We’ve all heard that cliché – ‘don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened’, yet as I sit and write this post, looking out to sea from a coffee shop in Goa, it couldn’t feel more relevant. Over the past six months I’ve been on the most incredible journey and as my return flight edges closer, a lot of me doesn’t feel ready to give up the backpacker lifestyle just yet. Like a true writer, I’ve spent a bit of time (in between sunbathing and ranting about Trump) reading some of my bookmarked travel blogs, and the outlook does not look pretty. Everyone seems to mention the travelling blues; returning home to find you’ve changed in more ways than you’d imagined. So as one of my final blogs from Asia, I thought I’d share the lessons I’ve learnt across the eight new countries and cultures stamped in my passport.
Be more open to change
As creatures of habit, it is far too easy to move through life in a routine – a routine I was terrified of leaving in London before this trip. Taking a leap of faith into the unknown, I’ve learnt I can eat different foods, cope without the gym and put marathon training on hold. What’s more, the world hasn’t fallen apart. I’m sure as soon as I return home, my old routines will creep back, but living without one for six months has taught me a lot.
Other cultures amaze me
From learning about the Indian wedding traditions, to walking round barefoot in Bagan, embracing different cultures has been a big part of this trip. In London, speak to a stranger on the underground and you’ll be met with odd stares. Yet with a backpack on and a Lonely Planet book in hand, this hostility disappears. I have been so humbled by the charity and grace of some of the people we have me; the world can be a lonely place and it’s amazing how a smile can change this.
Be less material
After living in the same five outfits for six months, having my wardrobe back will be a welcomed change. That said, living out a backpack has not been as bad as I thought and I’m sure in a few months time I’ll miss unpacking and re-packing every few days (maybe).
Live in the moment
A big one I’m still not sure I’ve grasped, travelling is all about the here and now, not worrying about the past or trying to plan too far ahead in the future. As I start to think about heading home, I’m making a promise to myself to stop stressing about the things I can’t change. Wish me luck on the next part of this adventure!