I am a passionate travel queen and have been lucky enough to live and immerse myself in several different cultures in my life in Europe, Africa, India and Australia. A native Brit with European roots, I’ve made my home in Copenhagen since 2001. I use my holidays to visit family and friends abroad, but also discover new cultures and challenge myself. My trips have included yoga retreats in Europe, Costa Rica, Cuba, Morocco and Sri Lanka; a road trip from Nairobi to Zanzibar; trekking in the High Atlas Mountains and tramping in New Zealand.
My most recent backpacking trip to Vietnam in March coincided with the launch of Psychologies Magazine’s decluttering theme. Not only did I feel proud I had challenged myself to travel light (10 kg!), but I was totally inspired to declutter on return.
Connecting with people
The opportunity to connect with people from another culture comes in simple ways from just smiling and waving, and acknowledgment – words are rarely needed. I have never found language to be a barrier. I truly believe we create those barriers in our mind. For deeper connections, I always meet kindred spirits and interesting people I might otherwise never cross paths with. Sometimes they become friends but more often than not; simply shared stories, personal insight and wisdom make a lasting impact.
Sometimes we are invited to support an eco or fair trade business or educational project with a small donation. We learn about the background of an initiative where the staff would otherwise be left to work in the fields. A recent experience at the Bamboo Cafe in Phong Nha, Central Vietnam made me smile. The menu kindly reminded us to have a little extra patience with the service staff who were still learning. And to give feedback so they could improve.
The universe has my back
Some travel experiences still bring tears to my eyes years later. I’ve felt safe during bizarre circumstances from the roadside in India in the middle of the night after our bus broke down to running through a rainforest in Sumatra with an Orangutan in tow.
My trust muscle is always massaged. I don’t know what is going to happen, what to expect or even how I will feel. But I always know the universe has my back and I will be OK. Especially on the physical challenging trips where I might go to bed cold, with sore feet utterly exhausted. Even better, this trust has extended to just knowing I will find the best cafes and restaurants – and I usually do!
Reflection and time to create new dreams
Travelling puts things in perspective and allows me to have a subjective view on my life. I usually come back fired up to start what I was merely thinking about before. The reflection time allows for new dreams to surface. And finally, I always return extra grateful - grateful to have a home in a safe neighbourhood, access to running water and fresh food on my doorstep.
So if you are hesitating about travelling solo, or need the inspiration to book that retreat, just go for it. Your trust muscle will be massaged and opportunities for personal growth will show themselves. Enjoy!