HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I wanted to wait on this next instalment of my life lessons series because this week marks TEN years since I set out on this first solo adventure.
So where did we leave off? 12 life lessons later and you’d think we were done… but no! Alas, I would learn several more lessons before I left. Of course, there’s a story behind each one. So without further ado, let’s get into it.
Overall, there are two lessons that I continued to learn throughout my first solo adventure:
Lesson 13: Don’t let the mishaps shake your faith
There will always be people in the world looking to take advantage, and there will always be sketchy or less than ideal situations. But what I’ve learned is that I’m stronger, more resilient and more resourceful than I ever gave myself credit for; and that kind, generous people do exist.
I myself was lucky enough to encounter several. From friends that helped me to navigate the new education system I had been dropped into, to connections through friends and family back home that toured me around and showed me a good time. And if you are facing some less than ideal situations away from home, don’t forget that it’s a small world. Even if your closest family members are a 24+ hour flight away, somehow somebody will know someone that isn’t too far away to help.
Lesson 14: The misadventures make for the best stories
Obviously, I wouldn’t be writing this series if the stories weren’t any good! I have told these stories so many times in so many ways to dozens of people – to allow other women to know that solo travel isn’t so scary, to make fun of some of the silly decisions I’ve made, and so that other people can be more aware and learn from my mistakes.
So I’d replaced my passport, what happened next?
Lesson 15: Bad things can happen at home when you’re not there
Unfortunately, I learned this lesson around the time I was taking my midterms when my mom called to tell me my grandfather had passed away. Being a student abroad on loans and bursaries, there was no way I would be able to come home. So there I was, newly replaced passport and the perfect excuse to use it… unable to come home to be by my mother’s side as she said her final goodbyes to the man that raised her. Their relationship was strained and complicated, and I think that made me want to be home with her even more.
I wish I could say that I handled this in a particularly adult manner – seeking counsel from a professional at the university and making myself available to my family. The reality was more “21 year old girl walks into a bar…”
OK so the stress of midterms are over, and off I go venturing around Australia. Cairns, Brisbane, a road trip to Melbourne… I saw a lot of very cool things along the way. I worked hard, played hard and loved hard, and healed a broken heart. I met the best people along the way.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this series. I could probably go on forever about lessons learned while overseas, but these were the big ones from my first two locations on the first big trip. Many, MANY lessons learned through the course of one experience, but of all the lessons I’ve learned, the big one that stands out is that you can’t let all of these other lessons shake your faith. I did a lot of growing up during this trip, and it took all of the negative to necessitate the recovery. The bounce back. The resilience.
I encourage everyone to jump into a solo travel situation with open eyes, and an open heart. The lessons learned and earned are well worth it.