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:
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!