I grew up in Sydney, Australia and although I always knew I had a passion for travel, I did not actually leave Australia until I was 21 – or even go on a plane until 18. My family often went on road trips within my state of NSW, which I always loved and from a young age I was used to loooooong car trips – and loved it!
I loved getting out of the city, away from school and the monotony of normal life. Whether it was down the coast with Mum to stay at my grandparent’s beach house during the summer holidays or driving to far west NSW with Dad, I loved it.
I loved the change of scenery, the adventure and the new experiences – my parents always explained to me that the journey was as important (or even more important) than the destination. This is something that really stuck with me – and is a rule I travel by now as an adult.
During these trips while I was a kid, I loved seeing the wide open spaces, huge sky with amazingly bright stars and witnessing emus, kangaroos and other animals in the wild. I felt alive and free when I was exploring new places and seeing new and amazing things – even more so when there was not a building in sight.
Everything was exciting while travelling – sending postcards, having to dial the area code to call home, taking photos (ooh, so many photos! My poor mother having to pay to develop all the film) – and all of it went into my stories when I got back to school.
I always dreamt of international travel, and often spoke passionately to people about how I’m going to travel the world, live overseas, see and experience amazing things and places. When I got a full time job I started saving, and just after my 21st birthday I went for a week holiday in Phuket, Thailand with my partner at the time.
Sure, it was more of a holiday than travelling (which I’ve come to learn can be two very different things) but if there was any chance I didn’t have the travel bug before this… I was well and truly infected now!
I met new people & learnt about their culture, hiked in the jungle, drank with ladyboys, went paragliding (and wasn’t convinced I’d survive), got kissed by an elephant, got insanely sunburnt… The list could go on forever.
Before I was even home, I was thinking about where my next trip would be and how to make it even more of an amazing experience. This was in 2006, and since then I’ve been to 45 countries (as of April 2017) on 5 continents. I’ve learnt about amazing cultures, met incredible people (locals and other travellers alike) and learnt a lot about myself along the way.
I’ve stayed in beautiful hotels and dirty hostels. I’ve been mugged in Naples and invited to a random wedding in Cambodia. I’ve been to genocide memorials and raves in castles. Everything, good and bad, fun and scary – has made me who I am today, and made me love travelling even more.
After a while, trips of only a couple of weeks just didn’t cut it anymore and I dreamt of living overseas. So in 2012, I got myself a UK working visa and off I went to London (travelling for a few months on the way, of course). After 6 months in London and another 6 months travelling, I found myself living in Belfast, Northern Ireland which I absolutely love. Sure, it’s got a bad reputation, and for good reason, but that’s (mostly) in the past – and the parts of it that are not in the past just keeps things interesting!
After over a year of living in Belfast, my UK visa expired and it was time to move on. Of course, just a flight to Sydney would not do – so I went on an epic overland adventure – from Belfast to South East Asia without flying! Through Europe to Russia, Trans-Siberian Railway through Mongolia and China into SE Asia. You can read all about it in the blog posts I made at the time.
And from here… The travels (and blog) continue…