Travelling Isn’t Just the Travel

I love travelling. It makes up such a large part of my life.

I came to the concept a little later than most white middle class kids from my city – most at least fanaticised about a glorious gap year travelling around South East Asia to find themselves, even if they never actually executed on the idea. But not me, I’ve always been very goal oriented. I knew what I wanted to study at university, and I knew the kind of job I wanted once I had earned my degree. No time for fun. Invest the time now, and I can fun later.

While that approach certainly helped me with my career, I really wish I’d been easier on myself (on everything really, there’s a theme emerging when I think about the best bits about being 30!). As it happened, I spent a month travelling the UK / France / Italy before starting my first grown-up, graduate role, but I doubt I would’ve done it if I’d had more time off between my final exams and starting the new job.

As I type this, I’m sitting in an airport with my takeaway coffee (black, of course), while I wait for my connecting flight to board.   As I type this, my approach to travel is so, completely different.

The internet once said… travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer.

And I totally agree with the sentiment, even though it’s factually incorrect. (Hello books… bonds…).

I’ve done a lot of travel now.
To a lot of different places.
In a lot of different ways… Budget overnight trains in Europe, city hopping in Japan, ferries to Scandinavia, mini bus through the Baltics. Not all were done solo, and – honestly – not all were easy, but I learned something new from everything.

A key thing I’ve learned is that travelling isn’t just the act of travel. It’s the eating, the wandering, the ‘killing time’ between museum tours and hotel check ins. Travelling is everything you do while away from home. What you do to survive, what you do to entertain, and what you do to interact with literally anyone you meet along the way.   And in that sense, it’s all new.

That ’something new’ is the real draw-card. That is what pulls me into travelling. That’s what makes the act of travel worth it.

And this is what I’m trying to remind myself now. After 2x 12 hour flights to get me from London to Auckland – literally the other side of the world – and while I wait for my third and final flight. I’m headed home to see family. To see my friends.

I’ve definitely been here before. I lived and breathed it for 25+ years. But coming back now, there’s going to be ‘something new’.

There’s always something new.
And I can’t wait to see what that is.

Things I’ve Learned From Being Single #2

I hope you didn’t expect me to stop at just one.

#2 – girlfriends are everything.

When shit-hit-the-fan, I didn’t feel like I had any support network here in London.  All my best girl friends were back home – literally on the other side of the planet.

The closest friends I had here were mutual friends.  I never felt like they were *my* friends.  I couldn’t ‘spill all’ to them and expect them to keep that to themselves, that wouldn’t be fair (though, to their credit, I’m sure they would’ve said all the right things).

In my first few weeks of being single, I invested all of my free time into calls with the girls back home, and in building those strong female relationships here in London.  Without a doubt, this has been the best use of my time here in London.  I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.

There is nothing more empowering than women supporting women.

It’s not something I’d ever really seen or experienced before, but I’m a believer now.  And it’s spilled out into every aspect of my life.  Beyond personal relationships, and into my work ones.  My dealings with strangers.  How I approach supporting anyone, no matter what ‘junk’ they’ve got in their trousers*.

* Bonus thing-I’ve-learned; at home I would say pants.  Pants on the outside.  Underpants on the inside (funnily enough, under the pants).  In the UK, if you mean pants you have to say trousers.  Pants here mean underpants.  Knickers.  And people aren’t great about considering comments about pants in context.  This makes for awkward elevator chat – especially when asking ones boss if it would be appropriate to wear ones new bright red pants in the office.

Where’s the Line?

Where do you draw the line when you’re sharing your life with the internet?  It feels like what’s accepted and expected in 2019 is different to when I blogged last.  I

It used to be; first name, city, maybe age. – basically “A/S/L?”.  Don’t use last names.  Don’t give specifics about your work.  And don’t name / share photos of your friends without their permission.  Nicknames were key.

Remember when nicknames and avatars were the *you* you presented on the internet?!
Thanks Facebook.

In a world of daily vlogs, reverse image search and the internet of things, I’m not sure the old rules apply.  I mean, some of them do.  You’re not getting my credit card details, by passport number or my home address.   That seems obvious.

Clearly, there’s the ‘good’, and the ‘bad’.  And between those two there’s varying degrees of ‘okay’.  You know, like ‘okay, cool’ through to ‘okay for you, but not for me’.

I’m still figuring out what my right-side-of-okay is.  Bear with me.

Things I’ve Learned From Being Single #1

Last year, I became single again for the first time since I was at university.  While it was a long time coming and one of the best things that has happened in recent years (and there have been heaps of great things!), it was a learning curve.  I learned a lot.  Fast.

And I’ve kept a list.  A list of the things I’ve learned from being single and dating for the first time as a real, head-on-my-shoulders adult.  I figured I could write a book!  But no, this is better.  No one wants a coffee table book when they can read this from their phone.

Holy shit, guys – dating is different now

So I present to you – in pieces – my ever-growing list.

#1 – be prepared to get unsolicited pictures of strangers’ genitals.

You know; the ol’ dick pic.  No, I won’t share an example.

It seems a little on the nose.  An obvious choice for a first lesson.  It’s not the first I’d written down, but it feels like a bit of a quick win, no?

We’ve all heard stories, but I genuinely didn’t believe that it was a thing.  At least, not from 40 year old men who really have no business sharing that stuff.  Really, it’s nothing to brag about – you should be saving that to show a girl in person, where she has to be polite and can’t laugh.

Honestly, I’m still not sure how to deal with this one.

It happens enough that it doesn’t shock me any more.  Usually, I just unmatch the unsavoury individual on the dating app (because, let’s be honest, it’s always on a dating app).  Though, the last one I received got this shot back, without comment or context:

Have you experienced this, too?  How do you deal with?

Fresh Start for the Stale?

How fresh can a fresh start really be?
How do I know if I’m stale and better off in the compost? (I’d say bin but as a Kiwi in London, I’ve learned that’s a trap.  And compost gives the impression of usefulness, rather than just being a gross, wasteful mess)

I haven’t blogged in years.  I haven’t blogged consistently for yeeeeaaaars.  When I did, it was a semi-coherent stream of consciousness that few people understood, and even fewer people followed.

Do people even read blog posts any more?

I’ve always found writing to be very cathartic.  Mostly when done privately.  I’ve even written myself letters (and posted them).  Writing online is different.  And the world has moved on a lot since I did this the last time.

The world has moved on, and so have I.
So why have a circled back?

Don’t worry, that’s a rhetorical question.  Or, at least, a question for me.  You don’t have to answer it.

And honestly, I don’t have an answer for it.

The last six months have been a period of significant change for me.  But I’ve grown a lot in the 4+ years since I last wrote online regularly.  I’m not sure quite how to describe the changes.  Do I even bother?  What is that worth, when you’re getting to know the me of the here and now.

I’m a lot happier now than six months ago, but I’m hungry.  Hungry for life.  Hungry for experiences.  Hungry for what I know I can achieve when I set my mind to it.  I always wanted more, but I felt stifled.  Restrained.  Held back from going for actually going after what I actually wanted.

I genuinely feel different now.
And I’ll feel different again tomorrow.

Come on the journey with me while I figure out who I am now that I’m in my thirties and full of hope?