I have recently moved to a new area, alone, hundreds of miles from my loved ones. This has inspired this post….
“Please don’t be offended if I am staring. People watching goes to a whole new level in a place with a different culture, attitude and accent. Likewise with looking at buildings and landscapes. It is all shiny and new to me, even if you have seen it a thousand times before.
Please don’t follow me around the store because I look nervous, to the shop assistant. I have come in the store to buy something to cheer me up. I am nervous; I don’t know anybody here. I am not shoplifting.
Please don’t stare at me, to the man with his girlfriend / wife. I am not interested in somebody who is ‘taken’ and do not want to make enemies with your partner.
Please be welcoming. One nice word or act of kindness can change a very lonely feeling to a much happier one. Thank you to those who have done so.
Please ask me questions. If you are curious as to why I am alone, or why you have not seen my face around before, please ask me. I am happy to open up and share my story and would love to hear yours.
Please accept that this is hard. It is possibly the most difficult thing I have ever done. I am not crazy for moving somewhere new, but brave and hopeful for a better life. For after all, like birds, we are not meant to stay in the same spot forever.”
If you love travel, you simply love travel. It is not only your fierce obsession but it gives you a purpose to life if you don’t quite fit into the niche of parent and mortgage payer.
Sure we all dream of meeting a soul mate who feels the same way we do about travel and heading off into the sunset together with our backpacks, holding hands.
But what happens if you meet a potentially perfect partner, settle down and start planning a future together, only to find out that your partner does not share the same passion for travel as you do?
This is a very common issue. It is acceptable to society to break off a relationship if your partner doesn’t want children and you do, so why should this be any different. A desire to travel is not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle. So if you are in a relationship that prevents you from travelling because it is not your partners wish to, you are not being true to yourself.
There are solutions, however. If you really love your partner and see a future with them regardless of their lack in sharing the same life choices as you, you should still try to make it work. You could try to move abroad together and start a new lifestyle. If this is not an option, maybe you can split your own time between travelling and being at home with your partner. You will definitely need a very strong relationship for either of these to work.
Looking at it a little deeper, you may need to assess your relationship. Find out the real reasons your partner does not want to travel. It actually could be that they are not truthfully happy in the relationship with you and committing to a gap year away with you frightens them. Or, it could be other issues at home holding them back. Either way, it is a problem.
You should also look at yourself and really figure out if a life without travel is an option and if you value a loving relationship more than travel.
The love I have in a relationship is very different to the love I have for travel. For me, travel is a journey with myself. Therefore, to have to give that up to be with the person I love would mean I was no longer… myself.
Picture this – a world without people in it. Travelling to other countries without anybody to see or talk to. Sure there would still be art and beautiful beaches. But if there were either no people there, or everybody was the same, travel would simply be dull.
Culture or language would not exist without people. Some of my favourite experiences while travelling have only been brought to life because of the people that surrounded me, even if they were just…. strangers.
I love photographing strangers while I’m travelling. If I see people talking in a photograph, I imagine what they are talking about, or where they are walking to. Watching people celebrate festivals or even funerals in a different way than I have only known in my own, “normal” life, is magnificent.
Here are my favourite photographs of strangers that I have taken during my travels over the world.
I feel that photographing strangers is the best way to reflect on your travels and really discover the culture of the places you visit. You can learn so much from people you don’t know.
I have travelled solo on several occasions. It is different to travelling with companions because you connect more with your surroundings and the culture and really find yourself.
In developed or the western world, being female isn’t an issue. However, in some countries travelling alone as a woman can be a problem. I’ve lost count of the times locals asked me where my husband was when I was travelling alone. This doesn’t overly concern me but there are some destinations I would think twice about venturing to with just my backpack.
I have compiled a list of the top ten destinations recommended for solo female travellers, based on culture, shock factor, variety, personal experience and recommendations. These are also fantastic destinations for chaps too!
In fact all of the west coast of America including San Francisco, LA and Vegas. Seattle is popular with solo travellers because of the many tourist attractions which include the infamous space needle, Pike Place market, Ballard lochs, the great wheel and the many, many beautiful parks. It’s a fabulous city nestled next to incredibly beautiful forests, parks and ferry boats to take in the views.
2. New York City
New York, New York. What can I say? With Times Square, radio city hall, Madison square garden, shopping, theatres, sightseeing and architecture, Central Park and the Statue of Liberty, the city is your best friend when you are travelling there. You don’t need actual friends too.
3. Great Britan.
With places like London, the New Forest, Cornwall, Wales, the Peak and Lake districts, Scotland and Ireland, you don’t need travel companions, just a lot of time to see it all. Castles and countryside, cities and lakes.. We are a lovely welcoming bunch over here anyway, come and say hi!
Barcelona is one of my favourite European cities and I would travel months here by myself in a heartbeat. It’s got everything anybody could want in a city; charm, culture, impossibly beautiful buildings, a stunning beach, great nightlife, history and museums and a huge selection of music and food options.
5. Sri Lanka
A friend of mine lived in Sri Lanka for many months, volunteering in a turtle sanctuary. She loved it, felt very safe and made heaps of friends. Sri Lanka is beautiful, has loads of gorgeous beaches and bustling towns and the people are very welcoming.
Anyone who has been will know that Thailand is one of the friendliest and most welcoming countries in the world, not to mention luminous. It attracts backpackers from all over the world so you are sure to make friends to travel with. It’s vast landscape means much time can be spent city surfing or island hopping.
7. South America
This is very broad, I admit. But the countries recommended would be Peru (for Machu Picchu), Argentina and cross the border into Chile, Buenos Aires and Rio for the yearly famous carnival.
I had the most incredible experience of my life travelling Bali solo. It’s a magical place with beautiful people and indescribable landscapes. There is so much to see and do from white water rafting to cooking classes, riding a bike through Ubud, visiting markets or surfing.
Many Brits head over to Oz on a working visa and never return home. I can’t imagine why, with all of that sunshine, beer and beaches on offer.
10. New Zealand
National parks, waterfalls, movie sets. It’s one of the most ‘liveable’ places in the world and attracts backpackers worldwide.
I have just helped my sister out with a complicated flight itinerary through South East Asia. She had struggled speaking to many of the mainline travel agents who struggled with her flight requests and itinerary and took hours or days to get back to her.
Within ten minutes I had priced up her trip for her and found her ideal, cheap flights and saved her and her partner a total of almost £1000.
I am not good at much in life, but finding flights and tailoring holidays is something I do extremely well.
If you need any free advice on how to plan your next trip, I would be more than happy to help. Travel is life and I like helping people better their lives.
Leave a message below and I will get back to you ASAP.
As much as I adore travel involving aeroplanes and culture shocks, sometimes the most profound of new experiences can be very close to home. Please be warned, the content of this blog may be upsetting to some.
I live in England and work in central London (on the ambulances so we move around a lot).
On a quiet night shift I was near the west end in London and paid a visit to Great Ormond Street which houses, in my opinion, the greatest hospital in the world. Great Ormond Street Hospital, or GOSH, is a hospital dedicated to sick children, be it appointments, treating sick children or palliative care, they offer a wide service and are proud of the fact they are one of the best paediatric facilities in the entire world.
The hospital opened its doors back in 1852 with just ten beds and was the first of its kind in the UK. The building has witness surgical breakthroughs and much celebrity support over the decades. The staff are so incredible and dedicated in caring for our little ones. They must face heartbreak on a regular basis but power through to provide support to loved ones and save those that they can.
When I paid a visit recently, I specifically wanted to see the chapel as a friend had told me how wonderful it was. When I walked into the chapel, all of my hairs picked up on my newly formed goosebumps in reaction to how indescribably moving this place was. It was immaculately taken care of, clean, thoughtful. The most moving part was that the shelves surrounding the edges of the chapel were filled with soft toys. I can only assume that each toy was placed by a heartbroken family to represent the lost life of a little angel.
There was also a book where families had written down their prayers. I didn’t read them for two reasons, one – they were meant for God’s eyes, two – I knew the messages would make me fall apart.
Opposite to this there was a ‘thank you’ tree where families had written messages of thanks and hung them up.
It was one of the most emotional and moving experiences of my entire life. If you are ever in this hospital, please visit this chapel.
To make a one off or regular donation to this hospital which helps to fund equipment, accommodation for parents, refurbishment to increase patient capacity and support research into saving children’s lives, please click the following link;