I never wanted to travel. My mum, an avid traveller, tried convincing me to go to Germany for the summer when I was 16 ( we have relatives there) but I said no, much to my fathers relief. During my teenage years I visited many European countries with my family but this still wasn’t enough to inspire and instill a longing for new surroundings and a sense of adventure in me. Summer holidays were taken in Spain, Greece, Portugal, generally a package holiday for a week or two where the only priority was to enjoy the well needed sunshine. Girlie nights out, parading ourselves down the strip ( doesn’t matter which one, different countries but they’re all intrinsically the same) getting lured into the bars and clubs with promises of free shots and 2 for 1 drinks, followed by sleeping at the hotel pool the next day, turning periodically, ensuring that important all over tan. Lather, rinse, repeat. Return home, happy to show off your colour, blissfully unaware of the beautiful towns, villages and beaches that may have been only a short walk or a bus ride away.
When I qualified as a primary teacher and had the added bonus of being paid for my summer holidays, the annual sun vacation was complemented with a trip to the States for a few weeks each summer. Sightseeing, sunshine and shopping, what more could a girl want. That was until one year, three weeks before the summer holidays, I googled ‘girls travelling alone’ and came across forums where women were discussing their experience in this subject. I was shocked at first, curious and finally emboldened. Reading that these girls could traverse the world alone I decided I could do it as well. Less than 24 hours later, I took the plunge and booked a return flight to Bangkok to depart in 3 weeks for the duration of the entire summer.
That summer taught me so much about myself and stirred in me a yearning for more. I realised how much there is in the world to see, to learn, to do and that living in Ireland teaching for the rest of my life would inhibit my ability to experience all these wonderful things. Within 6 months I applied for a career break and 3 months later I embarked on, what was to be,the greatest adventure of all time… MY LIFE.
My advice to anyone who wants to travel is book a flight and just do it. Over thinking just allows time for your mind to come up with excuses, some valid, some not, but nothing should stop you following your dreams. Action speaks volumes. Take that first action in the direction of your dreams and you’ll soon find things fall into place. You only get one life, fill it with passion and adventure. Make it a journey that will live on after you’re gone, by inspiring others.