I once met someone, who after chatting with me for a short amount of time, told me that I clearly have three great loves in life: art, food and most importantly travel. I was initially shocked when I heard this statement. I couldn’t believe that someone I barely knew could summarise me so quickly and accurately. To be honest though, as I’m sure anyone who knows me well can attest to, that’s all I ever really talk about. If I had the opportunity right now to be somewhere overseas, looking at incredible art whilst eating delicious food, preferably some kick arse spring rolls, my life would be complete.
My love affair with travel started back in 2013, when I decided to take my first solo trip to Europe. To kick off this adventure, I planned on spending a week in Venice eating ridiculous amounts of pasta and going to the Biennale each day. I was so incredibly nervous about this holiday. It was the first time I had really been anywhere by myself and it didn’t help that my Mum was trying to convince me that I was going to be robbed at every turn. I made a deal with myself, if I could manage to successfully get from the airport to my accommodation on my first night without any major incidents; I was going to be fine.
Turns out I had nothing to worry about; it was a piece of cake. I had the most fantastic week in Venice. I spent my time getting lost in the little alleyways away from the hordes of tourists, viewing some amazing contemporary art and developing a very serious addiction to pistachio gelato. What I loved most was the freedom that came with this week. I could do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and I didn’t have to think about anyone else but myself. All of my life stress and anxiety seemed to slowly disappear as I developed a sense of adventure and a passion to explore. It was an incredibly empowering experience and I knew I had to do it again.
Since that week, travel and I have been pretty inseparable. I’ve spent the last couple of years living and working in London whilst exploring Europe and I will hopefully be moving to Canada later this year. I love being able to spend long periods of time in one spot, becoming fully immersed in the history, culture and identity of a place. I try and do this as often as I can.
It hasn’t always been easy though. I’ve had to make a lot of sacrifices in order to do one of my favourite things and at times I’ve made some rather ridiculous life decisions, just so I can go on another adventure. There was the time when a couple of friends and I were convinced we wouldn’t be able to afford our trip to Iceland, after we had paid for our flights, so we filled our suitcases with instant noodles and muesli bars in an effort to cut costs. That’s pretty much all we ate for a week. While it did work, we saved a lot of money; I had a lot of trouble eating dry noodles by day seven. I have no regrets though – that trip was amazing.
There is one piece of advice that I have been given that has honestly changed my approach to travel and life. My cousin provided me with this little gem on my very first day living in London and I can’t recommend it enough. Following this advice has completely changed the way I explore the world and has provided me with incredible opportunities and experiences.
Just say yes.
Be open to new experiences and opportunities, you never know where it will lead. You might end up camping under the stars in the Sahara desert, participating in a traditional sing-a-long in a hidden bar in Sarajevo, holding hands with Marina Abramović during her new installation piece or sleeping on concrete in a garage in Iceland during winter (not the best experience at the time, but it makes for one hell of a story!)
I don’t think there will ever come a time when I don’t have the desire to see and experience new things. As the list of places I want to visit and explore gets longer, I know that this passion will never disappear. While I do think that one day I will finally settle in one spot – I have grand plans to spend my days reading and eating cheese in my own little library – that’s still a long way off. I know I’ve got decades of adventures still ahead of me.