I am a mixture of feelings. Stressed, due to the fact that I am just a stressed out person at the best of times. Shove moving on to a new city in which I know no one and have no job and slowly running out of money into the mix and it’s a mess. Anxious, about having to start over again with meeting new friends. I lucked out in Sydney with meeting a solid group of great people. I almost didn’t want to leave Sydney because of them.

But leave I did, and now I need to start from scratch. I do have a friend here, who lives in Gold Coast so it’s nice knowing she’s close by. But I kind of need to meet people for the day to day chat. Which has been unsuccessful as of yet. A guy asked to use some of my butter for his breakfast this morning, so we’re kind of friends now right? Butter man. What a guy.

However, on top of all those negative feelings that occupy my brain 99% of the time, I am also just really happy. I think because I mainly only talk to backpackers these days, travel has become a norm. Oh you’ve been to Peru? Cool. You’ve swam with sharks? Nice. You’ve climbed to the top of Everest? Good for you. (Okay so I haven’t met anyone who has done Everest, but you get the point.) It’s pretty much all you talk about and all you hear about. Everyone has such incredible stories to tell that backpacking through Australia sounds pretty dull in comparison, so I forget that it is fucking incredible that I’m backpacking through Australia.

I’m so concerned with my day to day life, that I don’t step back and look at the bigger picture.

I have dreamt of travel since I was 12 years old. I’m finally doing it. I talk about my plans with people, stay in Australia until November and then travel SE Asia for 5 months, as if it’s not a big deal. I hear myself say it and don’t fully believe it. But also I do. It’s like there are two versions of me now. One before I left, and the one I am now. And I’m living with them both. The me from a year ago hadn’t even begun planning her trip. She was just settling back into work and was to nervous to sit and have a coffee alone. She would never have dared to go on a day trip by herself.

The me now? I look back and find it funny that I was nervous about almost everything. I didn’t realise it at the time, but there wasn’t much I would do on my own. Or if I did, I would be anxious till I stepped my foot back in the front door of my house. Don’t get me wrong, I still get anxious. But my tolerance level has raised. It’s more I’m nervous of going on a hike and falling off a cliff and not having anyone know where I am. Slightly higher stakes.

Another change I have noticed, whether it be Australia or just the way I am now, is that I get less migraines. I have been suffering from migraines since I was about 19 years old, pretty much at least one every couple of weeks. But in the past seven months I’ve had four! I remember being worried that travelling would be too stressful for my migraines (which are often brought on by stress or lack of sleep or bad diet. Pretty much what backpacker life is) that I thought I would get them every other day. But that hasn’t been the case. I don’t know if it’s the weather, or the clearer air, or just the chiller lifestyle. But I very much like this change, whatever the cause.

The change in me has been slow and gradual

So much so that I didn’t really notice it happening. I still have a ways to go. I’m still not great at chatting to strangers. But I’m sure I’ll get there eventually. I had the security net of travel buddies and a job for the first half of my trip that I didn’t really need to make an extra effort. So this is just a new challenge for me.

I haven’t focused on or built my blog up as much as I would have liked to. Trying to blog with limited or sketchy WiFi has been difficult. Also, I’ve rarely had a comfortable space to work. Hostel life is ever changing and it’s sometimes hard to just set time aside to do a task. I still post as much as I can and engage with others when I have a spare moment, but it’s taken a hit from when I would get home from my job to work on my blog every day. How do you digital nomads do it?

Maybe I need to be more dedicated. Or maybe I need a laptop that takes 10 hours to load a webpage. I am going to try to make a conscious effort to blog more though. It helps calm me down. I guess, when travelling alone you don’t really have much opportunity to talk or vent about stuff. So writing it down clears my mind.

What’s my next steps?

I am Brisbane (have I mentioned that yet?) and looking for work. Though, I am trying to not ONLY look for work, and enjoy what the city has to offer too. I am going to try to start planning my SE Asia trip, which I have no idea about, so anyone who has done that or has some tips, please hit me up!

I am going to try to stop drinking so much coffee as I now can’t wake up properly without it. Rather than eat out all the time I am going to start cooking my meals. I want to focus on being healthy and clearing up my skin. Will I finally start yoga? Let’s be honest, probably not. I am going to try to stop worrying about every little thing and just enjoy the fact that I have 5 months left in this incredible country and still have so much left to see of it!

Hope you are all doing well and have having a great time, wherever you are in the world.

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27 thoughts on “How Travel Has Changed Me (So Far)”

  1. I think a lot of people can relate with this. The part I like best of all is that “the change has been slow and gradual” because I completely think that’s exactly how travel hanged you. It’s a slow process and before you know it you’re a different, but improved person for all of your experiences. Great write!

  2. Thanks for your reflections – I can definitely relate to a lot of this! I’ve had chronic migraines since I was a teen as well and am so glad to hear that traveling has cleared that up for you. I think that alone is a sign that this is what you’re meant to be doing 🙂

  3. I’m sure many people can relate to what you are going through. So thank you for sharing your thoughts. Good luck with your upcoming trip to SEA.

  4. Thanks for sharing this! Traveling alone is definitely a humbling and introspective experience – you learn so much about yourself as person that you wouldn’t have otherwise! Which, you’ve clearly learned. I’m glad you got the courage to just go for it and pursue your traveling dream despite your fears!

  5. A really lovely post! Travel has made me a lot less anxious as well, I think its a really great way to build confidence! I’ll quite happily sit by myself in a restaurant now without thinking that everyone must be wondering why I’m there alone haha.
    It’s also interesting to hear about your migraines, I get them quite often at home as well but you’ve made me realise that they hardly ever occur when I’m travelling! (an excuse to plan more trips) 😉

  6. You literally sounds exactly like me when I started my journey one year ago! I moved to NZ knowing 1 person in the whole country. But it was an amazing experience and I absolutely fell in love with it. You will find your footing and your tribe. And hey – maybe I’ll see ya in SE Asia!

  7. What an inspiring post! Totally relate to travel changing self gradually over months and for better. I hope you get rid of those migraines for good.

  8. I’m old enough to be your mom but I totally get you. Travelling, meeting new people from different countries, having to adapt to different cultures – all this changes us. Most of the times for the better. Yes, sometimes, it’s annoying. Things go wrong, locals stress you but in hindsight, you will never forget these experiences. I started travelling at the age of 16 and became a digital nomad at the age of 44. My grown-up children are more settled than I ever was but they love their crazy mum :-). Keep going, Chiera, nobody will be able to take those experiences away from you.

  9. I am crying at butter man! You are me in every solo travel situation I’ve ever been in – somebody smiles at me on the street? We’re practically besties! A girl in the hostel bathroom says she likes my top, I’m deffo gonna be her bridesmaid someday! The main way travel has changed me over time is that I don’t really care about people’s perspectives of me anymore , and it feels fantastic! Haven’t even touched SE Asia yet, so no tips but excited to see where it takes you!

    1. Aw butter man! Didn’t quite work out between us. I feel you there about not caring what people think. I recently went to have dinner at a restaurant and the waiter seemed to think it was hilarious I was eating alone. Rather than be embarassed (which I would have been months ago) I was happy to give him a chuckle haa

  10. I’ve only been in my new city for 7 months. But I felt (and still feel) exactly as you said. Alone, no friends. I work, but I’m not close with anyone I work with so, it’s just me. It’s hard–was very hard in the beginning. Less so now…though it’s still just me. Lol.

    So, I appreciate your post, your insight. It’s nice to know we’re not alone.

  11. I guess sometimes you have to come to terms with the fact that not everyone was born to wander – although it is something that you have to do in order to discover whether you are. Solo travel is a growing experience that everyone should strive to accomplish but it’s completely okay to decide that it isn’t for you. There is great beauty in one’s own backyard and not everyone has to travel halfway across the globe or all over the world to find where they belong and who they are and that’s completely fine. But having said that, I’m excited for you and your upcoming adventures. All the best, Chiera!

  12. I think it is perfectly normal to be having those “pinch yourself” moments as well as feeling lost and a bit freaked out. As you know I’m quite a bit older than you and I can pretty much guarantee no one is just coasting along, relaxed like they were in a bath. Enjoy the moments, look after your health and go home if you want to – no one will love you more

  13. I totally relate to all of this! I even struggle now talking to people sometimes, and my tolerance level of anxiety has definitely been raised too. I know what you mean about everyone else’s experiences making yours pale in comparison, it starts to feel like everyone’s done what you’re doing and more, so why is it special? But it is! 🙂 And there are so many little things about travelling that will make you more confident and that’s helped me heaps!

    Also if you want any tips for SE Asia, feel free to send me a message! I loved my time there. 😀

  14. It was really great to read your article, There are many benefits to travelling, and the biggest thing is that It makes you happy.

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