Searchers and Runners
Many people wonder why I travelled so much, and why others may have that desire to travel too. "What is the point?" I get frequently asked, "the UK is a beautiful little country!".
I agree - the UK is a stunning little country, that I also love to explore and appreciate - in fact, I've seen nothing like enough of it yet!
Over the years, I've come across very common patterns and reasons as to why some people might travel, everyone has a story and is on their own personal journey. I've often found that many people in life are searching FOR something or running FROM something.
I will put my hands up and say In the beginning, I was running. It transitioned to searching and now i'm pretty content and genuinely just enjoy seeing new things / meeting different people from all walks of life and experiencing different cultures.
Now don't think of runners and searchers as a negative...I've been amazed at how many incredible people I've met who are searching for something or running from something by travelling, and it isn't always bad. It sometimes is just simply a beautiful road of self discovery.
Below is a little list of some of the most common reasons I've found along the way - it is quite crazy how many people I met who were in the exact same situations so often over the last 9 years.
1. Searching for more to life, something to fill "that hole" they feel inside.
2. Searching for somewhere to call home/ somewhere they want to 'be', finding their 'place' in life.
3. Searching for peace.
4.Searching for happiness.
5. Searching for the meaning of life.
6. Searching for self discovery of who / what they want to be / searching for direction in life
1. Running from a failed relationship(s) (a partner / friend or family)
2. Running to somewhere they can 'be themselves' (as they can't at home for some reason or the other.)
3. Running from a trauma in their life.
4. Running from the rat race of 21st century 'live to work' life.
However, a lot of people just want a break or a bit of escapism - who doesn't right?!
My travel story begins at 19 - I was running from a failed relationship and after working for a year after leaving school I craved something new, something exciting and different - as I still hadn't worked out what I wanted to 'do' in life. For some reason I had a feeling deep in my gut that I had to go to Africa - I generally act in life mostly on feelings as I am not a huge logical thinker - but an emotional one! So If I get a feeling inside on something, I tend to just act on that.
I ended up in Swaziland, South Africa for a month with my cousins husband doing missional / volunteer work - It was the first time I had travelled alone, and I loved it! A little piece of my heart was left in South Africa all those years ago in 2008, and I have returned several times since. I learned a lot over there - seeing people with who have nothing so happy and full of joy, it made me a lot less materialistic and realise what are the more important things in life.
Straight after Swaziland, I flew to France to do 5 months living and working as a Chalet Host in a ski resort in the french alps. (The complete opposite to Swaziland!)
This was like uni halls with coursework substituted for what I call 'wife - life - skills'. You learn how to clean, cook, be hospitable (to every kind of person) and finally ski and snowboard. This was a hectic and wild environment that takes it toll on your body, as you are away from home for the first time just working and partying in a beautiful place with hundreds of other 18 - 30 year olds. I learned a lot about myself there - I fell in love with the mountains and nature - I also learned how to 'adult' (domestic goddess-ness! haha jokes...)
I returned to the same ski resort for a further 2 winters after that, and have returned every year for holidays since with family and friends - it again holds a special place in my heart - If you haven't been to Tignes - go!
As I got older I started to live and work abroad - I had found my career path in Bees, so started travelling around Australia and New Zealand and working there. At the time I was sponsored to work abroad so it made sense to do so I could keep working with bees all year round doing back to back summers.
Wanaka in South island New Zealand was a stunning place that I so nearly made home. I even had a immigration visa approved to go there, I felt like it was a place where I just 'fit'. I loved the lifestyle, the scenery, the work, the daily atmosphere of gratitude - I felt like I was hit with a massive sense of inner peace. This was how I wanted my 'home' to feel.
But as life does - curve balls were thrown in - my brother became unwell with brain cancer, and it made me realise how far away from the important people in my life I was geographically.
I was never in denial about my brother passing away, as I was home and with him the majority of the time to witness the very real suffering he was going through, and the emotional trauma it caused on my entire family. After his passing though, In hindsight I think I may have done some 'running travelling' to try and escape the fact that he was missing from my life. I would tell myself that "If I was away in a different country - I was away from everyone and everything, so it was as if I could pretend he was still there back at home". I obviously knew he wasn't...but the mind can do some wild things...
I know this probably sounds very wacky and you might be thinking oh my word this chick is cray cray - but we all deal with these things in very different ways, and this was my way of dealing with it at the time. Sure enough, it was only temporary emotional healing as I would always end up on a plane back home - on a massive low, hiding my tears from pretty air hostesses. Knowing full well he wouldn't be there on my return for me to tell all my stories to. He used to always be so interested in what I got up to when I travelled, so it may seem like a small thing, but for me - it was big.
Thankfully - I accepted and dealt with my brothers passing, and I now look back with nothing but feelings of joy and love for the incredible memories we had over the 25 years I got to spend with him. No more running was needed to be done! We live, we learn, we grow!
I began searching again for somewhere to make home - somewhere that would fit my lifestyle in the long term, where I would want to run with my future dog Shyla, and somewhere I would want to eventually bring up children with my future - life - adventure - buddy. (These are all futuristic as non of them actually exist..yet.) I had seen the incredible upbringings and lifestyles children had around New Zealand and Australia and that is what I desire to find. A beautiful safe environment that is filled with outdoor adventures to be had on a daily basis. Lakes. Mountains. Sea.
Over the last year I have practicing and learned a lot about mindfulness. (don't worry this is not a hippy alert!)
Having my morning 'me time' of exercising, reading, making a good coffee and a pretty breakfast has changed my way of thinking a lot - it has also changed my lifestyle entirely. I'm filled with gratitude every morning I wake up. I'm filled with peace every morning I wake up. And getting stressed is a very rare occurrence. I don't even know if I remember when I last got properly stressed? I have a sense of calm over me, that I no longer need to run or search - I can just travel and enjoy our planet for what it is - AWESOME.
So thats my little travelling story wrapped up into a nutshell - for those that wondered why I did so much of it over the years. I'm not saying everyone in life is running or searching, but everyone is on their own personal journey, has a story we don't know about, so therefore we should never judge others and be kind always.