I remember my first night as a traveller. It was in Dubai and we were having dinner, catching up with my good friend Vanessa and her Dubai family. They took us to Dubai Mall where we were waiting for its famous magical fountain show to start. As the roar of the music began and the fountains danced I looked around in complete oar. This was the very first time I had one of those oh my god I'm standing on the other side of the world moments, somebody pinch me. At that moment everything had finally sunken in. In a couple of days we would fly out to Dublin where we would be just another couple of backpackers lost in this world, we would be on our own. For now we were relevant and safe I felt nothing but pure happiness as the mist of water sprayed over me making my skin tingle in the warm desert heat of the night. This was it, I had never felt so much joy. As the fountain continued to dance I remember concentrating, repeating to myself over and over in my head. Don't blink, don't blink, don't blink, blink and its all over.
There are many types of people in this world and all who travel are on a different pursuit. Some travellers go just as tourists for an epic European party, some go because they were made to go having very little say in the matter, some travel to find themselves in hope of having an epiphany and others go to lose themselves on the run from a life they left behind. For me nobody made me travel, I wanted to delve deep into different cultures. I had nothing to hide so I was not running, I was searching. Searching for that trigger, that light that would spark the flame. I was searching for direction for an idea of what I wanted for my future. I needed to lose myself in the world to truly find myself, well so I thought.
I can proudly sit here and say I have no idea what I am doing with my life and what my future holds. I am twenty-one years young not old. Now is the time for small pay checks and big memories. Its the small window of opportunity you have in your life to be selfish and free and do whatever you please, go where ever your heart desires. The future for me is irrelevant, my time is now. The only distant thoughts I have for the future is more travel.
I can confidently say I have learnt more these last six months then I have my entire life. A life of travel teaches you things no book, professor or workshop could ever teach you. The things you see can change your life forever. Your perceptions grow and change in ways you never imagined possible. You find yourself in situations, some are the most amazing things that could have happened to you, whilst others tear you down. Its all apart of character building. This is not some big elaborate holiday, this quite simply is my life. There have been countless nights where I've had no where to turn no where to sleep but a 24 hours McDonalds or a park. Yet I wouldn't change those times for the world because as the sunrises so does a brand new day shedding light on yet another wonder of this incredible world.
For me giving up and going home has never been a moments thought. Through travelling I have learnt to appreciate home so much more but not for a second have I truly missed it. I have my entire life to be in Australia but right now this is my time to explore Europe's delights, its my time to shine. Some people might say I'm lucky well really your mistaken. What bought me here was a vision, hard work and determination. I have concurred self fears and accomplished something that I worked so hard for and had always wanted to do. I feel now that nothing is beyond my reach and I know that what ever I want next in my life I will succeed. You yourself are your biggest limitation.
One of my all time favourite things is when you sit in a room filled with people from completely different parts of the world, different languages, religions, ages. Yet the conversations and the connections you have and make with these people are so instant and you somehow completely understand every single word about how they feel, there lives, there ambitions, there dreams. You can speak to them about things more then you ever could someone you have befriended for years. Because they understand you. There is a connection, a reason as to why you have all chosen to be at that particular place at that exact time of your life and it truly is a magical experience. I have met some of the most unbelievable people and shared so many fantastic experiences with them that I know in my heart they are friendships I will have for the rest of my life.
When you open your eyes and see the world through an open mind you learn to view things you normally would never take note of.
You take those extra few steps to see whats around that corner.
You listen to those half broken English conversations in hope of relevance.
You touch every crevice and every detail of history as its all within hands reach.
The food taste's fresher as your tastebuds pulsate with the excitement of the unknown.
The air smells promising as you breath in new ideas of life.
The world is yours when you truly open your eyes.
The only thing left now to do is enjoy the view.
The Ultimate Question
The two most frequently asked questions I get is 'what was your favourite place/country?' and 'what was your least favourite place you have been?' Both these questions are quite possibly my two most hated, as I believe its a narrow minded way of looking at life. I can answer them both the same, which makes its all just as easy. I have travelled to many different and many diverse places across Europe. I have loved every single one of them just as much as the other. As I can appreciate its place of value because it is something different and that is what travelling is all about for me, experiencing new and different cultures and ways of life. I could never not like a particular country or a particular place, I think if you look hard enough you can always find something new and intriguing to fulfil you. I would complain every time we left a country that I loved it to much to possibly leave. Without fail every time I enter the next one I would then once again reinstate that I never want to leave. I truly have left my heart in so many beautiful places in this spectacular continent.
I have been to 89 different towns, cities and islands across 17 different countries. I have travelled by car, plane, train, bus, boat and ferry for 185 days, carrying 25kg on my back for 6 months. Capturing 16,154 memories in photos. Spending 1,440 hours of hard earned wages, now I have nothing in my pockets but a life time of memories.
Tourists don't know where they have been
Travellers don't know where there going.
I remember our last day in Europe, we were on the beach in Peniche with our little hostel family lost in amongst the sea of people all who were just as excited as we were to be watching the final of the Rip Curl Pro surfing competition. We had a bus to catch any minute or else we would miss our plane. It didn't really sink into me that this would be the last time in who knows how long the sun would be endlessly shinning on my face whilst my toes danced in the sand. Our biggest thought was we have to find Glauco as we both ran through the crowds in search of our new friend, we couldn't leave without thanking him for everything he had done. Reaching him just in time we hugged for what seemed like a brief life time. 'I will seriously miss you guys, like seriously' My heart sank into my stomach, I couldn't believe this was it. Before we knew it we were on a plane, heading back to where it all began, Dublin. Except this time I wasn't nervously wiggling around in my chair excited for what was to come. I remember looking up to James 'This isn't right, we shouldn't be leaving' He just smiled grabbed my hand and kissed my head. As we both looked out the window in silence at what we were sure would be the very last clear bright blue sky we would see for a very long time. I remember concentrating, repeating to myself over and over in my head. Don't blink, don't blink, don't blink, blink and its all over… but I did and when my eyes opened once more the last bit of blue hope was swallowed whole by the thick grey clouds.
Just like that it was over.
The Wanderer's Daughter xx