Travelling alone, what people don’t tell you. 

Travelling alone according to every millennial article you will read will, is supposed to be the most amazing, perfect and life changing experience of your life. Whenever I asked people what it was like to travel alone, they never hinted that there was any down side.The truth is, it is amazing, it is life changing but it is far from perfect.When travelling alone, I was confronted with something that I’ve never had to face before and that was being alone. Like really being alone and isolated. Before I went away, when I was at uni, if I came home to an empty house where all my housemates were out, I’d get really down and lonely, even if it was for just a few hours. And if you’re like me and get lonely like that, odds on you’ll find this whole new level of loneliness really hard. Some people are ok with that but personally I’ve never been very good at spending lots of time by myself.

People would ask me if I ever got lonely when travelling and the truth is of course I did. Especially when there was a night or so when there was a few nights and I ended up being in a room on my own for various reasons. You don’t have your friends, family and support network right beside you like you normally do. You have your phone sure but with time difference and stuff that’s not always gonna work out well.

A lot of the time I felt like I didn’t have a ‘safe place’ to run to when it all got a bit much and have no shoulder to cry on. But as a friend told me, you have to make ‘yourself’ your own safe place. Easier said than done, especially when you’re in a scary place but true all the same. It took a while but I think I did it. You have to be ok with being on your own and be less dependent on the company of others. And you have to be able to be friends with yourself and be able to enjoy your own company.

One of the biggest things I was faced with was making all the decisions. More importantly, if something went wrong, it was all on me. I would have to find a solution and fix it. It was scary but you know, it forced me to grow up and take responsibility.

I made to be ok with actually spending time by myself, it was really hard at first but it got easier. When I wrote the first draft of this, I was chilling in a restaurant, eating, drinking and writing this by myself, which I know a lot of people do but I’ve never been very comfortable with it, and I was totally fine, I didn’t mind it at all.

If given the choice I would always choose to spend a night with friends than alone and I think I will always be that way. However I think the crucial element here is that there will be some times that you will be alone.You won’t always be fortunate to spend all your free time with loved ones, you will spend some days alone.

I know I’m making travelling alone sound less than appealing but it really wasn’t. Travelling alone forced you to make lots of friends which I wouldn’t have done so eagerly otherwise and made a lot of closer friendships. I learned a lot about myself and gained a lot of independence. But I’m not gonna ramble on about all the benefits of it because you can find them everywhere. It was amazing, it really was, I’m just trying to tell you what everyone else seems to be avoiding.

‘So brown and so happy’ – my grans description of me travelling, May 2017

So after 3 countries, 13 flights, 19 airports, god knows how many beds/places I’ve fallen asleep, countless memories and laughter and just a few tears my travelling time came to an end. Today marks one month since my return to England and this post seems to be coming late but it took a lot of time everything sink in. This post is going to be relatively short but I just want to put an appreciation post out there about my experiences.

I know how ridiculously lucky I am. I know that I have had a once in a life time unbelievable experience. My heart is so full and I am so grateful for everything that I have done. I don’t want anyone to think for a second that I have taken all of this for granted. The experiences I’ve had have been absolutely incredible. They have changed my perspective on things and made me look at life differently. I can honestly say that I have returned from this trip a different person. I know that a cliché thing to say but seriously, it would be weird if all these crazy experiences, travelling alone, volunteering and meeting so many different amazing people hadn’t changed me! I am the happiest I’ve ever been. I have a clearer picture of what I want and what I want to achieve but I also have learnt to enjoy everything in the moment, not always being like, oh, I can’t wait for this part of my life to start. Of course, I still look forward to stuff and get excited about the future but definitely not overlook what’s going on around me now. I used to panic about absolutely everything but now, I’m a lot calmer and I deal with problems a lot better. I also like to believe I’ve become more compassionate and more understanding towards others and empathise with their problems more. But also I have learnt that it is ok to be selfish sometimes and to take time to look after myself, which was never really a priority for me before.

But I wouldn’t have been able to have any of these experiences or grow as a person at all if it weren’t for all of the incredible people that I met along the way. You made it what it was and, I want to thank each and every one of you. My heart is so full and I am so grateful. From my volunteering buddies who I got extremely close to even after a few days, I will never forget, to the guys I met in hostels all over Australia, to people I met on tours, trips, even the people who helped me when I was lost and didn’t even know their names. Thank you to all of you. There is so much love in this world and travellers share the most of it. Everyone wants to help each other, even though everyone’s in the same boat of poor-ness and worry. You guys are some of the best people I have ever met and the people who have the most love in their hearts. I love you all.

From Broome to Darwin, exploring the Northern Territory 

Picking up where I left off last week, and carrying on my Australian adventure; when my time in Perth was over I headed to Broome, which honestly, was great but so tiny. I only spent two nights there and that was enough. I did go to the world oldest open air cinema, something that I’d always wanted to do which was great. The building was still all original and it had the original style deckchairs and I watched ‘Beauty and the Beast’ under the stars. The town was cute, there and some shops and a few small independent art galleries in which the artists were still doing their work. I love exploring new artists and supporting them. And I saw the most incredible sunset. I was to see many sunsets and sunrises in my time travelling but honestly, this one was by far the best. The sky was perfectly clear and there were about five or six colours streaked across it, and then came my absolute favourite time of night, when you can still see part of the sunset on the horizon but the sky has also started to blacken and the stars have begun to come out. Honestly, beautiful. The friends I made there were the best. Took me under their wing the first hour I got there and essentially looked after me haha. Took me round places with them in their van, we had BBQs. Watched sunsets, had drinks and made friends for life. It was fantastic.After that I went to Darwin. Well, that was crazy. I of course, checked into the main party hostel and was so happy I did. Within 2 hours of landing, I was drunk of my ass with a group of crazy girls I’ve never met before and had the time of my life. They were mad and I had so much fun, spent a lot of money and got wasted. But the guys I met did this every night, and a lot of them were on working holiday visas. To me it looked like a working holiday visa was working shit jobs, for shit money, to spend it all on alcohol, to be hungover in bed that day, to go to back to work, to do it all again. I asked some of them how long they’d been in Australia and some answered about six months. I said, oh how much travelling have you done? They would reply none because they haven’t got any money, even though they work everyday. It all went on alcohol. $9 a shot. It made me see that I would probably never do a working holiday but I would just go back to do a tourist visa like I did before. I’m sure there are loads that love it and that a working holiday visa is something that would be perfect for them but just not for me. It seemed like it was not all the Australian traveller dream is cracked up to be!

Anyway, I had a great time in Darwin, there’s quite a bit to do! I went to the Litchfield National Park which was incredible, I love getting into nature and exploring new places so this was definitely one of my favourite things to do! I swam in waterfalls and explored new nature, I loved it. I went on a jumping crocodile tour and they leaped out of the water and wiggled like a salmon to get the meat which was awesome. I also swam with a crocodile which was absolutely terrifying but ya know, when in Rome! That was actually my attitude to pretty much everything that I saw the opportunity to do. If I was ever on the fence about doing something, I was like, when am I going to be here again and have this opportunity. Made me do things I’m not sure I’d have done otherwise!

Bit of a short one but next time will be the beginning of my East Coast adventure when my bestie came out to join me so watch this space!

 

 

More adventures, this time in Perth

So, I’ve been back from travelling for just over 2 weeks now, (crazy I know) and I thought it was high time that I did a blog post considering I’ve been highly neglecting it all throughout Australia…Firstly, I want to say how amazing this time has been, but you will know that if you have spoken to me at all or seen any of my many many many many many many Instagram/Facebook posts (sorry for the spam…). The first thing that people always ask me is; what was the best thing you did? I say it’s impossible to answer because basically everything I did was incredible. There was no, one thing that stood out from all the rest.

However, if we’re considering which cultural experience was best, obviously the culture difference between home and Australia was marginal compared to the difference between here and India and Thailand (but I’ve already covered my experiences there in previous posts). So culturally, it was those countries that were the better experience, however, I didn’t go to Australia for the culture, I went for the weather, the nature, the sights and the fun! But actually, every culture is at least a little bit different. The history obviously and the history of the aboriginals was super interesting and just even the ways that people from the UK and people from Australia behaved, although still both Western behaviour was sometimes quite different. One thing I did notice was that people were so much friendlier, everywhere, the bus drivers were helpful, the shop assistants and bar keeps served you with a smile; it was like they were actually happy to work! It was so refreshing and I absolutely loved it. I’m putting it down to the vitamin D from all the sun that they get but that’s just a theory! And also everyone in Australia seemed perfectly ok with using very strong language to talk to their mates… calling each other c*nts and such like… and they shorten everything. Literally everything that’s more than one syllable; it’s really quite amusing.

Anyway, I was lucky enough to explore lots of Australia. First I spent 3 weeks in Perth and the surrounding areas, staying with my godparents and them being my personal tour guides, which I am extremely grateful for! I was looked after in a sense which was very much welcomed after being essentially completely on my own in India and Thailand. It was great spending time with that part of my family that I hadn’t seen in about ten years. It was just like a little slice of home and after the hustle and bustle and stress and everything from India especially it was so nice to relax a bit. It was like a big sigh of relief when I stepped off the plane and didn’t feel on edge that I was going to be stared at for my clothing choices, speaking of which I had to make a quick trip to target to buy some more clothes because I only had one pair of shorts!

I had so many different and wonderful experiences when I was in Perth. As soon as my godfather collected me from the airport he took me to see some wild kangaroos which I got waaay too overexcited about! After that there was wineries and wine tasting, there were chocolate factories, there was camping, there were zoos, aquariums, lots of amazing food and drinks, there was sun, there was sunburn, there was beaches there was snorkelling, which by the way, is my new favourite thing I absolutely love it. I just kept thinking how lucky my godparents were that they were able to go to the beach whenever they wanted and do fun stuff there and water sports and diving etc. When we have a sunny day our options are pub or a walk… When I’d visited my first Australian beach, we had a shark warning and someone pulled a snake out of a rock, first and only wild snake that I was to see in Australia actually, all within the space of five minutes and it did kinda freak me out I must admit! I went swimming with dolphins too which had been on my bucket list since I was about ten! It was so incredible and when you put your head under the water you could hear them speaking to each other and the different noises they were making and I got so excited I accidentally inhaled a load of seawater into my snorkel…

I (obviously) think Perth is a lovely place but somewhere that you want to live and spend time properly, not to backpack. I still had an incredible time but I think that was because I had my godparents showing me round and they had a car so they could take me to places that were a little bit further out. I still felt at this point that I hadn’t done proper ‘backpacking’ yet which was why I was sooo super excited for the next part of my adventure which would be hostels and no hand holding! I’m going to leave you with this for now before I bore you all to death but my next post will be up shortly about the next part of my time in Aus! Until then, adventurers!