This time 10 years ago I was just a couple of months away from setting off on my first backpacking adventure.
I’d graduated from university six months before and worked to save up enough pennies to buy myself a round-the-world plane ticket, a Youth Hostel Association discount card and enough insect repellent to last a lifetime. I then sold my car and was able to buy some friends to take with me too.
I feel a sense of pride and contentment when I reflect on how my life has changed since then and all the things I have achieved. I know I’m a different person than the one I was all those years ago – certainly by dress size anyway (need to work on that!), but I still remember like it were yesterday arriving on Koh Phi Phi island in Thailand to help with the clear-up after the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami; hiking up the Franz Josef ice glacier in New Zealand; sleeping in a haunted prison, and dodging dingoes in Australia (the human-eating variety). Fun times.
Back then I always knew I wanted to explore more of the ‘real’ world before I got tied down in the world of work. I remember people telling me that if I wanted to go travelling I should ‘get it out of my system’ before I started working on my career. While I agreed this was the right time to do it, I never felt it was something I had to, or even wanted to, get out of my system. For me, the desire to travel will always be in me, and each time that I’m lucky enough to travel to new places it just makes me realise how small an existence I have in the world at large and how much more of it there is to see.
And so here I am, 10 years after I first caught the travel bug, heading off on a new mini-adventure to Southeast Asia for four months. Having established a profession in PR and communications, and using my yearly leave allowance to tick some amazing destinations off my bucket-list, I’m now taking some time out from work to head to a place I’ve always considered my second home and to re-connect with the things I love doing the most.
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Until next time…