February 28, 2017

What have I learnt when I've travelled? There are so many different ways to experience travel. I've hitched to Morocco, been on exchange to Australia, volunteered in Ghana, worked in Croatia, studied in Grenada and celebrated in Germany. I've had the best of experiences but each had brought it's own important lessons.


Lesson 1: People are kind and you can survive sleeping outside a service station

It was my first year of uni and hitching to Morocco with 2 of my new friends to raise money for charity seemed like an absolutely great idea. You know what it was, you may not speak to language or have any idea what someone's saying to you, but you can raise a thumb, point at a map and apparently make it all the way from England to Morocco. People were so lovely to us from the French van driver who pressed baguettes and cheese into our hands as he dropped us off to the the impromptu Spanish tour guide who wanted to show us all his favourites spots in Tarragona. Hitching sounds like it could be terrifying but really it takes the best kind of people to pick up a few desperate strangers on the side of the road.

Also... if you have to turn down a lift with a drunk driver in favour of sleeping outside a service station with the mice it's probably still a good choice.


Lesson 2: Put yourself out there and don't drink goon out of a schooner glass.

Knowing me now you could be a little surprised that I was a super shy kid who wouldn't talk to anybody. Moving to Australia forced me to get out there and meet people. When you move to the other side of the world you really don't have much of a choice. I'm a much more confident person now, and I'm sure it would have happened anyway, but getting outside your comfort zone really speeds that process up.

Also...if you don't want to be sick into a Macdonalds bag don't drink goon out of schooner glasses.


Lesson 3: You don't have to like travelling on your own and choose you're skinny dipping locations carefully

I would genuinely put my time in Ghana down as on of the best times of my life. I went there to volunteer in a hospital and was living in a house with people doing lots of different volunteer projects. We all became super close and spent our free time travelling, drinking and partying in a very hedonistic fashion. But in my last week I knew exactly what I wanted to do, I was going to go to Mole National Park and see a wild elephant. Unfortunately noone else was able to come with me, but seeing an elephant was the dream and I was going to do it anyway. I travelled up there using the local buses over a few days seeing monkeys and waterfalls on the way but you know what? I was bored. I wasn't treading the typical backpacker path (I literally didn't see another white person for days) and although I did see elephants and it was amazing and it was a dream, it would have just been so much better if I had someone to share it with. I don't want to be that strong independent female traveller, I'll take having friends to hang out with any day. As soon as I'd seen the elephants I bought my ticket on the fancy tourist bus and hotfooted it back to Accra arriving at 3am the next day. We enjoyed the rest of the weekend on the beach at Big Millie's reggae party.

Oh and if you do decide that that beautiful ocean is calling your skinny dipping name maybe try and do it near where you're staying so you don't have to walk back soaking wet through the village in front of all the locals...


Lesson 4: It might look like the dream but it doesn't mean it is the dream and tequila is not a suitable substitute for a jaegerbomb

Don't get me wrong, I loved working in Croatia and it was absolutely a dream job. But there's a point when the millionth person is telling you that you're living the dream and your life is a holiday that you feel like you might snap. Yes I live on a boat in one of the most beautiful places in the world, I jump in the sea daily and get paid to drink all day but I've also looked after countless drunk people, sat up half the night in hospital, comforted people in distress, broke up fights and barely slept in 6 weeks despite being so ill I wake up coughing so hard I vomit. We judge people so easily seeing the best of compilations of their lives on social media, completely disregarding the hard work that's enabled people to be in those position's. It's so easy to be jealous when we don't even understand what we're jealous of. Live the life you're in, don't waste time wishing it was something else.

And if you're going to sub in a shot because you don't do jagaerbombs, don't choose tequila because you will be sick into the sea.


Lesson 5: May as well have a go and torsion is key

I had no plans to sit the entrance exam for the Grenada until Dani persuaded me to do it the night before because it would be good exam practise. I somehow managed to score in the top 20 and get a place on the trip to Grenada. Studying in Grenada was a great opportunity that I so nearly didn't even attempt to take. It reminded me how worthwhile it is to get involved even if you don't think anything will come of it.

Also if you ever try to stand on an inflatable in the sea, remember -torsion is key.


Lesson 6: Travel will break you and it will create you

We finished our 2nd year exams and 3 days later found ourselves discovering the wonders of slap cup on a campsite in Germany for Oktoberfest. The rest of the week it rained and rained, our tents flooded and we were constantly either drunk or hungover, but it was probably the very best week of my life. We went as 4 buddies but came back as the best friends a girl could ask for. I have never ever laughed so much as that trip. Despite the shit conditions, there's nothing like climbing on a table, stein in hand, singing to Abba to make memories.

This post is part of GoEuro's #travellessons competition to win a trip to Europe.