We have completed an adventure of a lifetime in the past 12 months and for that I am truly grateful for. Despite the current pandemic which albeit managed to successfully destroy the last few weeks of our trip, setting us back a few thousand dollars – overall, we managed essentially complete trip without and major hiccups.
Along the way I kept this blog. It was a way to express my thoughts and feelings and to be gifted some mentally clarity keeping me grounded while life through curve balls along the way. I wrote every day, in fact nearly 120,000 words over the past 12 months which has been a major moment for me personally. Writing has never been a great passion of mine as my grammar and spelling have historically let me down, so giving myself this challenge was necessary. Sometimes I didn’t want to write, I had days when I wanted to get home in the evening and crawl straight into bed, but I pushed myself to jot down even little bits of how I was feeling at that time and advice I had learnt that day.
Throughout my scribbles and rambles I have compiled the best lessons I have learned and lucky for you guys, I have compiled them below:
Pain is pain but suffering is optional – It is so important to stop worrying about being great and just be great. I have learned this from years of being an anxious mess.
Nothing is forever, take every day and enjoy it. We look back now and pre-pandemic we literally had nothing to worry about at all. I urge you when life is good – enjoy every moment.
I am a planner. In fact, I planned effectively this entire trip to a T and man, things sometimes do not go to plan. Get on with it and don’t dwell on the things that don’t go right – focus on the many amazing things that happen daily while enjoying the moment.
Love like there is no tomorrow – This is true to my heart and the best advice I can give you.
Following the above, the world could be over tomorrow and no one wants to be the richest man in the grave so save hard and do what you love. Too many people we have met have saved and saved hoping that one day they will leave their shitty jobs and get out and explore the world. Do not wait for that moment, grasp it as soon as you can.
Traveling is not glamorous, - at all. My social media is the highlight reel of my life. Minus all the sad & depressing struggles that happened all the time while traveling in a world full of unpredictability. What is glamorous about sitting on a 12 hour bus journey with no A/C to arrive in a budget hostel and be greeted with cockroaches in our bed? YES- that happened. NOT.GLAMOROUS.AT.ALL.
Happiness is very personal, and each individual is different. Our last year of our lives is certainly not for everyone and we respect that. Many have told us they admire what we have done but would never do it. They enjoy ‘stuff’ and home comforts too much which is 100% understandable.
The idea of perfection is incredibly subjective to the individual. In the past 12 months I have had some of the greatest and worst moments. I have been so incredibly frustrated to the point of breaking, and on the flip side I have had moments where I have been the truest happiest version of myself which has been a trans-formative experience. I have had mini panic attacks, been overwhelmed with anxiety and dread but through it all I would never change a single thing.
Overall, it's been an adventure. I have gained such an insight into life around the world. I have learnt so many amazing skills and can confidently say my time management skills are through the roof! If anyone wants to hire me as their P.A - do it. I swear I will do a fucking kick ass job.
1 year, 30 countries with the best, most supportive company I could ever have asked for, and a lifetime worth of memories complete. Until the next adventure!
The questions I have been asked most when traveling and since returning home apart from ‘where was our favourite place?’ (I still can’t decide on a specific destination, but I get asked pretty much daily), have been about the difficulties with traveling together. At first, I was surprised, but looking back I completely understand why people ask, because sometimes it was bloody difficult.
Of course, it wasn’t always easy (think about the petty arguments most couples have on a singular holiday, now x that by 12 months), however for the majority of the time it was honestly heaven. Making the travel easy required some work. We both decided from day 1 that it was very important to be realistic when traveling. As much as each destination filled our hearts with excitement, the process can include long journeys, no sleep, carrying heavy bags and being lost along the way - mostly in incredible hot temperatures (which had me on the verge of going mental most of the time). Each of these can result in mind chaos easily resulting in arguments.
“I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” — Mark Twain
Luckily for us, we both understood this from the start, and we found communication to be the key element in traveling successfully. If there was anything on our minds, it then because an open book for discussion. I found this difficult to start with as in normal life I am quite reserved and become withdrawn if I have something on my mind that is causing me concern. This mixed with high functioning anxiety meant that a lot of the time I know myself I was not easy to travel with. Luckily, my mindset changed, and I found the more we spoke openly, the easier it was to make traveling place to place seamless and we grew much stronger as a team.
You will find when you travel with your partner, you uncover a whole new layer of togetherness and I mean that both positively and negatively. For us, I know Leo struggled with becoming not just my partner, but my best friend, my girlfriend who I would gossip and have a coffee with, my therapist when my anxiety went through the roof. I hope this makes sense as sometimes it's hard to put into works but he effectively became every person I rely on in one and that is not easy for anyone, Made worse when I was gasping to watch the new episode of some pishy show that he couldn’t give a shit about and then listen to me ramble of about it afterwards – NOT.FUN.
“It doesn’t matter where you are going, it’s who you have beside you.”
Physically, it becomes difficult also (we each had food poisoning three times while traveling and when staying in hostels or small shared spaces, BELIEVE ME, you learn everything about that person)
We found that we would try and have some time apart through the day, whether it was near dinner time when I would rustle something together while listening to a podcast, or when I would hide away in the morning or the evening to knuckle down to work and earn us some moola. These were our ‘healthy’ boundaries and it is much needed. When we told people we like our time apart, some looked at us as if we were struggling in our relationship, well I can tell you it was quite the opposite. We are stringer than ever and by doing this made us much stronger.
I cannot stress how amazing this experience was for us. Really, we had the most amazing time and I love Leo more than ever before - but these would be my best quick tips below to keep things positive along the way:
I have been pondering over posting this blog for weeks as after writing it I wanted to sit on it for a while and let it sink in, 1, because I thought I may have been slightly over dramatic and 2, because I didn’t want to sound like a bloody snowflake millennial. But, after being back in the world of connectivity, I honestly stick by what I have written, hence why you are reading this now.
So, let’s rewind a few weeks to when I was working and living on a farm, ready to tear my hair out as I couldn’t sit still not being connected to the internet…Let’s begin. Waking up at 5.30am every morning to the sounds of roosters, chicken and dogs barking has become something of the norm our whole trip so far. Usually, I would turn over check my phone and see how the world is doing but here it’s different as I can’t. So many people will agree that this is great, what a way to switch off and relax, but for me it’s the opposite. I am used to being busy every day, I enjoy being on my phone and speaking to my friends and family and posting on my blog - these are the things I like to do.
It’s weird that we now live in a world that most millennial's have grown up reliant on WIFI and I have to admit, I am one of them. I love being away from people, I really do, in fact I pride myself in being a hermit, hence why my job in NZ was great as I worked from home on my own. But what I really miss is being able to research, plan more of our trip and truthfully, overall have a grasp on things. Being in control is where I manage to quieten the anxiety and the over ruling negative voice in my head. When I have control of the situation then I feel safe and for some weird reason throughout the years that means being reliant on being able to check the internet for the answer or solution whether it be for maps, recipes, work. As hard hitting as it is to admit this, without this communication I feel lost. The past week I have caught myself various times being shirt of breath, irritable and in a state of panic all the time. I don’t think this is just due to lack of WIFI but it’s the feeling of isolation in a new place where I don’t really speak the language and feeling lost. I guess to me having WIFI and being able to hop online brings me back to my comfort zone as it’s where I am used to doing things.
Today, I want to write about gratitude as this weekend has been tough. It’s now 1 week until we embark on the adventure of a lifetime and, my god, I can’t wait! However, with the pressure cooker that is work, house, responsibilities and planning, I ended up have a small, yet pretty messy breakdown on Sunday morning involving a whole load of tears, sniffles and generally feeling sorry for myself.
I’m fine now, in fact better than fine as I dusted myself off and after a few deep breaths and many cuddles from Leo, I was able to sit and think about why this happened. From deep thought and removing myself emotionally from the situation, I was able to realize the source was a cocktail of different elements.
I think sometimes in life we overwhelm ourselves with taking on too many tasks. I know I do, and I feel we are all guilty of this at some point. I have completely taken the lead of planning everything as I work from home, for no other reason than I have the ability to not only work but also plan, search and book elements of our trip. Over the weekend one of the Airlines that we booked (and spent quite a considerable amount of money with), went bust. Yup, BUST!! Financial 'goddamn' crisis, bust! So, long story short we have lost all the money spent these flights. JUST.LIKE.THAT…GONE. This was breaking point number 1.
Hey guys! In my last post, I wrote about High functioning anxiety, what it is and how it affects me, so today I wanted to write about how I deal with the effects this has on my life as there are so many AMAZING ways to deal with this, so it’s definitely not the end of the world!
Leading up to this trip, I have to admit my anxiety has been through the roof. Part of this is human nature and completely normal, but it is still a lot higher than I would prefer - especially when I should be overwhelmed with happiness and excitement.
If like me, you are not at the stage that you feel you need to use prescription meds then this little blog is perfect for you to gain some tips as I will go through what works best for me.
Disclaimer - I was on anti-stress meds for about a year and I felt they didn’t allow me to reach any potential during the day and instead of feeling calm, I felt spaced out and not fully with it 100%. Completely my own opinion and for others these may work perfectly for you.
So, how do I cope on a day to day basis?
High-functioning anxiety - Essentially silent anxiety hidden behind a smile.
So, as mentioned a few times already, I have anxiety – SURPRISE!! However, it’s not the stereotypical anxiety where the person gets too scared to leave the house. Quite the opposite actually. If you were to meet me in person, and to an extent get to know me through this blog you will realize that I am a go getter.
I have worked in management for years, set up my own clothing line, run a freelance photography business and I absolutely froth off exploring, adventuring and getting myself bang in the center of the action. On paper I am what most would call a successful business woman - HAHA!
See, I told you…#lifegoals.
However, behind this facade of confidence, 90% of the time I am internally freaking out. I mean that. My phone rings…I panic. The door bell goes, I panic. Opening my inbox in the morning, I panic. The worst for me is talking in front of people, especially groups larger than 2 humans - I literally start to sweat, my heart rate goes through the roof and my breathing (when I can actually remember to breathe) is next to non-existent and so shallow you would think I was in a life or death situation. It’s not fun. I tell this to Leo most days as it’s not something I can really control either which makes it worse as anxious people are also control freaks.
‘’You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone. Change begins at the end of your confirm zone’’ – Roy T Bennett.
I have always been someone who pushes themselves (sometimes too far and to the point of breaking) but, I do love experiencing new and exciting moments. However, I have been in my comfort zone for nearly 2 years now and the reason is simply because I love my life. This is not something I even feel guilty about saying out loud in a society where so many of the population complain about hating their lives and feeling depressed, stuck in a rut and just unexplainably sad. I feel that throughout life when you find a pocket of happiness, don’t try and change it unless it needs to be changed . . . and that's been the past 2 years for me.
I have loved my daily routine of getting up at sunrise and starting the day with a good solid three hours of work before going to the gym for a couple of kick ass classes, seeing one of my amazing girl friends for lunch, working in the arvo and cooking something yummy for me and Leo. OK, so reading this back it looks like I have turned into a housewife, but my point is I love these little things in life.
This is all about to change, and I ask myself . . . am I ready? At this point, I am not overly sure. The mixed emotions that come with change are creating a weird imbalance and it's not the best feeling in the world if I'm honest. Apparently when you leave your comfort zone you experience 5 feelings.
These are :
I guess by what I have just written, I am in the between stages of 2-3 ...with maybe a little of 4 and a smidgen of 1.
An important lesson I have learned over the past few years is to never lie to yourself – we have to be honest about what we want and take risks rather than lie to ourselves and make excuses to stay where we are. When you are outside your comfort zone its when you are able to experience yourself the most - it's true, there have even been scientific studies to prove this.
Humans love being comfortable, why wouldn’t we? It’s the little pocket of warmth that allows us to feel safe . . . but is it where we are at our happiest? I'll let you think that one over and come to a decision as everyone is different.
I love hurling myself into the unknown and we are about to do just that. During these scary moments and these unsure steps that we are about to embark on, I actually fully expect to illuminate magnificently - maybe slightly over exaggerating here but still plan to become the best version of me as daunting as it may seem.
However, I currently have this feeling which is a cocktail between un-explainable excitement and anxiety jumbled into one which allows me to have no control of my emotions – great! I touched on this briefly in my last blog post, but I have decide to explore it further as it interests me.
‘’The further you get away from yourself the more challenging it is. Not to be in your comfort zone is great fun’’ – Benedict Cumberbatch
According to science, Getting out of your comfort zone from time to time creates just enough good stress to ramp up your focus, creativity, pace, and drive, and it helps you respond to life stress when unexpected things happen. Getting out of your comfort zone is hard because humans are wired to expect the worst-case scenario. Your brain wants to keep you safe, so you have a natural negativity bias — a stronger reaction to actual or anticipated negative events.
When you’re evaluating whether or not to take action and you receive negative information, it influences you more strongly than equally positive information. You’re capable of dreaming up a lot of gloom and doom in your head, and a lot of the time, you expect the worst. Most of the time, taking a calculated risk produces a favorable outcome. When it doesn’t turn out as you’d hoped, chances are, everything’s still a-o-k after it all shakes out?
I think it’s like everything in life, the whole fearing the unknown, but I know in my heart that as soon as I step out of this comfort zone, I will blossom into my truest authentic self. It will be the combination of bliss, confidence, courage, and gratitude all wrapped up into one life-altering experience. (Well at least that's the plan)
Anyway that's my ramble of all the thoughts in my head for today done...now off to make dinner!
Hey! I'm Ally. I left the UK in 2011 to move overseas and ended up in New Zealand - my new home. This year we are taking a gap year to loop the world stopping in some AMAZING destinations - and I'm passionate about sharing these adventures with you!