Category Archives: Travel

Run Away to a Foreign Country

There are times in your life when you just feel the need to run away and discover the world and how you it relates to your life. And, I suppose I’ve run for the past few years now, because I’ve certainly “seen the world, been to many places.” Along the way I’ve “made lots of friends, many different races,” but I still feel as though there is so much more to learn and the benefits of leaving home outweigh the discomforts of life on the road.

I’ve always been independent and had a willful spirit despite, perhaps, not being the most outspoken and attention-seeking person around. I’m also pretty happy being alone. I’m not someone who needs a ton of people around, and, in fact, crowds probably annoy me more than energize me. I prefer observing and listening to things going on around me and not contributing to the dialogue. I suppose I’m an introvert in that way.

But, over the years I’ve met couples who travel together and find the dynamics between them interesting fodder to contemplate. Traveling with a partner definitely tests the relationship and the people. You discover things you never really knew about the other person, even when you’ve spent oodles of time together before traveling. Backpacking can definitely make or break your relationship, and I think it’s a really good way to decide if your partner is capable of being your forever love or if he or she is more of a temporary friend.

I’ve also seen many relationships blossom between travelers. Of course, there are those fleeting one-night stands that, to be honest, seem to happen loads and loads. But, miraculously, there are couples who meet while traveling who somehow string together the days, weeks and months and survive the journey even when the end of the road is near.

Meeting a beau while making a run away from reality presents a dilemma for me, and I’m unsure how I’d react to it should it happen. On one hand, my goal is to see and experience new cultures and learn about people, which in turn will help me learn about myself. It’s a quest for understanding and knowledge that I think is best done, for the most part, solo. Without solitude, it’s difficult to really reflect on your thoughts and feelings. You don’t form your own opinions because you’re susceptible to those of others.

However, sharing an experience like this with another person can also be beneficial. Intimate dialogue between two like-minded people about self-discovery, life-goal setting and more can solidify your idea of self when you have a foreign experience together. Both people are out of their comfort zones of daily routine and can discuss the likenesses and differences between cultures and attitudes. This may lead to developing a new attitude for approaching life.

I suppose the true test will come if a similar situation presents itself to me, but until then, rest assured dear readers. This gal will continue living life and loving it . . . solo. I left home alone and will probably return alone . . . and I’m totally cool with that.

What do you think about traveling by yourself versus with a partner? Have you ever sustained a holiday romance after your vacation ended?

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Filed under Personal, Thailand, Travel

Good Intentions and Unexpected Results

Traveling has taught me that most people around the world are good people. Whether it’s fellow travelers or interesting locals, most people care about you. Not everyone is out to kidnap and murder you Hostel-style.

But sometimes you get this weird feeling in your gut  that sets off alarm bells in your head. They might be small tingles of nervousness or flutters of unease, but they’re there. The experience you gain through travel helps you to distinguish what these feelings are and how you go ahead.

After leaving Auckland, I went to Melbourne and planned to stay at a friend’s house. The term friend should be taken lightly as this is what you call everyone you meet along your travels whether you truly know them or not. I was a bit apprehensive about it but convinced myself to push the boundaries of my comfort zone. After all, meeting people and experiencing how they live is what traveling is all about.

But after two days I decided to move to a hostel in the city. I just didn’t feel comfortable in the house or with the friends I had met there. In addition, many of the tours out of the city left extremely early and I couldn’t get to them from the suburbs without waking at an ungodly hour. And when it comes to sleep, I’m not one to give it up without a fight.

Even though I had a chance at an authentic Aussie experience, somehow it just didn’t suit me. In the end, it’s as simple as this: you have to do what’s right for you.

I’m sure someone else would have enjoyed the visit tremendously, but that someone just wasn’t me. Perhaps I’m a bit too country for the rock ‘n’ roll experience? Perhaps I’m a little too vanilla for Baskin-Robbins’ 31-flavors? In any case, it’s wise to be true to yourself and listen to those tingles and flutters because they’re there for a reason. Your body knows what’s good for it even if your mind doesn’t always want to acknowledge it.

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Filed under Australia, Personal, Travel

Travel Blogging: Pros and Cons

When I started this travel blog more than two years ago, I thought it would be great for two things: 1) Keeping my family updated on what I was doing and 2) Maintaining an online diary for when dementia set in. But, I didn’t realize how big a job this would be or how hard it is to keep going.

For anyone embarking on an extended holiday, gap year, career break or backpacking trip and contemplating whether travel blogging is for you, here are some pros and cons to help you make your decision.

Travel Blogging Pros

Online Diary: Blogging about your experiences preserves your memories and feelings so you can enjoy them all at a later date. Depending on the situation, this can either be good or bad. Technology has made it easier to relive the adrenaline rush of your first skydive as well as the mind-blowing hangover you felt after a night spent with good friends and bad goon. Your online diary does not play favorites.

Conversation Starter: Not that the standard questions (“Where are you from? Where have you been? Where are you going?”) don’t work, but having a blog gives you a different angle to strike up conversations with strangers (and maybe even a legit reason to snap photos of that hot guy/girl you meet).

Blogging Community: If you wish, you can become an active member in the blogging community by reading, commenting and linking to other travel blogs. I haven’t really done much of this, mostly due to lack of time (see Cons for details), but it seems there’s a large community out there to help with travel advice, show you around a city, suggest places to see and things to do and possibly even offer you a couch upon which to crash. You might even be able to score some sponsors and advertisers to help with the money situation and prolong your adventure.

Fame: Some people get into this whole blogging thing to become famous. Some people actually do become famous. Most of us don’t, but I suppose you can become famous within your own circle of influence (ie. your friends, family and colleagues). And who doesn’t want to brag about the awesome things you’ve seen and done to that jealous co-worker who sat down the hall from you?

Travel Blogging Cons

Time Management: Creating content takes up a lot of your free time and may start feeling like a full-time job. When you’re constantly on the move, doing new activities and meeting people from around the world, it is difficult to stop the fun to sit down and write. If you’re doing a photo/video blog or are just a stickler for good images, editing can eat up a heap of time if you want to perfectly capture that amazing sunset, unique wildlife or hostel party.

Expensive/Slow/No Internet Connections: Depending on where in the world you decide to travel, internet connections are extremely expensive, slow or unavailable at all. Despite living during a time of extensive technological achievements, there is a large part of the world that live a simpler, and some may argue happier, lifestyle. If you’re visiting less developed countries, the internet may not be widely available forcing you to work out of internet cafés, which affects both your time and money. Even in developed countries, such as Australia, some places are crazy expensive because the population is small or you’re just out in the middle of nowhere. The most expensive place I’ve come across so far is Coober Pedy, where an internet café was offering 15 minutes for AU$8!

Blogging Hermit: For the most part, writing is a solitary pursuit and this can make you a bit anti-social, which is the opposite of the Conversation Starter. When you’re focused on writing and photo/video editing, you can often miss out on group outings or pub crawls because of your strict adherence to your blogging schedule. You may be too focused on writing to enjoy the life you’re living.

Real Time vs Blog Time: Despite your best efforts to stay up to date with a steady stream of posts, you’ll never really be writing in real time. You posts will always be a few steps behind real life. How else are you supposed to experience anything if you’re tied down to blogging about it as it happens? So technically, your family and friends will never really know where you are in the world or what you’re currently doing there when they read your blog. If they want minute-by-minute details of your escapades, they’ll have to stay tuned to other social media applications, like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, which is just another thing for you to update.

In the end, the decision to keep a travel blog is in your hands. Deciding what type of blog you want – personal or professional – can help you figure out the frequency, tone and content of your posts. It’s always great to document your holiday, but I would shy away from a blog if you think it’ll have a negative effect on your travel experience.

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Filed under Hawaii, Travel