Before I had a blog, travel was a hobby. I would take a few short trips a year with friends, usually no more than five days. That’s not including the 3 weeks I had in Canada and New York in 2013 but that was a once in a lifetime thing. Or so I thought at the time. As the same with most, I initially started blogging to document my travels. To remember the little things that you forget in time. Since then, my relationship to travel has changed.
It feels less of a hobby now. Maybe that is because I travel more often and take longer trips. Or maybe it’s because, in terms of a “normal career”, I have no idea what I’m going to do with my life, so I am focusing all my energy on seeing the world. Either way, blogging has changed how I travel. It has changed how I approach a trip. It has made me more adventurous in my destinations and more adventurous in my experiences. I am more driven to fill my time in a new place to the brim and make as many memories as I can.
I look back on that trip to Canada back in 2013
My first long haul flight. My first solo flight. I said goodbye to my parents at the gate, braved it through security, and tried my best to repack my hand-luggage with my uncooperative, shaking hands. I was emotional and scared out of my mind. Not knowing the etiquette of long haul flights, I refused all (free) drinks offered to me assuming they were extortionate. I was nervous talking to the flight attendants because English wasn’t their first language, and even if it was, they would still struggle to understand my Scottish accent. God forbid I would have to repeat myself! Basically I was very shy and quiet and the least assertive person you would ever meet.
I take for granted how comfortable I am with travelling now. Sometimes I am sitting on a plane, literally flying through the air in a metal box, and I may as well be on a bus going into town. It’s such a drastic change from the nervous 21-year-old I was four years ago. Don’t get me wrong, I still have my moments. I stress about not knowing what to expect from a new destination. If I don’t know what I am walking into, my mind starts to convince me it will be a maze that I will never find my way out of.
Have a Little Courage
When I was sitting in Schipol airport, waiting to board my flight to China, I remember looking up at the departures board and seeing a flight for Glasgow. “I could just go home. I don’t have to do this. Why the fuck am I going to China?!” I don’t know if I thought that I would step out of Beijing International into rural China, or if I was just scared of the massive language barrier I would about to be hit with. Low and behold, everyone I spoke to in Beijing Airport spoke English! I walked out of the arrivals gate, headed over to the TAXI sign, showed the driver the address and off I went. Simple.
Would I have even had the courage to go to China without the online travel blog community I have become a part of this past year? I honestly don’t think so. I had never even considered Asia as a travel destination before because the thought of it terrified me. But being part of this amazing community, and reading all these incredible blogs from all over the world about travellers jetting off, fearlessly into the unknown has been inspiring. “I could do that. It doesn’t seems that scary”. Hey presto, a year later I’m in China.
In 12 days I fly off to Australia on a one way ticket. To understand the gravity of that, I have been talking about this since I was 12 years old. Moving to Australia has always been my travel endgame. I say endgame, because I never thought in a million years I would do it this soon. I would plan it out and tell myself ‘one more year’ but I always knew I was lying to myself. But again, being introduced to a fountain on travel blogs this past year, moving to Australia for a year seems so common it’s almost expected of travellers these days. I 100% believe it has given me the push I needed to take the leap myself. While I did wait for my friends to be able to come with me, I am actually doing it!
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined” – Henry David Thoreau
Blogging has also made me appreciate Scotland more.
I’ve always loved Scotland and thought it was a beautiful country. But the desire to travel is, whether intentional or not, the desire to get away from home. Away from the familiar. I will admit, it was mainly to get more content for my blog, but I have seen more of Scotland this past year than I have my entire adult life. I’ve hiked mountains and visited cute little towns, been a tourist in the capital city as well as my own. And I’ve come to realise that I bloody love it here! It really is the most beautiful country in the world and I will always call it home.
Knowing this has given me a new-found freedom to stop looking for where I am going to live my life and just start enjoying it. I have no career plans. I have no financial ties to Scotland right now. This is the opportune time to set out and see the world. Why work away my life and save all my money just to live comfortably in a life I don’t want right now. Or better yet, not ready for. Why buy a house or a flat at 25 years old unless you know you will be happy living in that one place for the foreseeable future? Regardless of whether I end up back here and set up my life, or settle somewhere abroad, knowing I have my family here to come back to is a massive support.
Blogging has sparked a different kind of love of travel. I live for it. I can’t imagine a life without travel. After my year in Australia, who knows what’s going to happen. Will I stay another year? Will I come home? Or will I just carry onto my next destination until I’ve seen them all?
The unknown still scares me. But it excites me so much more.
“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu
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