I write this 17,000km from home in Sydney, Australia, in the midst of a solo round the world adventure. Suddenly catapulting myself out of nowhere, through Thailand, where I bathed with elephants; Malaysia, where I spent a whole afternoon stood 86 floors above Kuala Lumpur; and Singapore, where a monsoon forced me to take refuge in a Turkish tailor’s, was always going to take some getting used to. I find solace in writing; it allows me to take a step back. To look around. To feel complete awe of this world, and the many perspectives of it I have experienced. And it gets me thinking: how did I end up here?
Truth be told, I know exactly when this path began building itself: during my childhood. Never a child of stability, my upbringing helped to develop this knack I have for adaptability and yearning for travel. Cherished bedtime stories of my grandfather’s travels put me to sleep most nights, while my mother’s career helped feed that wanderlust by day, allowing me to visit a multitude of countries (always tagging behind her, journal in hand). I think it’s safe to say that although I may not have been born with itchy feet or the ability to write, they did not take long to develop! Through the years, that feeling, that need, that skill, has grown and grown. I have been incredibly fortunate so far, yet, like moth to flame, I still feel the need for more.
So, why solo travel? Why writing? And why now? Raised as an only child, I gained an independence that only evolved as I did. Travel and adventure are almost innate requirements for my life and, as a result, I have always looked for any way to explore (even burrowing for blackberries at the end of the garden!) My journal, I suppose, kept me company. But when I found myself in a rut at 20, I’d really struggled to see what was missing. I hadn’t so much as picked up a pen for two years; an ill-advised time of study in the sciences diminishing my writing habit and my grandfather’s passing four years earlier leaving me lost. I had somehow, quickly, become blind to what I really needed: to write again. But (!) I developed a plan. My grandfather travelled his first round the world trip when he was 68 and I decided I was going to honour him. A period of extreme frugality meant I’d come up with over £6000 in ten months. I booked my flights, then, a week before leaving, started my blog. It’s a cliché, but eight months later and I haven’t looked back. And that “lost” feeling? Despite residing 17,000km from home, gone.
(written in entry to WorldNomads Travel Writing Scholarships, wish me luck!)