It’s been almost 4 months since I packed my things and headed to Glasgow Airport to begin my travelling adventure. Some people would now go on to say what a hard time it’s been and use the typical cliche ‘I’ve had my ups and my downs.’ For me though, I’ve only really had 1 major down. The rest has been a crazy, surreal, fun-filled 4 months.
(Be warned, this post is filled with necessary cheesy inspirational quotes)
It didn’t sink in at all until I was having my last morning cuppa for a while, with Mum at the airport. I never freaked out about flying half way round the world on my own, let alone to a whole new country. And I certainly didn’t get that “Oh my god, I’m moving continents” feeling.
Truth is, it still doesn’t feel entirely real to this day. I’m working away, saving up my money just like any other normal day back home. If I say the sentence “I’m in Australia” out loud, then think about where in the world Australia is situated… that’s when I have to shake my head and realise how very lucky I am.
I was born into such a supportive family, and there’s no way I could have done this without their unlimited encouragement to ‘go for it.’
2. Life reassessments
I recently was involved in a conversation about career paths and my aspirations for when I eventually get back home to Scotland. One sentence really stood out for me:
“You should’ve chosen that in the first place.”
But honestly, I’m so glad I made the wrong course choice. If I had known what I wanted to do over a year ago and made that choice, I can say with complete certainty that I would not be following my ultimate dream – seeing the world. Sometimes the wrong choice, leads to the right place.
Being 10 hours, sometimes 9 hours, ahead of UK time was always bound to be difficult with regards to staying in touch with people back home. I speak to at least 1 member of my family every single day. I have had no issues with staying in touch with family, as technology makes it so easy (and having a 21st Century Gran also helps *shoutout to ModernG*).
Friends, however, that’s a different story. When I was in Scotland I considered myself to have a fair few really good friends. We never had a set “group” of us as we all kind of mingled in with different crowds but I had my close few, just like everyone else did.
Now with being in another country for 4 months, I can say that number has decreased dramatically. People who I thought were friends for life, haven’t bothered to drop a simple message to see how I’m getting on. Literally as soon as I took off from my home town, conversations just stopped.
So yes, it is inevitable that you will lose contact with people. But it’s a blessing in disguise. You finally realise who your true friends are and honestly, it’s the best feeling ever.
4. Learning a brand new, not-so-new, side of me
Although I’m 19 now, I started travelling when I was 18… fresh out of High School and taking on the world el solo. Now that the year below me in school are all leaving and going on to further things, I understand it when people say how brave I was/am for venturing off by myself. I realise how young they are, and how young I am to be doing this.
I’ve learnt how strong and independent I am to be able to leave home, leave my family and friends and more importantly to put up with everything that Australia has thrown at me.
When I first met fellow travellers in Sydney, and also in Charters Towers, I got a lot of “So have you just finished uni then and decided to take a break and travel?” and when people tried to guess my age “you must be 24/25?” At first I wasn’t sure whether to be offended or not. I hoped I didn’t look like I’d gone through 4 stressful and tiring years of uni. But they assured me it was a massive compliment, and that it wasn’t my appearance that gave the impression of 24, but my maturity and fearlessness.
Most people go travelling once they have finished their studies but I’ve learnt it’s okay, in fact it’s awesome, to rebel against society and do your own thangggg.
Being surrounded by people you see every day, it’s so easy to get caught up in things and forget about yourself. I used to be so wrapped up in everyone else’s ideas and opinions. It sounds silly, but I’ve learnt how to think for myself and form my own opinions on things. There’s something special about the specific type of freedom of simply relying on just yourself and having nobody else to judge.
5. Take a chill pill
*Not in any way promoting drug use*
I am an incredibly organised person. I love to make plans (I was known as the organiser back home). Planning things, is my thing. If my plans didn’t go to plan, I stressed out so much you wouldn’t even believe (apologies to everyone who had to put up with me). I got really bad travel anxiety and felt physically sick if I wasn’t on time or even better, about 3 hours early.
However, travel plans rarely ever go to plan. You might not find a job somewhere, not like a place and decide to move on but that’s okay. I’ve learned to chill out a bit, and be a little more spontaneous.
6. There’s no place like home…
It’s SHOCKING how little I’ve travelled Scotland and how much I really don’t know about it. When people ask me to tell them about my country all I can come up with is that it’s cold, windy, and there’s a place called the Highlands. It’s quite embarrassing, but history just doesn’t interest me at all.
It sounds strange, but I miss the feeling and the smell of the air when we’ve just had a miserable rainy few days, then the sun is shining like it’s never done before. Hot sunshine everyday does get a little boring, believe it or not.
I’ve promised myself to learn more of my culture and where I’m from. I want to see more of my own country, when I eventually come home.
7. Don’t be a slideshow presenter
Saving the best lesson till last.
Many people know, I take photos of pretty much everything. I used to be so scared of forgetting the moment that I would capture everything. Truth is, I forgot most of these times anyway because I wasn’t really there. I don’t know how I managed to flip the switch, but now I actually have to remind myself to capture the moment. There’s something so special about just being, and taking a step back to take everything in, putting the camera down and absorbing everything you can.
On my recent trip to Cairns I went scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, a dream of mine for so long. I didn’t have an underwater camera and I’m honestly so thrilled I don’t have any photos of the INSANELY INCREDIBLE reef. This way it’s an experience only I have had, and it makes me a storyteller… not a slideshow presenter.
The list could go on forever, and I’m sure I’ve still got lots to learn and discover about myself. I still can’t believe I took the plunge and booked a one way ticket down under. It still amazes me that I had the courage to do it.
Here’s to the next…however many months/years.