18 April 2016

Why I Love To Travel

Sports Day, Sandema

Location: Sandema, Northern Ghana, West Africa

Travelling. For me, it kind of always seemed inevitable. My Mum writes in a travel letter to me not so long ago, 'I always knew from the day your Dad and I watched you walking with such determination in front of us both wanting to 'explore'. That little girl in her shorts, baseball cap, socks that had to be rolled down (like the explorers!) and red boots, wanting to see the world from the age of three.' Pretty cute right? But it strikes me that there was something in me that needed to see beyond the bricks of my home and primary school. It feels like I had something stronger than just a kid wanting to make sense of everything, looking back I feel like I've always wanted to see the world.

It was fortunate really that as I was growing, the invention of the internet was blowing up, and by the time I was taking down notes in my Monday morning lecture, my daily fix of 'wanderlust' had settled into my routine in the form of Tumblr posts - beautifully filtered palm trees and skinny tanned girls with beach hair and white smiles running over white sands. Facebook began to include personal photo diaries of destinations like Thailand and Australia, so far from the familiar family resorts of Spain, everybody was jumping on the bandwagon, or rather the cheapest flight they could get to paradise, and so the pressure to join in became greater than ever. 

Now, if you're a follower of my blog (or my Twitter or Instagram) I'm sure you've read many times that I've just spent the first few months of the year living in rural Ghana, an amazing, life changing experience. Ghana was hard, it was hard eating different food and socialising with the locals and living with a West African family. Going to a developing country was a different world, and now I'm home of course I'm loving my warmed up slippers and endless cups of tea and cozy duvet on my king size double bed (soz about me) but it does all just feel, a little bland.

I am ready to settle for a bit and find a job, which is exactly what I'm in the process of doing. I worked in retail before I went to Africa, and although I was brilliant at my job (I put in enough hours and love into that job not to say that) it got repetitive. I've worked in two charity shops, I devoted a summer and a Christmas during university to running around simultaneously as a waitress and a barmaid, I volunteered and ran two campaigns with the help of volunteers I recruited and managed single-handedly, and as I just mentioned, I gave up three months of my life to volunteering in Northern Ghana. Plus, I worked for three years to get a 2:1 English degree. All of these things I chose, all of these things I wanted to do and everything I've done thickened my skin and helped make me who I am now. But, I didn't do all that to stay in retail and not follow my dreams.

My dreams do of course involve travelling though, more than ever I am that kid with my red boots and binoculars, and I'm so lucky to be in my 20's at a time when travelling the world is easier than ever. Just f*cking off for three months to work in a developing country is pretty random and yet after applying for a visa, ten injections and some phone calls about my flight arrangements, I was off. The fact that it is so easy is just a tease, and yeah I wanna jump start my career because I have passions to fill, but I hope wherever life takes me, I get to see places I've dreamed of and places beyond my dreams.

Travelling is a necessity for me, and maybe some people are happy with being a home bird, but for me, I'm just not. It's hard to explain this to people, I don't want people to think I'm 'running away from real life' or trying to 'avoid the system'. I just, I need to see it all, do it all, and maybe I just can't pinpoint why. I just need to see other cultures, other worlds, other people, new opinions - old opinions in comparison to my own in some instances. Get angry, get sad, get happy at seeing the rest of the world because, for me, it's more than just crossing it all off a bucket list or telling a fascinating story at a dinner party: I want to feel everything. I want to see it all.

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