The real danger of travel | Travel archives, February 2016

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*Written in Bali, February 2016.

Remember that time you doubted everything about yourself?

”I can’t do it Lara, I want to but I can’t” is something I hear often. ”Yes you can”, you can do what you want … But its not always that easy. We all see the world differently and many consider travel as something they simply ”cannot do”. The idea of going off into new countries with no idea of what lies ahead instills fear, not excitement, into the ‘cant doers’.

One or two week holidays here and there are appealing but upping sticks and saying goodbye to the life they know stirs up different emotions. Some are ”too afraid to fly”, and whilst that doesn’t make travel impossible it immediately limits places you will be able to visit during your life time. Some don’t want to leave the comfort of routine, their house, their regular income, their failing relationship that they just keep plugging away at because ‘its for the best’.

Everyone has different reasons for staying put in their home countries. Its the people who ‘want’ to travel, but ‘can’t’ that I find a shame. Because you really can do anything you set your mind to; I am living proof of that, as is everyone else who hit the road when they knew the time was right. As a traveller in my 3rd year on the road there’s little that worries me in terms of travel, but then it never really worried me. I’ve always been confident in myself and knew if I set my mind to it, I could do it.


However. I’ve recently realised what the ‘dangerous’ side of travel is to me. It’s not travel. It’s not worrying whether I’m going to lose my phone on a night out, or that I may get taken down by a foreign illness (both of which happened in South East Asia, of course).

It’s the fact that yes although you ‘find yourself’ (which I think is one of the most corny terms ever, yet it is very true on the road), you also lose parts of you on the way too. Unfortunately the sides of the life you let slip away are not always to your benefit. In some ways you are glad to see the back of the person you ‘used to be’, as you grow into a more rounded, understanding, more caring example of yourself.

My loss may appear to be unusual but to me it’s a real feeling. I was thinking recently of the hours upon hours, days upon days, I used to spend with my horses. Growing up in a little town in West Wales, I was obsessed with horses from as far back as I can remember. I would ask Santa for one every Christmas and my mum for one every Birthday … from an early age my personality has always been ‘all or nothing’. And that’s a trait I will certainly never lose sight of.

Currently my ‘all’ is into travelling; as it has been for the last two years of adventuring around the globe. Prior to travel it was my career in London. 5 years before it was my life as a student, studying English Literature in Cardiff University.


The last time I rode a horse was in Switzerland. I went Western style (like a cowboy basically!), galloping through the mountains on a black gelding called Torpedo. It was an exhilarating day, but a feeling I haven’t experienced since. Why? If I love something so much, why has it slipped by the wayside? Why?

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Such a happy day with Torpedo! Geneva, Switzerland. October 2013.

Travel took over. That’s why! Travel encompasses everything when you leave home. All your money goes on your next adventure. In New Zealand I always wanted to work with horses. But by the time I got there 16 months into my time on the road I was more interested in trying my hand at a different kind of work for the lure of better money. I ended up managing a Best Western in Queenstown. Leading treks doesn’t pay so well and I wanted to spend my wages doing the expensive fun stuff; road tripping, bungee jumping etc. New Zealand is, after all, the most expensive place I’ve been to to date. Yes, more than Australia!.

Looking for jobs in Australia during my first year I applied for many roles with horses, polo teams, professional racing yards, showjumpers. But then I realised ”what if I fall off one day and injure myself? I’m stuffed, I need to keep money coming in”. So I ended up following what I knew in London and landed myself a couple of great Marketing jobs for global leading brands.

Now whilst I don’t regret my decision to leave a part of the life I knew behind the truth is I miss it, perhaps not every day and of course it is something I can deal with. But growing up, I kept horses from when I was 9 years old until a few months before I left to travel – when I was 28!. Selling the best showjumper I was ever lucky enough to own (his name is Malcolm, yep that’s true) to top up my travel funds was a decision I didn’t take lightly but it had to be done if I wanted to do what I wanted to do around the globe.

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Mal with his current owner, Jade. Selling him funded my trip to Brazil for the FIFA World Cup in 2014.

I bought a pony, Holly, when I was 12 and she’s well into her 20’s now but still going strong at home. Even if I have little funds as I travel I have always found the money (somehow) to send home to my friend every month as she kindly looks after her in Wales for me. Whatever is going on with me on the road, I will always find a way to pay for Holly. She’s part of the furniture, our loyal friend. There is no way she would be sold after such a long time.

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This is the last time I saw Holly, in April 2015

Another passion I’ve lost a grip of is writing regularly, whilst in London I used to write daily at one point. My blog was focused on fashion and my lifestyle ‘behind the scenes’, as I worked for LOOK magazine, the Best Selling Fashion Weekly in the UK. I made time for it. Now my writing comes at unusual times, usually when I have a moment to breathe from whatever I’m up to that day to actually sit quiet and concentrate. Or else it is when I feel a passionate sprig of inspiration and the words just flow from there.

Right now it’s 630am, I’m writing from a hostel in Bali, Indonesia. Everyone else is sound asleep but I’m wide awake because I was being eaten alive by mosquitos! If you’ve felt the wrath of a team of mozzies you will feel my pain on this one, there is absolutely no way I will sleep again now. Sleep will have to come this afternoon, on the beach while my buddy Bambie surfs …

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Me and Bambie on Padang Padang beach. Bali, Indonesia

With my blog, if I write people read, and posts which are honest are always the best received. I know this because I write what others often feel. We all go through a lot of the same things, especially when we travel. I am yet to cover many feelings and experiences but they’ll be up at some stage. I must keep my promise to myself to keep writing, it’s something I find the most joy out of in life.

So that’s it, my real danger on the road is letting my passions slip. Luckily my love for running is something I can do pretty much every day again when I land back in Australia in a few days time. In Thailand there was no way I would run, the stifling heat would have taken the fun out of it for me, and thats not what running is about when I lace up.

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I loved running as often as possible in Queenstown, New Zealand. The cold, fresh winter air made me feel alive!

More dangers I feel need addressing are losing touch with family and old friends, falling in love with the wrong person at the wrong time, risking your health in the long term for the price of daily fun on the road. They are all big issues when you travel and each deserve a more in-depth post, so lets wait for another time …

This post has been written due to my lack of sleep tonight, when I find it hard to sleep I think about writing. Now this post is complete I’m glad I couldn’t sleep … For everyone who reads this; whether you travel or are based at home, as you go forwards in your life try to keep hold of your passions in some way as you may well find yourself looking back and missing what you knew.

Thanks for reading
@LaraLain

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