It has been nearly two years since I set off travelling on my first ever round-the-world adventure. Two years. I can’t believe where the time has gone, because for so long I was dreaming of going away – my Gap Year felt like forever away, and actually being all over the globe seemed to last far longer than the three months it actually did. It seems like I never boarded the plane to Bangkok. Looking at photographs and the wonderful memories, sometimes it doesn’t even seem like that’s me staring back because it feels so long ago, a flurry of excitement, trepidation; a feast for the eyes, nose, ears and mouth. Every country we travelled to was different and unique in its own special way and each one has a place in my heart (even if under dodgy circumstances!).
I am so glad I travelled. In reality, I’ve seen very little of what the world has to offer, and the taste of the unknown left me wanting more. The wonderful thing was that I was never scared. For some unknown reason, I just knew I could do it. True, I had my best friend with me – I couldn’t have gone alone first time round! – but still, I was surprised that no feelings of nervousness crept in. I suppose, the fact of the matter is that travelling is a privilege and something we should all have the chance to do. In many ways, unless you are volunteering or something similar, it is quite a selfish thing to do, because it’s all about you. It’s the chance to really live your life. You see things you’ve only ever seen on the television, at times your will and personal strength is tested, but you come out the other side with a totally different perspective on life and, I think, a better person.
For the most part, you give up communication. A few times a week we would email home and update Facebook, but that was the extent of the online activity. We had one crappy phone that we used very occasionally because we were trying to save money, so all the socializing we did was one-to-one – human to human, and if we wanted to have a good time with someone other than ourselves then it was up to us to go out and find them. No Twitter, no Facebook chatting. Can you believe it? And you don’t miss it, not one bit. Because really, we’re not programmed to sit in front of computer screens 24/7. As humans we crave sense-awakening activity, colour, sunshine, people from different nations, different walks of life, rain, eating eggs in every which way in the cramped kitchen of a camper-van. It’s the stuff that makes us, that makes memories.
The trivial, ridiculous things that we get our knickers in a twist about in our day-to-day lives just don’t matter when you’re travelling. You have the luxury, when you’ve worked to save a lot of money as I did, to simply stick a pin in the map and go there. You don’t cry about a boy not texting you back or having a bad hair day because you’re standing in front of a New Zealand Glacier and mirrors are few and far between. You gain a little perspective.