As soon as they invent the time machine I’m travelling back to January 2016!
I would love to see the look on my face as I explained how different my life would soon be. As I packed my enormous backpack on the crampt landing of my Bournemouth house-share, my best friends’ support and love all around me, I wouldn’t have believed that I would soon move my whole world to Canada. I didn’t understand at the time how my simple backpacking adventure was about to shake my life’s core. Opportunities, risks, relationships, challenges, the smell of food I’d never tasted, the wonder of vast cultures, the glory of a tomorrow without foresight.
I wouldn’t believe it.
But then again…What’s the fun in that? I was so happy to be faced with the unknown and to feel the anxiety, adrenaline and wild panic coursing through me as I made my lonely way to Heathrow Airport. I would never change that feeling even now.
I was born in England, became an adult in France, took a leap of faith to Cambodia, challenged who I was in Vietnam, fell in love in Thailand, went it alone in Borneo, conquered my fears in Australia and I’m now building a life in Canada.
I have finally listened to everyone and decided to share my stories!
I was 24 years old when I decided to go backpacking. I did what many do and chose South-East Asia.
Basic. Basic. Basic.
I didn’t care.
The mystery of Angkor Wat, the crystal clear oceans, the white sand as soft as sawdust in between my toes, the taste of Pad Thai sizzling on a street cart, the laughter of children seeing a tractor for the first time as it builds their village’s first road, the unbeatable multi-coloured sunsets, the silence of monks praying in grand golden temples, the energetic bass of beach parties, screaming arguments with drunk boys peeing in the corner of your hostel room at 4AM… I wanted it all.
As cliche as it sounds, I did, in fact, want to ‘Find Myself’. I was at the stage where I felt I had gotten everything out of my job and it came down to deciding whether the next step was to land a new dream career somewhere, eventually get promoted, have a family and never leave… Or get out now.
‘Getting out’ sounds like an escape. I’m sure I would have loved my life if I had stayed. But I knew I wanted to start experiencing this world. I wanted to create enough lasting memories to be sat on my deathbed at whatever age and smile to myself.
Congrats kiddo. You did good.
I feel like I have only scratched the surface and can see a long future ahead scouring for new adventures – But I can thank these past 2 years for everything I have today.
I have confidence in what makes me who I am. I have accepted flaws and personality traits that may be unwanted or unreasonable. I have learnt to appreciate everything I have and not all the things we think we ‘need’. Travelling brought me all of these things, but it also brought me to finding love.
My Canadian boy who started out as who I decided he was. A flirt. A shirtless boy buying me exotic cocktails at a bar. A thoughtless shallow male backpacker.
I will never forget the feeling of angst as I grew to understand my feelings for him; and that those feelings were reciprocated.
We found adventure together and my solo trip of frivolous discovery became much more than that. It became a journey to find home.
I’ll be here as much as possible sharing all the advice I can give on backpacking, visas, hostels, budgeting and more – as well as bits and bobs from my everyday life.
So here I am Canada. I have chosen you – and I look forward to growing together.