year-olds have had to make a travel insurance claim), becoming infatuated with every beautiful ethnic man I see, booking my own international flights and organising all my visas/foreign currencies, and budgeting for eight months of travel, having my room flooded at my guesthouse in Thailand getting all my stuff wet and managing to remain calm, having multiple emotional moments in front of everyone whilst on a cycling group tour in Vietnam whilst battling heat stroke coupled with self-limiting beliefs, and managing to injure myself in some way in almost every country I go. These experiences have helped me become stronger and more independent as a young woman. If I had have stayed at home in Australia and not chosen to travel the world solo for almost a year then I wouldn’t have had these experiences, and learnt the lessons that I have as a result.
I was a very shy child, and still can be quite shy when meeting people for the first time, but travelling has made me more outgoing and confident. As exhausting as it can be I love communicating with people, whether they are locals in the place I am visiting or fellow travellers. I’ve learnt how to budget, and how important it is to spend my money on experiences rather than material possessions, as well as how we vote for what we believe in with our dollar/baht/rupiah/peso etc.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learnt while travelling is the importance of being flexible. Things aren’t always going to go your way, whether you are at home, or on the other side of the world. If you are flexible you don’t become annoyed, or stressed, by small imperfections that are a part of daily life regardless of where in the world you are, and what you’re doing.
Most of all, I’ve learnt to just get out there and explore this magnificent world. Don’t take anyone’s word for it, get out there and explore for yourself. You don’t know when you won’t have the chance to do this, so while you can just go for it. And, don’t wait for someone to go with you; if I did I would still be in Australia.”