It was going to be an apology. A desperate plea to make them understand, make them see where I was coming from. Why I gave everything up just to “keep on moving.”
Of course there was guilt. How could there not be? When you make a promise to commit the next six months of your life to share with another person, an important person, how can you not doubt your decision? The impact it has. The repercussions.
When I left Australia on the sixth month anniversary of arriving with a one way ticket to Bali, it wasn’t a decision I took lightly. It wasn’t even a decision I was aware I had been considering, and yet there it was, the cogs whirring way beneath the surface as I gradually grew closer and closer to the definitive moment. The lifeline that made the possibility a reality.
Throughout the East Coast, I was on the highest of highs. Teetering above the clouds, my life was a day to day paradise of life changing moments, idyllic sights and the most beautiful of friendships. I was in another world, a bubble floating from second to second, minute to minute.
And the thing is? I was just waiting for it to burst.
It’s negative, I know. And oh how I tried to talk myself out of it. How I tried to remind myself that, actually, I was better. I was stronger and I was happier right through until my very core. I hadn’t felt the grips of anxiety in the longest time and I was getting closer and closer to that feeling of inner peace I so passionately craved.
I knew it. Deep down, I knew it.
I had grown and I had become. Being thrown out of your comfort zone does that to you, I guess.
Maybe I wasn’t ready to stop growing.
When that lifeline was handed to me making further, immediate travel a reality, I knew I could not let it go. That I had to grab it and see where it took me. To take the leap. To jump even further out of my comfort zone.
My sister sealed the deal for me. As she so often does. Because she knows me, even better than I know myself sometimes.
“Look how much you have changed just in the past two months from being alone. Keep travelling. Book a ticket and just go for it.”
From Bali to Singapore, Bangkok to (a brief stop in) Chiang Mai and now Pai. Each stop booked barely a day in advance. Each journey chosen entirely by where feels “right.”
I need that freedom. To be spontaneous, to follow my gut instincts.
Because that’s not a position I have ever been in before. I was always old before my years, planning my life away until I was forced into a situation where that plan was no longer in my control. I needed to know everything, every step ahead and where it was going to take me.
Wishing it all away. Never living in the moment.
And when you travel alone? That really isn’t an issue anymore.
You can go wherever you want, whenever you want. You make friends, and then you make some new ones. In need of some time alone? Find a remote hideaway and bury yourself in writing and meditation. Ready to reunite with your travel family? Jump on a bus and go find them.
What’s more, is you learn to deal with things when you travel alone. You learn to think on your feet, and to never buckle under the pressure. In the past four weeks I have nearly missed three flights. I have turned up to a hostel and realised I had booked for the wrong day and the only space they had was a mattress in what was essentially a storage room. I have encountered the strangest of people and the most insane of situations. I have learnt to accept the world of bugs and almost embrace them as they hound away at my skin, turning me into a cross between a Dalmatian and a dot to dot.
And I’ve accepted it all. Taken it on the chin.
Because that is the world of travelling. It isn’t always nice, and it certainly isn’t always pretty.
But I adore it. Arriving in a new place with no idea what you are going to find. Meeting new people and discovering their own paths, taking hints on where to build your own. The sudden twist in your plan, and the constant uncertainty of where you will be living in a week’s time.
You live to learn, to immerse yourself in different cultures. You understand what matters to you… that you no longer have to live up to anyone’s expectations. That it’s time to do what’s right for you.
Because when all is said and done, isn’t that the only way to truly find inner peace?
I am proud of my choices. And I am proud of the life I am living.