Finding Myself From My Travels

“You’re so boring.” “You’re no fun.”

When these words were uttered there must have been some truth to it. Either that or I was in the wrong company.

I dragged my feet with my undergrad studies so my grandparents dangled a carrot to encourage me to finish: they’ll pay for a trip to a destination of my choice within our country. That was enough to get me cracking to cross the line, proudly giving my grandparents a copy of my thesis in exchange for travel tickets. I am afterall, their first grandchild. And my graduation photo went up the family’s pride wall.

It was no surprise to them that I took up a job that involved travelling. But it wasn’t the glamorous kind of travelling. No posh hotels, fine dining or wining. Instead, it was countryside, visiting villages, slipping in the mud and eating streetfood. But I loved it! The unpredictability and rawness of the placess we were going kept me excited. Everyday was an adventure!

Over the years, family and work took over. When you have people to consider, what seems possible easily becomes impossible. I think I must have perfected the art of self-censorship — I stopped before I can even say it. That’s what disempowerment does to you.

I’ve travelled a little bit, but so little that I’ve lived in the same state in the same city for so long yet have seen so little of it. How ridiculous!

So it is ironic I suppose that as a single mom, I’d be travelling more. On one hand, resources are tight. Put bluntly, money is tight. But the flipside is the ability to make decisions without incumbrance! Oh the freedom is such a gift!

I wrote in a previous post: “Travel is the best antidote to sadness.” I am immensely grateful to my girlfriends who pulled me out from my hell hole forcing me to face and process my grief. I tagged along. Near or far, I tagged along. Whether it was driving privately or catching public transport, I tagged along.

At the art retreat at Jamberoo Abbey, they allowed me to cry as I placed my stone in our mandala. Grief and sorrow turning into peace and joy was my prayer. Joy was mine. Peace, my girlfriend’s.

At the top of Mt Canabolas, I screamed till my voice failed me.

At Bowen Mountain, I listened to my heartbeat while lying on a cold boulder under the euclyptus trees.

I bathed under the moonlight (and funnily two goats freely roaming around) at a retreat house in the Blue Mountains

Who am I? What do I want? What do I believe in? These questions and many more kept playing in my head.

I realized how much I loved, and still do, going to new places. I realized that it isn’t fine dining that excites me but the simplicity. Of having a shared experience with people who enjoy coldrock in a freaking cold night. And it the company of those who share these things that make the travels enjoyable and fun — the absence of pomposity, pretentions and trying to impress anyone. That I can say “I’m going to sleep a bit” and wake up asking “did I snore?” and a chorus reply of “you also dribbled” followed by massive laughter .

I can be me. I am me. I carry a ziplock filled with peppermint teabags and it’s ok. There has to be silly photo time, and it’s ok. And I can enjoy my bacon and eggs at breakfast with peanut butter and toast on the side. Weird, i know. But I can be ME.

And while at the airport lounge at some country town, I can enjoy a Corona while waiting for our flight home. No judgement.

In five months, I’ve clocked 4,000 kilometres of our state.

These are no fancy hotels, no fancy dinners, but definitely there’s Shiraz after a long day on the road.

I’ve come full circle. And there are more trips coming! Yay!

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