A few years ago, I hit a point where I had no idea what the hell I was doing. I was too young to really know how to fix the problem, although wisdom is a very subjective thing so even though I would do things differently now, in ten years I will think I was a dumbass back in 2012.
Anyway, I decided the solution was to run away.
Not ‘run away’ in the ten-year-old sense where you run away from home and hide out in the park until dinner time when your mum comes and picks you up, but in the sense that the idea of staying put was so overwhelming, so awful and so depressing that if I didn’t leave I would scream, tear my hair out, and probably die (or some other example of the histrionics nineteen-year-olds are prone to).
Off I went to Europe. Looking back, I like to picture it as something akin to the movie Euro Trip, with Amsterdam hash cookies, pervy Italian men on trains who say “mescuzzi” in sultry tones, and accidentally ending up in Bratislava. It wasn’t like that though. Yes, I learned how to drink beer, took up smoking like all the sophisticated European girls do, and salsa-danced with a bunch of soldiers in a nightclub in Budapest, but it was more a journey of growth than a “can’t-remember-half-of-it Contiki tour” (not that I am opposed to these in ANY way). There were tears for sure and I learned some pretty hard lessons about people, but I also learned about my own strength which had, until that point, eluded me somewhat. I did things I would never have done before that, I went out on my own and made things work, I made friends and I lost friends, and I stood up for myself when I needed to. I guess it was my own personal form of rebellion.
As with all my travel so far, I learned a lot about myself. Seeing other cultures in action often gives you a reference point for your own life and I think travel gives you the opportunity to develop as a person. It is rare that I would go somewhere without having this in mind.
I don’t run anymore. Not everything in life is peachy but I have it pretty good now. And I know that most things can be fixed one way or another with the three Hs: Hard work, Humility and Humour.
By the way I don’t smoke any more – it was a short lived phase. Health over cool factor and whatnot. I do, however, enjoy a nice beer… But the only bloke I would salsa with is Boyfriend (and that is a big ask!)
catacombs, paris… chillin’ with the dead