I’ve just returned from six glorious weeks in South East Asia; Indonesia and Thailand to be precise.
I stepped off the plane to find the number of degrees celsius is in single figures, my dad has given up carbs and Katie Hopkins seems to be some kind of national treasure… I’m beginning to wonder why I came home.
To say I am suffering from ‘holiday blues’ would be an understatement, but I thought I’d take some time out of listening to my holiday songs on repeat to tell you all about the love of my life (travel, keep up).
There are the cliches about how travel ‘broadens the mind’ but there is so much more to it than that. Travelling, alone especially, is such a beautiful, unique and educational adventure. There’s nothing like turning up in a non-English speaking country all by yourself to catapult you out of your comfort zone.
Backpacking has made me more self-confident, self-assured, capable and independent: shyness goes out the window when you have no other choice but to ask somebody (anybody) for help or directions.
Another reason I adore exploring new destinations is that you literally see the world in new and different ways. Travelling is a source of political, economical, historical, geographical and sociological education impossible to get at a college or book.
Being so far from home also puts things into perspective. Problems that once seemed catastrophic can often drastically diminish with some distance.
An inexplicable serenity washes over me pretty much the second I leave Europe. I suffer from acid reflux; I have heartburn daily, despite taking prescribed medication and (mostly) avoiding the foods I’m told by doctors I shouldn’t eat.
Well, I forgot to pack my medication and I ate ‘forbidden’ foods in abundance and I didn’t suffer from heartburn once.
Finally, the thing I love most about backpacking: it is a team activity. Even if you jet off all on your lonesome, you’re soon surrounded by friendly, like-minded people. There is no pretense, no need to impress, everyone is in the same boat and, by sharing such unique experiences, you’re brought together much quicker than in everyday circumstances. It’s not unlikely you’ll form friendships for life – I certainly did.