While travelling and living in Australia for the past year, I have certainly learnt a lot about myself as a person and about my overall goals in life. I have wanted to travel since I was a little girl and started to make that happen in University by taking part in a semester abroad, but while I was in Aus I found myself itching to get home (although I did love it, obviously). But despite feeling relieved and happy to be home now, I definitely don’t think I have lost the travel bug in me. Instead though, I do think I am ready to build a life for myself here and simply take long weekends to explore Europe for the next few years, in my spare time. In fact, it’s kind of ridiculous I haven’t explored more of it while it’s been sitting here on my doorstep my whole life, so I’m making sure I don’t take it for granted anymore.
But overall, my experience in the land down under has taught me a lot of great things about myself that I am eternally grateful for and urge you to travel too, in order to feel this sense of knowledge and peace I now have with who I am and what I want from life. There really is no experience like seeing the world. Here are just a few things my trip taught me:
- That survival without the internet and social media is possible and quite relaxing (I know, crazy right?).
I was a little bit lost at first, I have to admit. But after figuring out that maps got people around long before smartphones and that it’s not always vital to Instagram everything I eat, it was pretty peaceful. I am actually pretty glad I didn’t get an aussie plan, it would have been a shame to miss out on all those crazy views and experiences because I had my head stuck in my phone.
2. How to be comfortable in my own skin.
Being used to wearing make-up everyday, it was a nice change when the thought of applying foundation was so absurd due to the blistering heat. In the end, I rarely applied anything at all unless going out in the evening and it was so liberating. I have never felt so relaxed with my naked face and I owe that all to this experience. [read more about my no-make experience here]
3. That I’m still so young, and anything is possible.
Like seriously, who said 23 was old? I could become the next Kim Kardashian if I wanted to (I think), or even the next big author. Whatever I want to do is possible, it’s just going to take time and effort.
4. It gave me the time and head-space to reassess my goals and plan how to get there.
Being away was such good fun, but I am definitely one of those people that enjoys working. By the end of it I was so eager to get home and throw myself into a career I love, but it was nice to have that time and space to figure out exactly what that is. The job hunt in front of me is pretty terrifying but I can’t wait to get started when it finally happens for me.
5. To be grateful for what I have and the people I love.
Being away for that long can really make you appreciate the people you take for granted back home. For someone who used to complain that my mum would just tell me pointless information, I was gagging to get home to her before the end. I even missed my brothers (which is saying something).
6. The importance of independence.
Moving out at 18 I have always been independent, but surprisingly this was taken from me while I was away. Normally, I would say travelling helps show people how to be successful and alone, but given my particular experience (travelling with my boyfriend and staying with his different family members), it actually went the other way for me. But it did make me realise how much independence matters to me and my happiness and I won’t be doing anything to jeopardise that anytime soon.
7. The importance of sticking true to who you are, and never apologising for it.
After having disagreements with Adam’s family it made me aware how important it is to stay true to who you are. The main reason we came to blows was because we were such different people, his Uncle just didn’t understand me. But instead of accepting that we’re all different, he was furious I didn’t change to suit him. I know exactly who I am and I have no plans to change that for anyone, no matter who they are.
8. The fear of failure isn’t enough to stop me.
I have to admit, now in that graduate-job hunt stage of my life, I am beyond terrified. I have days where I question my employability completely. But I know that I will get something eventually, it just might take a while (but hopefully not too long universe, okay?). Failure has always scared me, but I realise now that we all have to fail sometimes and hopefully I only get rejected because there is something more suited for me that I am meant to get.
I have never had to live around children before, so moving into a house with a 9-year-old girl and 12-year-old boy was pretty challenging. I have never experienced so much screaming in a day. Not being able to tell them to ‘shut the fuck up’ was pretty hard, I have to say.
10. That things don’t always go to plan… and that’s okay.
When you travel you naturally try to plan everything down to the t, but it doesn’t always work out that way. My boyfriend has a tendency to get pretty upset when this happens but in reality, dwelling on it makes the situation worse and can ruin the whole day entirely. Try to leave enough time in your trip so you can do things another day if they don’t go to plan the first time, but if you can’t just remember that it really isn’t the end of the world. You’ll have done enough by the end of your trip that it won’t be awful if for that activity, you have to say, ‘we didn’t get to do that in the end actually’. Don’t stress about it.
Let me know what travelling has taught you guys.