Honey I’m home! And just like my 6 week stint of exploring Europe has come to an end. I am so excited to share with you in detail all the places we went, cities we saw and things we learned. My 2018 Europe trip feels like a dreamy moment in time that never really happened – everything went perfectly well, no missed flights, broken cameras or stolen phones and zero nasty encounters! Continue reading The Best Moments From My 6 Week Europe Trip
In case you haven’t heard in just 3 short weeks I am heading off on a 6 week Europe trip and could not be happier or more excited about it! This will be my first time back since I left 5 years ago after studying in London for half a year (you can read about it here) and close to when I first started this blog in 2012. Continue reading 10 Unique Things To Do In London This Spring/Summer
The other day I was driving home from work and as I sat in traffic with the sun ducking behind the hills I started thinking about just how much travel has taught me over the years. Whether it’s an eye opening revelation, a small glimpse into the lives of others, or a realisation of how grateful I am for the life I live at home in Sydney, I have found traveling and exploring different countries teaches you things that you may not have learned otherwise.
My first major realisation and lesson came from living in London for six months. Being on the complete other side of the world to the country I call home, Australia, there were several differences that hit me in the face like a tonne of bricks. It was eye opening. Really. I never fully understood what culture was until I lived in a place that was so fundamentally different to the culture I was used to back at home.
Here are my top five countries I have traveled to that taught me a memorable life lesson:
Oh Greece. Where do I begin? Arden and I traveled to Greece back in 2013 which you can read a hilarious story from our time there here or drool over some spectacular blue and white sanctuaries on the cascading cliffs here. All three places we visited, Crete, Athens and Santorini were all incredibly different, but there were also many similarities. It’s no doubt that Europe still is going through financial and political strife, particularly in Greece, so it shouldn’t have been a surprise when we came across the tourist plots, the locals arguing on the streets about who should get the customer’s business, mistreatment of animals, airport baggage strikes and broken tourist ferries that delayed journeys by almost twice the time.
Lesson: Don’t underestimate the effect of a countries financial and political insecurity on its people. And it’s obvious to and will effect tourists / travelers.
What a country. This was my most recent eye opening trip, having lived there for two months earlier this year. You can read my post I wrote there here which highlights some of the great things this small yet unique country has to offer. I really enjoyed my time in Singapore but one thing my Aussie group and myself immediately realised was just how controlled, regulated and harnessed the individuals living there were. Whether it was the eerily systematic order that everyone lined up for everything in (this can be really good but can also feel quite totalitarian), or the cameras and constant monitoring that went on, I yearned for the freedom that we had in Australia and the lack of fear us Aussies have in our every day life.
Lesson: Freedom is such an important part of living in a country. When people don’t feel free, they often become less efficient and pragmatic, making for slower decision making.
Now this is a place every one must visit once in their life, especially for a romantic occasion with their partner. For me the Maldives is still hubby and I’s most magical trip as it was for our honeymoon – you can see more of this gem here. My favourite thing about traveling, and which I often write about, is the people you get to meet and the conversations you have with them. Arden and I enjoyed getting to know the beautiful staff who worked on these resorts. It was eye opening hearing how much they had to work just to save up enough money to have a one or two week break every year to go back home (Sri Lanka or India) to visit their family or loved ones if they were lucky to get the time off work. Even paradise can have its dark places.
Lesson: Some people have to work harder then you, for less money then you and may never have the same career opportunities you get solely based on where they live or come from.
New York, USA
New York, New York, I love you. I really do. I love the energy and vibrancy you carry every day. I love that we can eat dinner at 11pm and it’s totally normal, and that you have a gigantic park in the middle of your concrete, never sleeping jungle. But you do carry some dark secrets that it took me a little while to figure out. Arden and I explored NYC last year which you can see here. Everything in New York revolves around food, shopping, work and well, being seen. I think that being a lover of nature and the outdoors, I quickly came to realise that living in such a man-made world can’t be all that good for you. Did you know that 1 in 5 New Yorkers suffer mental disorders? There are also many homeless people living on the streets and the congestion of the city is really quite taxing. I’ve heard it’s also a place that you work 7am-11pm every day and your friends are the ones you work with.
Lesson: Not everything that glitters is gold. Hype and smiles can carry as much stress and pressure as the Empire State Building does in peak tourist season. Yikes.
I started with you so I’ll finish with you. I was young when I lived with you for six months. I’m still young now but I’ve matured. I did enjoy being in Europe and I met some beautiful people who I am still friends with (see more here) but I didn’t realise how protected Australia was – from the alcoholism, the sexual exploitation and the depressiveness that cold, cloudy weather can bring on a nation. Opening a public newspaper to a topless girl on the second page was startling to say the least, and the fact that the average amount of sexual partners a college student had every year was around 8 was enough to throw me off. There are drugs and parties and horror stories everywhere you go, but the ones I saw and heard of in the UK were next level.
Lesson: Don’t underestimate the power a smile and a bit of sunshine can have on your every day. Also, a sense of innocence is a beautiful thing for a country to carry.
What lesson have you learned from traveling to a different country?
I hope this post has opened your mind to the other side of traveling. I honestly do feel so grateful and blessed to have been able to see much of the world and meet many beautiful souls. I hope I continue to learn more about the world and the people in it.
Love A x
I was thinking about it the other day. How long has my blog existed? Well – WordPress quickly solved that problem after sending me an online achievement medal for launching my blog 2 years ago! Wow!
2 years… I remember – it was my first year of uni, about week 8 of the first semester. I had all these journals piled up by the side of my bed with bits of paper, words of inspiration and ripped pages out of magazines hanging from them. I thought to myself:
1) Wow – I either have a lot of feelings or a lot of cool experiences and life moments
2) I really need to stop buying journals and find a quicker and cheaper way to store all my information and writing
3) I wonder if anyone will be interested in what life has taught me and join me on my journey
I took a chance, barely knowing what a blog was or how to create one and started this very blog you are reading right now! I see a lot of people blogging these days and it’s cool! It’s become a career now for many people! In my current job now (the paid one i.e. not this blog) I actually get to speak and work with a couple of bloggers which is lovely to be able to have that experience of being on the other side.
But I have noticed a few things. I guess some people take advantage of companies who don’t know how to use bloggers efficiently so that they themselves can make money from it through high advertisings costs and “sponsored posts” on their pages. Not everyone, but some. And some blogs have lost the two things that make up what blogging is:
1) A passion so deep inside of you that you can’t help but spread the word whether it be to 5 people of to 5000!
2) Being honest.
And that’s what my blog has, is and always will be.
For me – it’s an escape. It’s something that I wish I could do everyday, and maybe I will one day, but for now it’s balanced between all my other life commitments. One thing thing that keeps me going is the feedback I get from people all over the world about how this blog has inspired them to try harder in life, do things differently to their friends and to see the world!
And how happy that makes me!
I look forward to continually sharing what life has taught me, what is currently on my mind and the beautiful places I have travelled to.
And it doesn’t bother me one bit that I struggle to find time to blog. All the other stuff happening in my life teaches me so much more then I could have imagined sitting in my room all day and just writing. The craziness of life brings me the ideas for my posts!
Like for example today. It taught me to always, always be yourself. Even when it feels like it’s the wrong thing to do. Don’t let the world punish you for what makes you see the best in life and people.
Ps: I’m getting married in five months (seriously)… does anyone what to hear about what it’s like being a 20 year old bride-to-be? (haha)
Pps: Exactly one year ago I was in…
London – I will be back!
In 11 hours I will be leaving my flat in London. In 13 hours I will be reunited with my boyfriend of whom we had a 5 month long distance relationship. In 36 hours we will be flying out of England and I’m not too sure when I’ll be back. In 27 days I will return home to Sydney, Australia.
It feels so strange looking around my empty room. Just a week ago i could hear the laughter of my friends in the hall outside my door. There were photos covering my walls. Various peoples bags, clothes, drinks in my room that they had left behind. I had so much but now all that is left is a small silver suitcase packed with the bare essentials and a couple of sentimental things. Everything else- cleared out and given to charity. It’s amazing how much random stuff you can accumulate over five months.
I’m still so in disbelief that on the first day of this year I packed 10kg of luggage and flew out solo to the furthest place from home- London. Knowing no one and not knowing what I was getting myself into. But this turned into the most amazing adventure, and no doubt it was because of the people.
I could not have been more blessed. I am knackered and need to regain my energy for more adventures with my boyfriend when he lands tomorrow. Super excited!! Off to San Sebastian Friday yay!