We travel to look for something extra, we’re not always sure what when we book that first ticket but one thing is certain – once we hit the road we’re in for a mixed bag of extreme experiences.
Since leaving home in January 2014 I’ve visited numerous parts of our world, from Asia to Australia to South America and now currently New Zealand.
I’ve seen a lot, said no to little, made many amazing life choices and a few bad decisions. Furthermore I’ve seen those around me experience so much too.
On reflection of whats happened since my travels began, here’s 34 feelings I think travellers can resonate with;
- Nervous. Pre-planning your backpack to the enth degree before leaving home, booking accommodation in advance, reading online guides, asking friends who’ve been before you ”what’s it really like?”. Anything you can do to be ready for whatever the hell is waiting for you as you land in your first country, you do.
2. Doubtful. In the run up to actually going ahead with what you say you’re going to do all sorts of queries cross your mind. This is natural though right? No matter what you feel on the inside you fight it and stick to your word – you’re going!
3. Brave. Stepping foot through the Departure gates gives you an immense sense of ”YES!”. Whatever comes next you’re on your way, you’ve taken that giant leap towards your new phase of life.
4. In awe. Leaving the plane and arriving in an unfamiliar world for the first time is a feeling you can’t explain but will always remember – its unparalleled to anything you’ve known before and you like it.
5. Free. A few days into your trip you realise you have to answer to nothing or no one except your thoughts on what you may (or may not) want to do that day.
6. ‘Rich’. You saved for this and now your money is burning a hole in your bank account. You don’t count your spends at the start – the fun won’t have itself!
7. Attached. New places bring new friends and inevitably you form close bonds with those similar to you and start asking yourself ”How did I function before I met this person?”. Life is just too easy when they are around. At the time you want to stay living this life forever (and at the time it feels like anything is possible).
8. Close. Some friendships come together almost purely because other friends have moved on. You all make the most of who is around you but then soon realise you should have been friends from the beginning! You form a close bond quickly and let the good times roll!
9. At a loss. The nature of travelling means we all go our separate ways at some point. Saying your goodbyes is something you don’t like dealing with. People say you get used to it, but you don’t. You learn to leave with plans in place to see each other again asap. Looking forward to new adventures eases the sense of loss ever so slightly. But once an important person is gone the place is never quite the same without them.
10. Strong. Making the decision to leave your friends and go ”off on your own again” isn’t something that feels so exhilarating as the first time you left home but you feel proud of yourself for doing it. You know you can up sticks whenever you want to and start again elsewhere if that’s where your heart takes you. After all, you’ve done it before, you can do it again. Nothing is out of your reach.
11. Open minded. Travellers are essentially living through similar situations at the same time, it’s so easy to meet new people. Someone approaching you and starting up a conversation wherever you may be is the norm – you appreciate that it’s good to talk!
12. Broke. You had so much fun with the ”new found freedom” and ”friends for life” that you blew all your money and cracked into your ”emergency, I’m saving that until I get back home” stash. Oops, ah well! Money comes and goes, you can never get time back!
13. Determined. Working abroad is a new challenge. You can do it, you can do anything! You make it a mission to sort out your working visa, find a job and a place to stay. It sounds so easy in your head.
14. Exasperated. Job hunting in a foreign country comes with an unexpected amount of difficulties. First off, you’re not completely ready for routine again. You properly start to look for work when it comes to the crunch and your bank balance really needs you to.
15. Over it. It’s been a blast but after a while you want out of hostel life and just to have your ”own space” again. You look for a job and a place, trusting that it will work out.
16. Grateful. Once you land your job and/or find your new place to live for a while you can’t believe it, YES! The working abroad dream is starting to come together!
17. Spontaneous. You book things off the back of a conversation with someone you met at breakfast. You become a person who says ”Lets just go for it!”.
18. A Sense Of Achievement. Whether you’ve scaled a mountain or picked up a new talent, maybe you honed your skills on the mountains over a winter season … Chances are you’ve done a lot of admirable things that many back home claim they ”could never do”.
19. Fear. Taking part in things you would not normally contemplate gives you a taste of real fear. Skydives, bungys, diving with sharks. You name it, travellers are doing it.
20. Shocked. At some points you can hardly believe some of the things you see on the road. You see happy locals smiling through various states of poverty. Travelling countries that appear to have so little teaches you so much about the human race. Essentially you are encouraged to make the most of the life you have.
21. Helpless. Everyone dreads a call from back home with bad news. Unfortunately it becomes part of what your travels are, especially if you are away for extended periods. It’s a horrible feeling knowing something has happened at home and can completely change how you feel about being away … You re-evaluate everything, do you even want to be where you are?
22. United. When tragedy strikes you are shown who your real friends are, who you can rely on and vice-versa who you will always be there for. Even though you may go through a truly difficult experience or a heartbreaking loss of someone dear to you while you are on the road the worst and hardest times bring out the best in the people around you. You will never forget those who were there for you in times of despair.
23. Inspired. Visiting new places gives you new ideas, of what you may want to do next, of the possibilities of the person you could become in the long run.
24. Loved. As if the experience of travel couldn’t already get better, sharing a special connection on the road sprinkles everything in rainbows.
25. Hurt. Not all ‘love’ stories last past the place you were together. Losing a relationship or what you thought might become one is just as hard as when you were at home. But there’s so much more to occupy you on the road, life is too good to be down for too long. Would you have really bothered with them ”in real life” anyway? Didn’t think so …
26. Annoyed. More often that not we experience something we could have prevented ourselves, such is life! I lost my phone during my first week of my entire trip and as it was a contract I had to pay £40/ $80 per month until the contract ended (11 months later!). That was my own fault, I should never have brought it out to party (in Phi Phi, Thailand of all places – idiot!).
27. Self Assured. You soon realise that knowing you are strong enough to travel, to leave everything you knew behind to pursue your sense of adventure that you are strong enough to do anything. No matter how long you travel for, you have given yourself a new-found confidence for your future.
28. Frustrated. Sometimes you end up away for too long and you start looking at it differently. Now you’re there for the wrong reasons. You don’t want this to lose the magic of when you first arrived; time to book a ticket onwards or back home …
29. Challenged. Been told of somewhere amazing that you simply ”must get to”? Pushing yourself to stay somewhere you’d rather not be for the sake of your bank balance? Travel brings daily hurdles that you set yourself to conquer.
30. Disillusioned. Extended travel brings more downs that expected, because at the end of the day travel becomes reality and you can’t have the best day every day! Things go wrong and you begin to question. Do you really want to be where you are?
31. Homesick. No matter how old you are, what your background is, whether you are a 19 year old girl or a 32 year old man, if you’ve left home, you’ve felt the pull of homesickness in the pit of your stomach. It wrenches you but somehow you overcome it. It comes back now and again and you get used to it as time goes on. You treasure things from home and any reminder of your loved ones and country means a lot to you.
32. Knowledgeable. You’ve been there and something great (or perhaps not so great happened). You can pass on tips to those who may be going that way and this will always be a good thing. You are now able to enrich other people’s lives through your own experience.
33. Grateful. Travel becomes engrained in our souls. It is something that changes us and makes us forever glad we had the balls to do it, not sad that it didn’t happen.
34. Elated. When you visit home the feeling is unmatched! It’s one of the best things about going away. Everything is different, somehow its just so much better than it was before you left. You are so happy to be back on familiar ground and surrounded by people you love and have missed.
Essentially, every traveller goes through a transformation. Every person who leaves home has a different experience to the next, we all feel like we are doing something new – because for us, we are.
We are living our chapter, our years, our time in this whirlwind of the life we’ve chased because we know that at the end of the day life is what you make it. The mass of feelings travelling brings us will always be cherished.