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How my first trip abroad changed me

Some people dreamt of their first car and getting ready to move into their university housing. I spent my entire final year of high school getting ready to grow up in a different way. To get out of the house and to travel without support. My plan was to get out there and just figure it out. 

Education is extremely important. Some part of me regrets not having studied for a Bachelor’s degree and another part of me reminisces about the amazing experience I got instead.

Lessons learnt from travel can be compared to anything.

I learnt so much about the world, myself and who I wanted to be.

Nothing was easy when you are a 23-hour flight away from your family with a 9 hour time difference, you struggle with support however you have yourself. Learning how much I can do on my own. I dealt with hard situations. Money and work were harder to come by but way more motivating. At the end of the day, I did that. I learnt real independence.

Later I discovered Couchsurfing, it is quite a scary concept. You stay on someone’s couch. The main reason for Couchsurfing is sharing stories, experiences and cultures. Inspired by life lessons from the people I stayed at. My favourite was Kelvin in Tasmania, he opened his entire home to travellers. We spoke about culture and differences. He was just so happy to share his life with me and the other traveller that stayed with him. He really inspired me to share and continue, life was really tough but you can choose if you want it to stay tough or get better. 

When I had to think about going home, I never wanted to end the adventure. My first trip enlightened a different type of ambition in me. The kind that would do anything to just buy another plane ticket. Our next road trip, an overseas trip or just a day out. I learnt to be ambitious through my passions. 

Every day I went through different emotional rollercoasters. I travel with anxiety, it’s difficult to manage but my comfort zone is my family. To not have them so close or an easy phone call away made it really difficult for me to cope on the bad days. I left thinking I could do everything on my own and not thinking about how much I needed my family. I eventually came home, I tried hard to work on all the poor relationships I had within my family as they were my foundation. 

Nothing went as planned.

Not every smile I had seen was a genuine one. All experiences make me tough, good or bad. Each heartache strengthens my walls more however bad that maybe, it protected me. Ready to be thrown around, being strong enough to get through a whole new variety of challenges.

I think my biggest challenge was motivation.

I had to find motivation in myself, not my friends, family or aeroplane brochure. I think to see the Sydney Opera house after saying so many times, I want to go there was my motivation. After actually seeing the place and experiencing the culture I realised that I was motivated. It happened multiple times, it must be a quality that exists in me. 

In closing, my first trip didn’t change me at all. It just made the qualities I have more evidence. Prepare for a cheesy line. Travel made me find myself. Encountered and cemented in my being now. I am so grateful that I can now say overall my walls and experiences that travel made a difference, it just starts with an idea. 

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