Travelling overseas has been a relatively new experience for me. My first overseas experience was in 2000 at the age of 39, with my very lovely friend Michelle. We went to Greece with a short stop in Egypt. I was fascinated by the age of the ruins as Australia just doesn’t have buildings anywhere near that old (although the history is definitely as old, if not older). I then took my youngest son, who was 14 y/o at the time, to New Zealand where we travelled in a small van through the North and South Island. It was exciting and amazing and very, very safe. In 2005 I wandered around Europe with another amazing friend, Sue, for 5 weeks (our friendship did survive surprisingly!). Another fairly safe introduction to the concept of overseas travelling. And then off to Malaysia with Dee and her very young child. Each of these trips involved me not making decisions and just going with whatever my travelling companions wanted to do. I liked it that way as it gave me the freedom not to think about it and also not to take responsibility if it wasn’t that great. Bit of a coward really, but there you have it. However, they also broadened my experience of travel.
Almost 4 years ago, in 2015 was the first time I flew overseas by myself. I travelled to Costa Rica to see my forementioned son who was living there at the time. I dropped into San Diego to see my brother on the way (he has lived in the US of A for over 30 years and this was the first time I visited him! Very bad sister! 🥴). I can honestly say that I was totally freaked out by the whole experience of being on the plane by myself, and actually having to be responsible for me instead of expecting someone else to be. However, I did survive. I did some little excursions away from the safely of my son who was based in San Jose, and sometimes he met up with me or came with me to some of the places I meandered to. It was a great introduction though to being a little more brave and having to look after myself some of the time. And then 6 months later the trip to the USA visiting San Fransisco and New York. All I can say about travelling to large English speaking countries is take someone with you! I think it was probably the loneliest I have been in a very long time. Anonymity can be a godsend especially when you live in a fairly small coastal town, however, the loneliness is profound in amongst the bussle and noise of such a big city like New York.
Last year I went to Africa with the beautiful Dee. It was definitely the most amazing trip I have ever been on. From the wildness of travelling and camping among wild animals in the Serengeti in Tanzania to the colour and noise of the voodoo healing ceremonies in Yoff in Senegal. It has to be one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had in my life. The irony is that in Yoff, where Dee and I stayed in an apartment for over 2 weeks, we fell into a routine which was interesting considering the cultural differences we were experiencing. It was like ‘Do you feel like going to a voodoo healing ceremony today?’… ‘nah, I think I might just go to the beach and be proposed to a few times by the beach boys’.. ‘oh ok. Have fun’. Anyone who is on my Facebook would have seen the photos of that utterly amazing time. Although I didn’t have any intention to run off and wander the world for 12 months at that time, I have no doubt that the impact it had on me was silent but intense.
So then why did I decide to do this? Well, embarrassingly enough, it was a bloody chick flick. I’m not a fan of most chick flicks and definitely not this one, however my girlfriends were going to see Mamamia 2 and I decided to drag myself along (bitching about what a terrible movie it will be of course! ABBA! You have to be joking!). I’m sitting there watching the scenery (the ‘storyline’ was crap) and thought ‘what the fuck am I doing? My only goal in life is to pay off my house and I might die before doing anything of consequence’ (or words to that affect). And that was it. The decision to travel for 12 months and explore this amazing world of ours. So now here I am, the day before heading off to my first destination, India, with only a ticket in and a ticket out and a backpack anticipating what the next 12 months will bring. I will have a soft entry to travelling on my own meeting up with a group of lovely Bollywood dancing women which will be a gentle start to my adventure but then I’m (more or less) on my own. The beauty of the whole thing is that the trip has been unfolding in front of me with very little work from me.
Although the story of how I got here was much longer than I thought it would be, it actually gives me clarity of how I got here. The other huge factor which has influenced me greatly is my incredible, gorgeous, brave and nagging son who has spent the last few years of his life travelling the world. He has settled in Denmark (in a tantric yoga ashram of course!), however, up until now I have been travelling on my own vicariously through him while he continuously encouraged me to let go of my insecurities and fears and just do it! So now I am!
I’m now sitting here with a slight sense of nervousness however a greater sense of calm in my core. I will miss my beautiful town and my gorgeous friends, however, as everyone has been reminding me, it will all be here when I get back (with probably minor changes except who’s dating who! 😂). There is no turning back so bring it on! 😁