February 16th, 2018
5 Ways Travel has Changed My Life!
I will start off by saying I haven’t always travelled, I never went abroad until I was 18. Unless you count Wales as abroad. I have to be honest this never really bothered me, I wasn’t one of those kids who was like 'one day I’m going to go here and one day I am going to go there.' I even worked at a travel agents for my work experience. This wasn’t something I chose to do, it was compulsory at the school I went to. I think I applied to do my work experience at a leisure centre or something along those lines. But got rejected so was plonked off to the travel agents. Now you are probably expecting me to say this is when I fell in love with travel. But it really wasn’t at all, it was a boring week and I can remember sitting twirling around on the office chair thinking to myself why do people travel… It’s so expensive and sitting on a sun lounger for 7 days then flying home really didn’t interest me. This was what I perceived travel to be at 17 years old. Oh how I was wrong...
As I grew up I got to the age of 18 and finished my A-levels, at this point I had no idea what to do with my life. I didn’t think I would get anything out of uni because I had no idea what to study, I did have a job but just worked at TK Maxx which wasn’t anything I enjoyed. So I was sat at a cross roads in my life and instead of choosing the asphalt road I chose to go down the gravel track as it were, and went to go and visit my auntie and cousins in New Zealand. I could stay at their house and all I needed to pay for was my flights. Fortunately, my TK Maxx wages just about reached the price of a flight. This for me was where it all started, from when I landed and saw how everything was completely different, we went on a road trip with my cousins and stayed in backpackers hostels. We visited the Franz Josef Glacier, home to miles and miles of ice, we flew in a helicopter and swam with dolphins all in the space of a month. It was such an adventure and being 21 years old now, I don’t think my life would be the same if I hadn’t of gone on that trip and started travelling.
Growing in Confidence
The most instant change was how it helped me to grow in confidence, it was literally like a switch had been flicked. At school and through my younger years I was always very shy, scared of what other people would think of me and what they would say about me when I wasn’t there and thinking that I wasn’t as good as other people. But going to New Zealand helped me hugely. I did so many things that I never thought I could do. I never thought I would catch 3 connecting flights all the way to New Zealand and let me tell you at Bangkok airport when I couldn’t find gate C I really thought I wasn’t going to, but I made it in one piece. I talked to so many people on the trip that I didn’t really know because I had only met my family from New Zealand a handful of times. It is quite far away, after all. It wasn’t that I found myself or any of that bullshit, I have always been the same I just needed more self belief.
Met People I Will Never Forget
Through my years of travelling the amount of people I have met and not just the amount of people, the diversity too. Different cultures means different outlooks on life! I always keep an open mind and try not to judge or have any pre-conceived thoughts. Obviously this isn’t always possible I am human and have my own likes and dislikes, for instance I find myself being drawn to South American culture hugely and so it is only natural that I want to learn more about it. But I will never write off somebody else’s views before taking them in, myself. The perfect example of this was when I went to Isla de Sol, it is an island on Lake Titicaca, which is on the border of Peru and Bolivia. It's an island cut off from civilisation, they have no electricity, no forms of media, occasionally people go back to the main land but this is very rare. It was a completely different way of living and very inspiring and thought provoking.
But I didn’t just meet native people, I have travelled with some incredible people who I will never forget. On that very trip to Isla de Sol I met a group of Chilean people, they talked little English but I could speak some Spanish. This was the first time I ever talked Spanish and had proper conversations other than "hola como estas?" in class with other English speaking people. They were so lovely and understanding, whereas I feel like a lot of people would have just disregarded me and not talked as much. They helped me to learn so much in just a weekend and it put me in such good stead for the rest of the trip. This is where my knowledge of Spanish truly originated.
After travelling for about 2 years off and on, I got home and realised how I had changed, I was always thinking about travelling and what else I wanted to do even when I wasn’t on the road. It was kind of an obsession but a healthy one haha. People say about the ‘travel bug’ and oh boy had I caught it. I wanted to put my passion somewhere instead of endless thoughts and watching travel videos online and what else would be better than a blog.
When I originally started I was like a bit of a blind mouse, I hadn’t read too many blogs so had no vision of where it was going to go or what would happen. I started off just writing about my travel tales that I have always wrote in my journals. I then started to write about my travel tips and a year later I am still going, always posting at least once a week.
I always think about blogging so much so that I listen to a blogging podcast at work now! I don’t know what I would be doing without it. After a year of blogging, though my journey is just starting, I can’t wait to see how it continues to change my life.
Seen Things I Never Thought I Would See
One of the questions I get asked most is ‘what’s the greatest place you have ever been to?’ I never have one answer… I have been fortunate enough to have seen so many incredible things. Things that as a child I thought I would only see in pictures or on TV. Machu Picchu the lost city of the Incas, Salar de Uyuni the largest salt flat in the world, swimming with dolphins, the Sagrada Famillia in Barcelona. The list goes on! I would never have done any of these without travelling, it is crazy how many doors it opens.
I never even planned to go to Salar de Uyuni. I was meant to be in Peru for 2 months and then go back to the UK but I took an impromptu trip to Bolivia with a friend who I met in Peru! We both had no plans and just a sense of adventure. This is sometimes the magic of travelling. The unknown is full of the good and bad so just enjoy the ride and the salt flats haha!
Machu Picchu is the one that stands out for me though. It is one of the 7 wonders of the world and is well deserving of that accolade. There is also the history surrounding it, which shrouds it in mystery! No one really can say conclusively how the Incas built, or why they fled so quickly without properly finishing the city. It must have been something massive to force you to flee a place as beautiful as Machu Picchu.
Made Me Realise Anything is Possible
This for me is the biggest thing that travelling has changed in my life! It links to my first point of self belief but goes so much further than that. Everyone always says anything is possible, but they say it in a hap hazard way. They don’t really believe it. 5 years ago I was like that too. I would have replied to that “yeah! But not everything.”
Travelling has made me realise that anything is possible, it just depends on the hours of hard work and dedication you need to get there. I know it sounds cliché and kind of obvious, but I never really realised it. You see these people with great achievements, going to amazing places and doing incredible things. They are inspirations. You think well they are just luckier than me, they were just in the right place at the right time.
All of them, every single one has put in hours and hours of dedication to get there. But no one else realises because they don’t necessarily see the amount of work these inspirational people put in. A classic person to use as an example, who has really stood the test of time is Will Smith. Lucky right? An actor from an early age who just got casted for the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air by luck. But if you watch the first few episodes you can actually see Will Smith in the background mouthing everyone else’s words, not just his own. That’s how hard he worked as a child. That is why he is so successful.
I am sorry for the long description but I learnt all this because after New Zealand I didn’t think I would be able to go on another long trip like that because I wouldn’t have my auntie and cousins there to organise things or tell me which bus to catch.
But all along I could I just didn’t know it. I went solo travelling for the first time in 2015 to Peru. It was hard but I did it and it was the best experience I have ever had just because of what I got from it. Not even considering the incredible places I saw and friends I made. I now go solo travelling as often as I can! I have been to Cuba, Spain, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, all travelling alone. So if you are reading this blog thinking the exact same thing. YOU can go travelling!
Thanks for reading,
Joe Travel Blogs
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