Very soon I’ll be jetting off to Europe for 2 months. It’ll be my biggest trip to date, and in so many ways. It’s not just the duration but all the new countries I’ll be visiting, and the fact that I will mostly be on my own, with the exception of group tours and catch-ups with friends. But otherwise, it’s just me, myself and I.

Queenstown, New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand

It’s been a challenging 12 months. I have spent most of the year trying to move on from a break up, feeling really confused about what I want do with my life, not knowing what to have as a career, trying to fit in as many travel experiences as possible without going completely broke, and working on Tripping Over Travel (TOT) – the silver lining (but more on that later). There were many low periods, times when I would put myself down for not feeling as accomplished as others my age. It wasn’t until July this year that I started to take real action to better myself. It was like a light inside me turned on. It hit me that we were already in the second half of the year yet I felt like I hadn’t achieved anything except be sad and angry with myself. In order to pull myself out of this misery I tried to be more social again, attending parties and meeting new people. I wasn’t making any effort in the first half of the year. I started taking more of an interest in my day job, learning new things, and as a result, I may have paved a career path for myself. I stopped comparing myself to others, stopped dwelling on the past and worried less about the future – and I know it’s important to plan for the future but my level of worry was unhealthy. It was preventing me from living in the present. Slowly, I started to feel like myself again. There are particular friends who played an important part in this stage of my life. I will be forever grateful. I also started organising this Euro trip in July – a trip I was meant to do a year ago but completely flaked. But when I started feeling brave and confident again, I felt ready to embark on this next adventure on my own.

Taupo, New Zealand
Taupo, New Zealand

As mentioned earlier, this year I’ve been heavily invested in TOT, which I created 10 months ago. It’s a hobby for the moment but I have found so much joy in it. I spend almost all of my free time teaching myself photography, writing, researching, making videos (which I have yet to share) improving my geography and learning about the world. I’ll go as far as saying it’s been my saviour. TOT is my baby, I am so attached to my little project and I am probably my own biggest fan haha (what a narcissist!). But in all honesty, it’s the first thing I have ever created on my own, for myself and for the world, that I can actually be proud of. It’s a good feeling.

University of Melbourne
University of Melbourne, Australia

So I have come full circle from where I was a year ago. And everything feels OK again. I feel like I’ve been holding my breath for so long and writing this is a massive exhale. I look back to the person I was this time last year and I don’t even recognise that girl anymore. I am both nervous and excited for what lies ahead. But I have an extremely supportive network of family and friends who have proven time and time again that they will always be there. I am lucky to live in a very privileged country, and considering what I have put myself through mentally and emotionally in the last 12 months, I feel confident that if times get tough, I can pick myself up again. For now, I’ll just live each day as it comes and enjoy the moment. Europe, come at me!!

 

P.S. I may regret this later but I am going through an NSync phase right now so here is my departure song…