My Mama recently stated that no one departs this life without scars. Challenging times are part of the human experience and does not discriminate. These past few months have been my lowest and 2016 was marked by one loss after the other in all aspects of my life from love, friendships, career and health the latter of which has left me bed ridden for many months and the onset of crippling depression kept me there.
It is now February and though everyday remains a struggle I am humbled by the experience and recuperating has given me ample time to face my mistakes, regrets and acknowledge areas in my life that need changing. The truth is I have been unwell for some time, mentally and physically and I ignored it for many years until it reached a critical point last year where my body went into revolt and resulted in several heartbreaking consequences one of which was pushing someone I loved away with my irresponsibility towards my health. I am not proud of who I have become or the poor life decisions I have made which lead me to this point.
This time in my life has revealed a lot and I find myself looking to the world again to heal my heart. Simply put, travel pushes you to become a well-rounded human being as world exploration gives way to self-discovery. The one thing I have always wanted was a travel companion to share the experience. I started this blog with the sole purpose of encouraging others out there to find the strength to travel alone and not be held back by loneliness, nerves or fear. But I find myself truly frightened to live this message for the first time in my life despite years of going solo.
For those who feel the same way I understand that you don’t want to go it alone, the situation is not ideal, but sitting at home waiting for your life to begin is not the answer and will only create a darker situation. Find your courage, it is in there, and allow yourself time to sit down to reflect on your personal travel goals. Do not underestimate the power of a bucket list, in these dark times it is the one thing that has pulled me out of my despair and putting my mind to work on how I will achieve these goals is a distraction from any mental and emotional anguish. Underlying the pain is still there but the more I look to the places I want to see the easier it is becoming.
Write out your bucket list so you are visually reminded every day about what you want and who you are. Work out how you will action the items on this list financially, respective to your personal time frame and of course the logistics involved. Remember travel comes in all different shapes and sizes and doesn’t necessarily mean venturing beyond your own national borders, look for points of interest in your own backyard or the next town over. Create the life you want.
T R A V E L B U C K E T L I S T
M Y A N M A R | Also known as Burma, this republic is a burgeoning new destination for tourists and as such remains inexpensive, however exercising a high degree of caution is still advised in some areas due to civil unrest. From Yagon, Bagan to Mandalay the sights on offer are a photographer’s delight. Entry visas are required for foreign nationals however keep in mind your port of entry as visas can only be activated through certain airports.
V I E T N A M | From Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh and every thing else in between, exploration of this south eastern Asian country requires ample time and careful planning to maximise your stay. The country’s increasing popularity has made it at a mecca for tourists and sadly this has brought prices up for would be wanderlusters. However, flights with Air Asia remain inexpensive and budgets can be extended if you avoid the party lifestyle.
Image courtesy of Lonely Planet and Getty Images
C A M B O D I A | Compliment a trip to Vietnam by crossing the border into neighboring Cambodia as buses operate between Ho Chi Minh and Phnom Penh daily with an estimated travel time of 7 hours. This can be a little daunting for those like myself still in the planning stage but there is plenty of information found on the net to ease any travel related stress.
Image courtesy of Lonely Planet, photographer Mark Read
I N D I A | I have been obsessing over tours of northern and southern India with Intrepid Travel since my brother and his wife spent a few months exploring the country ten years ago. After seeing their pictures I have been bewitched ever since. Ideally experiencing the colourful Holi festival which symbolises the triumph of good over evil would be the ultimate Indian experience.
Image courtesy of National Geographic, photographer Nilanjan Basu
S R I L A N K A | Seeing elephants in the wild would be a gift but for those who are in captivity volunteering at an animal sanctuary that does not exploit these majestic creatures is a must. I have been told though to not just focus all my attention on exploring the coast as Sri Lanka is abundant in natural beauty further in land.
N E P A L | Kathmandu, surrounded by awe inspiring mountains and standing at 1400 metres above sea level this is a must for those who appreciate the natural environment and fresh air. Ideally ascending to the Base Camp of Mt Everest would be the cherry on top of this perfect sundae but requires optimal health and training beforehand. My ex partner completed the challenge and after hearing his stories regarding altitude sickness this is not a venture to be taken lightly.
Image courtesy of Lonely Planet
B H U T A N | This mysterious country is the last great Himalayan Kingdom and I hope they can retain their mystery in an ever increasing globalised world. The country is accessible but very expensive to visit as tourists pay roughly $200 each day just to visit (excluding all other travel costs)… so if you are on budget you will have to limit your time here.
Image courtesy of The Treasury of Lives, photographer David Lazar
I R A N | For those who know me will understand my fascination with history and this is primarily thanks to my incredible high school teacher Mr Lendvai whose lessons about the Persian empire still remain fresh in my mind. A year ago I stumbled across one of my favourite travel blogs From Ice to Spice and upon reading Ása & Andri ‘s adventures through modern Iran combined with their captivating images will leave you intrigued and inspired.
Image courtesy of National Geographic, photographer Mihaela Noroc
I S R A E L | Though I don’t identify as religious I do consider myself spiritual and have always had a fascination with different religions, learning about the basis of their philosophy, traditions and practises. My Father always taught me to question everything I believed in and growing up we were exposed to different ideas, retrospectively perhaps that lay the foundation for my interest in Israel.
J O R D A N | One word, Petra. Admittedly I was (am) a massive Indiana Jones enthusiast… I wish I had a better source of inspiration, but let’s keep it real.
T R A N S S I B E R I A N R A I L W A Y | R U S S I A | M O N G O L I A | C H I N A | An experience 101 years in the making like India, this experience has been at the back of my mind for almost a decade but has to be timed perfectly to make the most out of long days and favorable weather. Planning the ultimate train trip can be very overwhelming, however a helpful starting point can be found by clicking here courtesy of the Telegraph UK.
Image courtesy of National Geographic
… so tell me, what’s on your list?