People are always interested in listening to my travel stories. Especially those who rarely travel or have never travelled.
I think they love hearing travel stories mostly because they ‘live’ through my stories and try to imagine the exotic places I describe to them. Imagination can get you far, but there are no words to fully describe the exuberance and excitement of seeing amazing countries and monuments in person, not to mention experiencing different cultures.
Travel is much more than the outward stories I tell, stories which give you a chance to experience these destinations through my eyes, as travel is also about the internal journey. One of the most important stories about my travels actually takes place inside myself; my own journey of self-discovery through travelling.
Sharing my story is all about inspiring others to go out and see this beautiful world we live in and find themselves along the way. To me, travel is not escapism- it’s life education. It grows your gratitude for life itself.
To explore the unknown. To get cultured, revisit the footsteps of our ancestors. To push your boundaries. To get closer to nature. To find yourself. These are all the reasons why I travel.
Reflecting on the past 14 years of travelling, I am not the same person I once was. I was 19 years young when I first went overseas and every travelling adventure after that has certainly shaped the person I am today. It is true what they say- travelling changes you. It changes your outlook on life and provides new perspectives.
If I look back at who I was before I began travelling and compare that person to whom I am today, I would have to say that travel has made me a better, empathetic and more well-rounded person.
Why travelling made me a better person
Personally, travelling made me a better person in 3 ways:
At 19, I was not as confident as the woman I am today. Looking back, I had no idea that my first journey outside of Australia would turn into such a profound love of seeing the world – ‘Wanderlust’ was born then and there!
When you take that step to verge outside of your safety zone, you are exposed to all sorts of people and you are forced to mix and mingle with strangers. This skill of socialising with strangers was a transferrable skill- something which helped me immensely, as I started my career in the Business Development space. I was never afraid to prospect new clients, I was never afraid to make cold calls- all because I went through a time where I had to put myself out there, I had to mingle with strangers in a foreign land. To some, socialising with new people and prospecting new business might seem daunting, but to me I didn’t see it as scary or intimidating because I was used to it and comfortable putting myself out there.
That’s not to say I don’t doubt myself from time to time- I’m human, I go through periods of doubts. However, I always stop myself by reminding myself of how far i’ve come.
I’ve travelled the world;
Hiked Machu Pichu.
Dived the Great Barrier Reef.
Navigated unknown cities and conquered my fear of heights.
I did all these amazing things, how can I not be confident? How can I doubt my abilities? I swore black and blue that I would NEVER hike Machu Pichu because of my profound fear of heights, yet I knew if I did not take the opportunity, I would regret it for the rest of my life.
The first step is always the hardest – but the feeling you get at the end of trudging through the forest and reaching the peak of Machu Pichu, just as the sun begins to rise and you see the glimmer of sun rays hit the footpath you are walking on, is utterly surreal.
You feel invincible. Like you can accomplish anything!
After that experience I felt confident in my ability to achieve anything I set my mind to – the confidence I hold today all stems back to that experience. Taking that leap into the unknown encouraged my way of thinking – I don’t let the fear of the unknown hold me back- if I want a job and I don’t meet all the skills the employer wants, I apply anyway. If I want to expand my friendship circle, I’ll go out to an event alone and mingle with others. This is how travelling helped me and lifted my confidence in the way I see myself, the world and others around me.
Travelling made me more Adventurous;
Adventure is as much as a state of mind as stepping into the unknown. The way I see it, what’s the purpose of living if you aren’t willing to push yourself out of your comfort zone? Isn’t this what life’s all about? Everyone has different versions of what the purpose of life is, eg. Some see the purpose of life to be about starting a family, others see it as working hard and earning good money, and then there’s the other group of people, like me, who believe the purpose of life is to go on never-ending adventures, to never stop exploring and to continuously stimulate your mind with what makes you happy.
Challenge yourself, be more adventurous, see the world and make life-changing memories
What makes me happy is going on adventures and doing things i wouldn’t normally do, like the time I decided to walk around Cuzco without a map because i wanted to get a truly local experience. I was by myself and had to communicate with people who couldn’t speak English, which I enjoyed, as it gave me the opportunity to practise my Spanish- with a few funny mishaps here and there!
I ended up venturing a little too far and got absolutely lost. First instinct was to panic, but i forced myself to take 2 deep breaths and walked to the police station asking for a lift back to the hotel. The Police were lovely and dropped me back to my hotel. Overall it was a humorous and unforgettable experience. I can proudly look back, share my story and laugh at the memories. Stories like this, only exist because I did one thing- I stepped outside of my comfort zone for the thrill of adventure.
Never be afraid to push your boundaries, to try new things; because this all helps you evolve into a more open and outgoing person. We live in a constant changing society, we all need to evolve and change. You can sit at home wishing you were somewhere fantastic or you can work hard , set a goal and make travelling a reality. The choice to be more open to adventure is always yours to take- no one else can tell you what you can and cannot do.
Travelling made me Happier;
I think we all have experienced feeling unsatisfied with our lives at some point or another. For some this feeling of emptiness never goes away and manifests into depression, and for others we can control these feelings of bleakness. I found that if you keep yourself stimulated and active, you rarely feel depressed. For me, travelling helps me find that balance- I get a chance to see the world and how other people live. Travelling is something you never forget and a constant reminder of how each society is different.
When you travel you see the world for what it truly is, you come to understand the amazing world we live in and how insignificant we are in this vast universe. Ever heard the expression, ‘the world does not revolve around you?’ Yep, that’s spot on. Remember that when you start to sweat the little things in life.
Travelling is the ultimate way to get outside of ourselves and broaden our perspective, to put our phones down and live in the here and now, more aware, more educated and – perhaps counter-intuitively – better connected
Share a meal with the locals, learn about their food, their faith and culture. Venture to the wilds of Patagonia and let the beauty of the world hit you right in the face, the sheer size and scope of the wilderness reminding you of what is truly important. When you gaze upon such a wonder, all materialistic urges seem so insignificant compared to witnessing such an incredible grandeur of nature.
As Mark Twain once said:
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.
Sending myself on new adventures makes me happier than realising that Coach or Dior are having a sale.
Nothing makes me happy then when I start planning my next holiday. It has been 2 years since I last went overseas and my feet are getting itchy- I feel the urge to explore. To see new things with my husband. Do I have the luxury to drop everything now and go overseas for 3 months?
I Wish! But I am working towards my goal. Like all goals, it requires dedication and hard work to see this world of ours.
The world is what you make it and those who take risks are usually the ones who make it worthwhile.
If you’re looking for a moment where you need to reflect on your life; on your beliefs. Travelling will allow you to learn more than you could have ever imagined. It will be (it is) your greatest experience.” – Jennifer Morilla (fellow traveller)
Don’t take my word for it.
See for yourself and go on your own journey of self-exploration.
Find out how travel changes you and your outlook on life.