Where this blog and my travels are at

I have been back home for about four months. I was away for a year and five months while travelling, volunteering, working and learning a language across two continents and nine countries. I met some amazing (… or at least different) people, and  had experiences that I could never have predicted. I also have twelve published draft posts, and six unpublished ones

This blog has laid dormant for a while but I’ve decided that I’m going to finish the posts I have in drafts. So expect another six posts. Or five. I say five because two of the drafts are about the same topic. One written after two glasses of wine, and the other was written in sober and logical light of day. The wine post is a lot angrier, but I’m unsure which is better. We’ll see.

Expect some musings about money & travel, the world, and about reading and writing while travelling. Also expect some more practical articles about places, spaces and culture in Spain and elsewhere. If you’re lucky I might even add my journal entry about the journey of my jar of peanut butter (which is amusing to me at least)

Perhaps I’ll add in a couple more about my time in Canada, or the roadtrip  I

DSC03211.JPGdid through the US. My sister and I were crazy enough to drive from New  Orleans to Vancouver in 4 days (This is drawable and visible on a map of the world!).Then we sold the car a day after we got back to Vancouver, the day before our flight back home.

However once this is all done I really want to start…

A NEW PROJECT

I want to create a site that displays ordinary people’s stories, from every place in the world, searchable by location

You’ve probably heard travellers say this before but… despite all our cultural and visual differences… people are essentially the same.

We’re not clones, and our cultures aren’t the same. However we all have goals, experience friendship, love, disappointment and most of us like playing games and dancing in the kitchen :).

So I want to take a ‘sonder’ through the lives of people from every country in the world and collect a story from them all. Perhaps a story about their Christmas, or a wobbly tooth. Perhaps I’ll also ask their favourite colour, place, word or person. I haven’t decided on the structure  yet.

Why?

Because I like people. And the more people I got to know from all around the globe the more I cared about what was happening around the globe. That was because suddenly  all these things happening were happening to ‘my people’ rather than to forei16028-illustration-of-a-globe-pvgners.

So I want to show that you have something in common with everyone. I also think it might be fascinating to compare stories from around the globe in 2015.

The site is definitely not ready yet -but keep an eye on Faces From Places

The world is your oyster and travel is what you make it

I’ve recently moved to Vancouver, and as a result I’ve been reading the Vancity Buzz in an effort to familiarize myself with the city while sitting in front of my computer.

I stumbled across this article, The truth about backpacking Europe (and why I will never do it again) and although I agreed with a lot the author had to say… it really annoyed me.

She basically said: if you’re looking for culture, if you want to replicate anyone else’s experiences (duh), if like small comforts etc, etc… don’t go backpacking

To which I would like to say… Expectations are fine, but don’t go to Europe, or anywhere or even do anything with a one-size-fits-all approach while still holding expectations.

USE YOUR IMAGINATION

I started my trip mildly unconventionally. I completed a Workaway helping some girls with their English, took Spanish classes ,  took a brief trip to Salamanca, went on a road trip (to take videos/photos of possible filming locations!) , a few days in Lisbon, and then completed a volunteer program with Diverbo .

I think I was about two months in at this stage, and I decided it was about high time I did some ‘conventional travelling’. AKA Solo travelling through Andalucia/the South of Spain, staying in a hostel in each destination for 1-2 days and ticking off the sights before catching a bus to the next destination.

I am slightly to ashamed to say, I didn’t really like it so much.

I loved South of Spain, but I didn’t like the hostels. I also didn’t like moving between places by myself every 1-2 days.

I feel mean saying that because I’ve had some great times in hostels playing drinking games and exploring the locations with others HOWEVER….

There is often a snorer, a smell and an inconsiderate packer with a noisy plastic bag. If I’m late back at night, I’ll likely wake someone in the dorm up. However if I’m having an early night someone will likely wake me up when I’m coming in.

I like the freedom and the sleep quality of my own space.

However the real issue was the moving. Travellers are good conversationalists but eventually I did not want to tell anyone where I was from, what I did, where I was going and where had I been. Short stays means there is the potential to have this this conversation A LOT. Towards the end of these 2 weeks I began to avoid meeting people, purely so I could avoid this superficial conversation.  You’re hardly ever alone as a solo traveller, but that doesn’t mean you won’t feel lonely.

Disclaimer: I loved some of the people I met in hostels, and most people like hostels more than me! To each their own!

However, most likely on a meditative bus ride, I came to the realization that I could travel however I wanted. That I didn’t have to travel in a particular way, or even in a straight line was such a freeing idea. I was free to make decisions based on experiences and let my whims take me where they wanted; be that staying or going.

I did later ‘hostel-hop’ but I kept these trips shorter and in between longer stays. I’ve been away for (an anxiety inducing) approximately 300 days, and I can count 41 nights that I spent in hostels.

Instead some of the mildly unconventional things I did included:

  • Leaving countries, to return later

  • Au- pairing in a little village north of Barcelona

  • Visiting a friend competing in a sporting event

  • Renting a place in Barcelona with a friend I hadn’t seen in years and his odd housemate

  • Working on a permaculture farm… without power

  • Going out of my way to reconnect with friends I made earlier in my trip: in new cities or in their own

  • Staying with awesome locals on Airbnb

  • Taking Spanish Lessons again (in a new location!)

  • Crashing 2x birthday parties in France and in Spain and struggling through language differences

  • Staying with a Swiss family for a week and going hiking in the surrounding mountains

  • Visiting the middle of nowhere in Spain and Portugal. (Tiny towns without English speakers)

  • Travelling from Switzerland to Portugal through France and Spain by bus

  • Working on a campsite in the beautiful nature of South of France

  •  Visiting extended family and friends I made in England

Things I wanted to do, and could have: (but time and money are precious resources)

And I’m comparatively boring! I haven’t even:

If you think about it, travel is about moving your body from one place to another. Surely you can find some way to do this that is in line with your goals and interests.

If something is not working… change! If you’re burning out… stay still a while.

I definitely got to see my fair share of culture, and connected with people, nature and ideas more than I did buildings.

The world is your oyster people.