How Travelling Changed Me

I actually had a completely different post I was going ot write today, but then my facebook memories reminded me that today is the 1st of May, the day we left to go travelling. I hope you weren’t put off by the cheesy title, but I couldn’t help but reflect on who I was this day 2 years ago and just how much our 3 month adventure has made who I am today.

Gatwick Airport

This is us 2 years ago at Gatwick Airport, ready to get on a plane to Dubai all by ourselves. My face in this picture is very puffy, as you can see, because I had been crying all day long leading up this. We had an evening flight, so that day I went on a lovely bluebell walk with my mum and little brother and sister in the English countryside with a cup of tea at the end. I cried there. I cried back at home, I cried packing my bag, I cried saying goodbye to my little brothers, my step dad, my dogs. I cried on the way to the airport and hugging my mum and sister goodbye. I cried a LOT. But when we got to the airport Jay was sat on that red bench and he wasn’t crying. He was smiling and ready to go. I am very thankful for his optimism when it comes to big scary things. I can’t really describe how it felt once my mum left and it was just us walking through the airport. It felt wrong, like we were waiting for a adult, to me anyway. Then we had to deal with the worst airport drama I’ve ever had which you can read about here, because I’m not writing all that out again oh my goodness. BUT, I look back on that drama fondly now because it threw us in the deep end right from the get go, which was terrifying at the time, but we made our flight and were ready for (almost) anything now.

Maya Bay

I’d love nothing more than to just sit here and write about the incredible experineces we had, but that would be unrealistic. Travel has its many challenges that get thrown your way, mainly me getting very ill twice from a really nasty type of food poisioning (if you’re ever at the Pai food market, don’t eat the deep fried sandwich, it’s not a fun kooky food idea, trust me), which took a couple weeks for of me and hit our bank accounts pretty hard. Then there’s the almost getting robbed by a terrfying Vietnamese scam, not very fun. Our time in Asia was constantly about adapting. Things just aren’t as set in stone as we’re used to at home, which sometimes can be a great thing, but other times requires fast thinking on your feet and teamwork with your travel partner to manage the situation. Which brings us to our next point, 3 months with one person is going to be hard. There are times when you won’t get on and will want space from eachother. Before going I was told by mutliple people that travelling would “make or break” us, I didn’t really belive them until I was there. Luckily, Jay and I are pretty good at dealing with eachother on our bad days, that’s not to say we didn’t have arguemnets because duh we did, everyone does, but all in all we did good and I’m super proud of us ❤️ (He might completely disagree but oh well, this is my blog 😋)

Sailing down the Mekong, on route to Luang Prabang

Ultimately, when I look back upon all we got up to in 3 months, I know there are definetly things we would both do differently now. But, I’m so proud of everything we did do. If we were faced with a challenge, we overcame it. We have some dodgey memories and some amazing ones. There are always going to be bad parts of travelling, otherwise people would come out without any funny stories to tell! Like my 19th birthday on a dodgey Halong Bay tour with a Chinese family singing karaoke the whole way. Not what I expected from the day, but it’s hilarious to look back on.

Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai

My favourite memory has to be Maya Bay, which is now indefinetly shut to tourists, so we are incredibly lucky to have seen it on a beautiful day at a time with hardly any other tourists there and swim in the goregous bright blue water! I’ll remember it forever. Elephant Nature Park is up there too. Getting to see such magnificent creatures who have been saved from troubled lives and now living in a gorgeous forest with the utmost love and care. No riding to remind them of their tragic past, and also my first ever look into veganism! This sanctuary holds a special place in my heart because it indirectly taught me to begin questioning my own sustainability and how to better myself. It led to sustainability becoming my biggest passion and studying it at university, who knows where I would be now without this experience.

Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai

Basically, travelling is the biggest, most badass thing I’ve ever done and I am so grateful for the experience. To my family who supported the decision, both morally and finacially, and to Jay for doing it all with me, and to myself for making the huge decision to go on a gap year and work 3 jobs to make most of the money myself. Travelling shaped me into a more mature, passionate, confident, resourceful, and insight person that I could never have imagined when planning it all. I just thought I was going in a super long holiday with my boyfriend! If you’re thinking about going on your own adventure, just jump in the deep end and do it if you can, you won’t regret it. I can’t wait for the next one to come along!

Lon x

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