“Standing alone doesn’t mean I am alone, it just means I am strong enough to handle things all by myself”
I first felt the desire to travel in the summer of 2009, I went on a short holiday to Barcelona with my then boyfriend, we went for 4 days, and although we managed to see a couple of the main sites, La Sagrada Familia, the fountains, and Nou Camp..it wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to delve further into the history and culture surrounding me.
As my once perfect relationship slowly crumbled away, I found myself thinking more and more about getting away, that that would be my ticket to happiness. We eventually broke up, we both knew it was the right thing to do despite the heartache it brought, we had been fighting to stay together for a long time, despite our hearts not really being in it anymore. I guess that’s the pull of your first love, it’s hard to let go, to take the leap onto the path you know you should be on.
I had recently started university studying to be a nurse, and whilst very much focused on that I had already set my heart on travelling after graduation. The thought of leaving home for a year or more scared me, it seemed unattainable and so distant in the future. There’s a broken record of reasons why not to interrupt life in order to go on such an adventure—no time, no money, a career, the list of unknowns is long and scary, but that was what I secretly craved for…adventure. It was whilst studying where I met a now good friend, who spent 18 months travelling Asia, Australia and New Zealand, I spent hours pouring over her photographs and questioning her about her trip. She is a confident and strong-minded girl, the opposite of me at that time I suppose, but she made it seem so simple, finish university, book your flight and go do it.
Further into university, I entered another long-term relationship, it was long-distance and quickly became serious. I was upfront about my future travel plans and he accepted that, he to had hinted that he wanted to travel. It was perfect, we would travel together! He was a great love, and somebody I truly believed I would one day travel the whole world with. As life has taught me, things change, people change and travel plans most definitely change.
So now, four and a half years later after deciding I wanted to travel, I sit in my bedroom writing this as a qualified nurse, 4 days away from beginning my adventure, alone…and I couldn’t be happier. The day I land in Bangkok marks 1 year since my break-up, which I cant help but think is a lovely coincidence. These past 12 months alone have changed me, made me stronger and more ready than ever for this solo adventure. I learnt a lot about myself from my previous relationships, whilst continuing day-to-day life, which made me excited about what I would learn when facing the challenges travelling will undoubtedly throw at me.
Although the past few years has brought love, broken hearts and life experience, my desire to travel and live freely has remained the same. I want to lie on the beautiful beaches, climb through the jungle, build friendships with people all over the world, jump out of planes, build my confidence and skills, and experience different ways of life. I don’t want to grow old where I grew up. Throughout my nurse training, I feel I have established a hunger for life, having seen what curve-balls it can throw at us unexpectedly, and how it really is so short. I have shared my travel dreams with my patients, and in turn have heard of their adventures from all over the world, encouraging me to know that this is the right thing for me to do.