There’s an element of self-discovery on all our travels. The journey, more often than not, isn’t just a literal one. We’re put into situations that we probably wouldn’t find ourselves in if we’d stayed in the familiar bubble of home; where if anything goes wrong there will always be a safety net to catch your fall.
To be honest I didn’t see a huge change in myself when I left Australia after two years of working and travelling there.
I arrived in 2010, fresh faced and open-minded and yes I did find myself completely out of my comfort zone more times than I can remember but when I left in 2012 I didn’t feel much different to when I’d arrived, I just knew a lot more about travelling and a lot more about the kind of life I want to make for myself.
Underneath, in all honesty, was a highly-strung 26 year old who didn’t think before opening her mouth, who had a low tolerance threshold. Who’d been with her partner for so long that during those 6 years she’d, at some point, become half of something instead of a whole person.
I was so afraid of losing the person who was most important to me that I became someone I didn’t want to be. I had no confidence in myself or my body. I was frustrated with things all the time.
I needed something big to happen.
And it did. My relationship with the person I’d been with since I was 20 ended while I was still finding my feet in New Zealand. I was more of a mess than I can even explain to you here but, it happened.
And this is why I’m so afraid to leave in May when I will spend 3 months at home in England before moving to Thailand to teach English.
In New Zealand, I have found ‘me’ again. I notice it every single day. I’ll be hanging out with the friends I’ve made here and realise that I’m being the person I was years ago.
I’m easy-going again when I before I was so up-tight. I’m independent when I was so used to relying on someone else. Instead of hiding away I have forged important friendships. I’m giving people a chance instead of silently judging all their flaws. I’m calmer and more grateful.
I am not a perfect person but I’m starting to come out of my shell a bit more and not worry so much about what people think about me.
And perhaps most importantly, I’m stronger than I ever, ever was.
I hope I don’t lose this when I leave.
I see this change in myself but worry that it’s only a reflection on the life I’ve made here and because of the people I spend my time with.
I don’t want to undo everything I have done to move on with my life. And moving on, as with all break-ups, has definitely had its ups and downs.
But in my heart I know that all good things have to come to an end. My friends will carry on with their travels and leave for other countries. The lease will end on my apartment.
I will give notice on my gym membership, leave my job, have my last coffee in that place I love on Lorne St and hope that I can leave all of this behind and still be the same person.
Have you ever experienced this before on your travels?