Today, as we do every day, Nat and I were chatting about life.
I told her I see her as #lifegoals. She has a beautiful little family and her home is incredible. Like, seriously. Ocean views from her living room. Wellington is a cold little dream.
Her response was ‘you don’t want to rush it my love!‘.
I love my Nat. We are on the same wave length. She has travelled extensively to some of the most mind blowing destinations. She’s a real traveller as I like to say. Off the grid, a proper backpacker. She’s been completely solo and her stories are my favourite. I will not repeat, they aren’t my stories to tell. But, one day, I’ll have lots of my own!
I’ve decided what my life goal is. It’s pretty simple and it’s pretty awesome.
I want to have lots of stories to tell, and I want to use them to inspire other people to pursue their travel dreams too.
Of course I want the normal things too. One day I’ll (hopefully) meet a wonderful man who shares my passions, have my own big, loud woggy family who loves to sing and dance and laugh and eat just like mine. I dream of us all sitting around a big table with wine and curry and chatting about our days with some classic tunes on the turntable.
I know I’ll have that one day. But I’m in no hurry. I know it’ll take someone really special to keep up with my itchy feet and mad family (love yous! But you are mental!) and I won’t settle for less than someone who adores me and them just as much as I do.
As per our discussion, here are some of mine and Nat’s favourite things about travel:
- Watching sunsets and sunrises
- Tasting truly good local food
- Being nervous in big unfamiliar train stations
- Sitting on your bed in a new hostel
- Making eye contact with strangers and smiling
- Kissing a foreigner
- Getting lost in big cities
- Drinking chai lattes and people watching
- Reading in the airport
- Trying to speak another language
- Swapping stories with fellow travellers
- Singalongs in hostels with the wankey guitar guy (we hate to love him)
Work is work and thankfully we fell in to an industry that will always be there, and we work really hard so that we know our jobs are secure for when we come back (what a blessing!) but the best bits of life are definitely the in between bits; the bits where your mind isn’t anywhere else. You are completely in the moment, watching whats going on around you, and just being.
I hope everyone gets to experience the things on our little list at some point. For me, they are what makes life worth living. It’s so freeing to be completely alone and present. I’d never known that feeling before until Europe 2012. I was so excited the entire time, not knowing what’s going to happen next. Routine is great, but it’s not for me.
Here are a couple of travel stories I’ve accumulated so far!
- Probably my favourite ever backpacker memory is from when I was travelling Europe in 2012. By the time we reached Berlin we’d been on the road for about 5 weeks. The hostel we stayed in was absolutely gorgeous. We walked in to a room with wood panelled floor and walls and the highest ceiling I’ve ever seen. The window was open to let in the breeze (it was a warm 35 degrees in Berlin that day!). As I unpacked my backpack I heard a gloriously familiar sound float up to our room. Australian accents; multiple Australian accents. I clambered on the bed to get a better view and spotted three bodies hanging in the courtyard. They didn’t appear to know each other and were giving introductions. ‘We’re in!’ We chorused and leapt down stairs as quickly as possible to introduce ourselves to a little slice of home. We met three lovely people that afternoon. I still have all three on Facebook. As much as I adore the anonymity of travel, there’s nothing more heart warming than that little piece of familiarity. We chatted a while and with 1 euro bottles of sangria on the go I can honestly say most of that afternoon was a blur. My all time favourite memory though? A beautifully bohemian young fellow with his accoustic guitar had set himself up in the corner of the common room. He started strumming and before long the entire room had erupted in to the chorus of ‘Piano Man’. To this day, still one of my favourite songs. How cliche and fabulous.
- Now you have all heard my Craig Anderson story (if not, see my post ‘the greatest trip of my life so far!’), but that trip was full of brilliant little adventures. One that comes to mind as the most stand out evening would have to be ‘Swag Night’. I’m a sucker for an accoustic. After an expertly cooked up dinner, we found ourselves huddled around a camp fire drinking wine from classy plastic glasses, wearing UGGs and every layer of clothing we owned. Shorty pulled out his guitar and after the beautiful Frenchman played us a slightly painful set, complete with clackers, we were treated to the old faithful ‘It’s Business Time’ by Flight of the Concords. A few originals too! Only to be topped off by the coolest night of my life. Literally. I got to sleep in a swag in the middle of the bush, the sky littered with more stars than I’ve ever seen. Tick her off the bucket list. It was heaven. Summer would have been better however…. I think attempting to roll up the swag in my PJs and getting lost in the dark on our way to the toilets was another highlight of the experience. Oh Lea 2 how do I manage without your keen sense of direction and tiny bladder.
- I’ll regale you with one final tale. This one goes out to fair Italia. In Verona I stayed in a stunning bed and breakfast, which was more like your idea of the most perfect Italian apartment of all time. It was big, classically decorated and more importantly, the kitchen table was littered with delicious food. You cannot beat that Italian hospitality. Upon arrival our host let us know that some Americans were also staying up the hallway from us. That evening we found them playing card games in the kitchen. This turned to drinking card games and 4am chats about politics. The next morning we all rose feeling a little worse for wear and decided to abandon previous plans and, upon our beautiful hosts advise, we caught the train out to lake Garda. Always listen to the locals! We made it, after getting off on the wrong stop and catching a rather expensive taxi, to a stunning ancient village. A castle sat perfectly content in what appeared to be the ocean (nope, just a really big lake). The place smelled like fresh baked goods and roses with a hint of salt in the air. Once we spotted the paddle boats for hire, we knew our day was sorted. Sun baking on the back of a paddle boat and swimming in Lake Garda has to be one of the most surreal and incredible experiences I’ve had. I can’t wait to return to Northern Italy and I cherish the amazing day we spent with our wickedly funny American friends, who I also have on Facebook! Thank you guys for one of my favourite memories, and for proving Americans are awesome.
I hope that one day someone says to me ‘you inspired me to go for it!’ – that would absolutely make my life. I want people to see that even when bad things happen and your heart’s a bit broken and all that jazz, life’s just beginning. It’s going to be so much better than you ever imagined. That I absolutely promise you.
I hope people don’t wait for other people. I hope people do what they want to do when they want to. You don’t have to answer to anybody… You’ve only got yourself at the end of the day, so make sure you love her or him, and make sure you do everything you can together.
All my love