Colombia (August 2014)
For the first time in my life, I have lost count of the time I have been somewhere. Has it been 2 months, 10 weeks or possibly even longer? All I know is that since I have been living in Medellín, my life has been a blur; a whirlwind of events that I know I can never recreate.
But as with every journey, I find myself still learning about the art of travel. And just when I thought I had it all figured out, along comes another challenge on this long road of discovery and this new ball game called expat life.
I've never slow travelled before. Not in my thirties anyway. I lived for a month in different countries and even in Australia and Guernsey for more than a year each but in my twenties it was different. People came and went and you always knew that you were going to move on eventually and that this would only be a temporary home.
But now, in my thirties, the realisation that I've left England for good can occasionally be a bit overwhelming. I never thought for a second that I would be so settled in Colombia and be surrounded by the most amazing people I now consider my new family. But with everything great comes its downsides.
Reducing the pace of life and staying still comes with so much security, a sense of comfortableness and being in a place of belonging but side by side comes feelings of it not ever wanting to change, of things to remain exactly the same but that just isn’t life.
I have found myself clinging onto the last few days, knowing with a sense of sadness that all this will eventually come to an end and today it has, as people who I have grown so close to in the last 2 months have left for pastures new.
Maybe that’s why I’ve always moved fast, to avoid the pain of getting to know others on such a deep level that you can keep that distance between you. Because once you really get to know someone, they can leave an imprint on your heart that is painful when they leave.
Being on the road we have a sense of longing, of yearning to be with people like us: other travellers who make us feel that we have found our tribe. But for the first time ever, I don’t feel like a traveller or even a backpacker. I no longer want to socialise with the new stream of people who are just ‘passing through.' I've learnt to develop deeper more meaningful relationships and become part of an expat family where silence is comfortable and nationality or religion doesn't matter.
I've detached myself from travellers who seemed shocked when I tell them I have been here for 3 months and ask the same mundane traveller questions. I no longer want to tell them where I've been, how long I'm travelling for or where I'm heading to next.
Because, I'm not travelling.
I've left that way of life and maybe one day I'll go and jump back on the travelling circuit, but for now, I am just another girl who has made a life for herself in another country, and one which is not my native tongue. I have made the transition from traveller to expat, one that comes with a sense of security instead of an endless wandering.
Saying goodbye is hard but everything changes, eventually, and I wouldn't change where I am for the world…
Barcelona (May 2018)
It’s been a while since I’ve written a personal update and because some people have said to me lately, “Where are you?” “I can never keep up with your travels,” I have decided to do what other bloggers do and write a personal post.
I’ve always shied away from writing too many personal posts as I prefer to write about an adventure that I’ve had to inspire others to travel there. Instead, I’m going to add blog posts to inspire you in life and hope that the lessons I am learning can also be useful to you too.
So more frequently you’re going to get a personal post but not one that talks about what book I’m currently reading or what meal plan I’m on, but about what’s happening with Girl about the Globe, goals, ambition and anything related to solo travel.
This month I’m focusing on change. Tomorrow marks the 1st June and there is so much change in my life at the moment that it is overwhelming. A new home, a new neighbourhood, new interns, and a new office space.
I’ve always tried to live my life in the flow, instinctively going where my heart leads me. I left England on a one-way ticket to Latin America in 2014 and found a home in Colombia. My plans of moving to Mexico with my ex-boyfriend took a different path and instead I found myself back in Europe. Now life has brought me back to Barcelona.
I’ve lived in a lot of places but the thought of actually settling in one freaks me out.
It’s ironic that I felt secure in the unknown. Not knowing where I was going to be next, always planning my next trip, looking for my next room in Barcelona and thinking I was cool to be living my life out of a bag. But that life is not sustainable. There’s only so long before you crash and burn, longing for a bed to call your own. So, I’ve made a change. I’ve made a commitment.
I have made myself a comfort zone, yet the thought of staying still fills me with a slight dread. Is this where I really want to be? What if I get pulled in another direction?
There’s a saying that ‘you’re always one decision away from a totally different life.’ I’ve lived here before yet this time feels different. It feels more committed, more structured. Can I really live this kind of life after 5 years of continuous uncertainty? I honestly have no idea but after making the decision to commit I remain open to whatever happens next.
So I’m putting away the backpack (for a while anyway). I still have travel on the cards just shorter trips instead off months of intrepid travel. This Autumn I have my Santorini trip coming up, and my trip to the Sahara, and there is also the possibility of visiting Japan in September.
Making the decision to stay in Barcelona allows me the time and space to work on Girl about the Globe and to grow the brand. I’m still adding the destinations I was lucky enough to travel to this year so expect to see destinations guides for Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, as well as plenty of others. I now have a proper structure and after years of creating freedom for myself I am making adjustments.
Change is scary. Whether it’s committing to a year of travel or a year or staying still. But one thing is for certain, once you make that decision everything else will flow.
Is there a decision that you need to make? I’d love to hear your story below if you are changing your life too.