For me, travel represents freedom, life, adventure and spirit. All of these are virtues to me and when I embrace them I feel like myself.
I often wonder if the events in my life have led me to this place or whether it was already built into my genes.
In my life I have generally been a nomad anyway, growing up we moved house every year and this has kind of continued my entire adult life. In total I think I have moved around 30 times and never lived anywhere longer than 2 years. So changing my environment seems to be almost a habit, or routine, or maybe just a conditioning.
Growing up I always dreamt of running away, or jetting off, or living abroad. I had wanderlust very young, I just didn’t know what to call it.
So I went through the academic motions; as you do. I went off to university at 18 not entirely sure what to expect, and making the ridiculous mistake of choosing a uni based on its proximity to the sea. I soon discovered, once away from the comfort of my home and family (coupled with a not-so-great-degree-course) that I had a very desperate need to escape. I devoured books on travel, self-help, escapism … all sorts. Coupled with a few other issues in my life that I year, I decided to take a break from academia and take my gap year.
The ‘rents weren’t sure about it, but ultimately supported me whilst, at 19 years old, I took the time off from studying to work out what I wanted. That year I spent loads of time in the library (I didn’t own a computer in 2002) researching everything and anything I could think of, all the while taking up various temp jobs to start saving for my first backpacking trip. Before I went though I wanted to make a decision about my degree. I had every intention of going back to study, after all I was rather academic and it would be silly not to get a degree. Except this time I wanted to make sure I chose the correct degree. After many an hour in the library I stumbled across the social science of Anthropology, and I was hooked. The more I read about it the more it made sense to me. I had found my discipline. Now, at the time I was getting loads of work experience in the media and marketing industry so I looked to find combined degrees where I could study both. And that is how I came to be a graduate of Anthropology and Communications from Goldsmiths.
Now, before I embarked on my higher level academic studies for the second time, I grabbed a backpack and an Interrail pass to spend 5 weeks travelling solo around Europe. It was scary, exhilarating, inspiring and exactly what I needed. Now, this was a time when I was still using a film camera and instead of blogging I would write regular emails home to my family from my hotmail account, whenever I could find an internet cafe (remember those?). Looking back, it almost seems destined that blogging would become my way of life; I was always set on recording my travels, at least for posterity’s sake.
It would be another 5 years before I got to backpack again. Then I was 25 and had the obligatory quarter-life crisis (that’s totally a thing by the way). That year, I packed up and quit my life in London, started a blog and wandered around Southeast Asia for a few months. The rest, they say, is history… I’ve blogged ever since.
But that trip around Southeast Asia helped cement who I really am. I came face-to-face with my spirit. I understood that travel and everything it stands for was to be an integral part of my life. Learning, understanding, people, culture, the environment, similarities and differences, stories, moments – this is what travel is for me.