Featured

#4: To Travel, Set Goals.

 
photo of woman walking on seashore
Photo by Darya Chervatyuk on Pexels.com

This week marked the end of my exams! I’ll be honest, it’s been a long time coming. And yet, the last few days have been OK – they haven’t been euphoric. No, they haven’t been constant celebration and no, I haven’t actually felt much more free than I felt with my head in a textbook.

Suddenly exams come to a halt and so does revision and, if you’re not careful, goals.

It’s made me realise the importance of continuously having goals. That’s not to say we should go overkill and each week bury ourselves under the weight of a strict deadline – I’ve had my fair share of those during exam season and need some down time – but having something to work towards every day is invaluable. Have nothing to aim for and it’s natural that you’re probably going to default into couch potato mode if you’re anything like me.

You have to find a middle-ground.

It’s a little surreal to me that I’m now on my gap year. I suppose I had specific hopes for the person I would have become by now and for how I would feel upon starting my gap year, but I don’t precisely fit that mould of expectations as of yet.

I no longer have the same 5- or 10-year life plan I dreamt up when I was 16 – in fact, I no longer really have one at all. I have been setting myself some goals, such as figuring out travel plans, completing an online short-course in biochemistry and getting my Italian up to scratch, but the issue is that I need a bigger purpose behind such goals. I feel the need for a destination; an ultimate dream towards which these smaller goals will pose promisingly as stepping stones.

Take the plunge or build your confidence.

There are two ways to achieve goals that your comfort zone hasn’t yet expanded to. Imagine a scenario where there are two different people wanting to try solo travel, but whose fear has startled them and almost stopped them in their tracks. One person decides they need to stop overthinking and over-planning and books their flight to SE Asia before they change their mind. The other decides to do it in small steps: firstly travelling with someone else and tagging a couple days of solo travel onto the end of it, and then solo travelling to a couples of cities not too far from them for long weekends, before they take that step to travel solo to SE Asia.

They both got to where they wanted in the end and they both achieved their goal.

The difference is that the first person took one giant leap of faith, far out of their comfort zone. Perhaps this caused them a lot of anxiousness at first until they naturally adapted to the solo travel lifestyle, but because they had managed to muster up sufficient courage, they achieved their goal fast and with minimal hesitation.

The second person took a number of more manageable steps first, stretching & growing their comfort zone with each one, so that once the time came to jet off on the big solo trip, though still nerve-wracking, it was not miles out of their comfort zone like it would have been initially, so appeared less daunting.

So it won’t really matter if we step or if we leap; the key is that we don’t allow ourselves to get paralysed by the fear. Instead, we acknowledge the fear and move forward despite it.

GO THE GLOBE
Featured

#3: Most Unique Bucket List Destinations

Over the last few weeks, I found myself compiling yet another list on the Notes app of my phone; welcome to my ‘bucket list destinations’.

In fact, my goal is to squeeze all 25 places into the next 10 years of my life. (You can tell I’m an optimist.) So here’s a selection of 5 of the destinations – of which I’d be ecstatic to even just cross one or two off my list – that I hope to visit before turning 30.

.

Laos, South-East Asia

1. Laos: Less crowded than its neighbours (Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam…), it boasts just as much natural beauty. It has numerous temples and the Vieng Xai caves to see, as well as zip-lining, night markets and the tumbling turquoise Tat Kuang Si waterfall. Added bonus: everyone comes back professing how the Laotians are the friendliest people on the planet.

.

Kiev, Ukraine

2. Ukraine: Differently to the rest of my heritage, although I know I am Ukrainian, I wouldn’t be able to tell you whether I feel such. Despite this – or maybe in spite of it – I have always felt a pull to that country, like a young puppy on a lead, so nothing would intrigue me more than to finally set off in the direction of Kiev, Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk. The latter was in fact awarded the 2018 PACE prize for the city most actively promoting the European ideal.

.

Melbourne, Australia

3. Australian east coast: Sydney is the second-furthest major city in the world from where I live in the UK. But why is it that I’d want to visit this coast even if it was only a 10-minute drive away? Cue the largest coral system in the world, mountains that see more snow annually than the Swiss Alps, top-notch Greek cuisine (as Melbourne’s home to the largest Greek population outside Greece itself) and dolphin-, whale- and penguin-watching in their natural habitats.

.

Belém, Portugal

4. Iberian peninsula: I was lucky enough to stay with a host family in Madrid when I was just 13, but Spain is so diverse that people can’t stop going back for more. Valencia, Barcelona and Girona have definitely caught my eye for future adventures. As for the other half of the Iberian peninsula, I plan to InterRail my way though Portugal in the near future and one day go to the beautiful Azores. Despite not even having visited yet, I think Lisbon will be one of the two cities (the second being lovely Copenhagen) where I would love to live for an extended period. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet.

.

Cappadocia, Turkey

5. Turkey: Istanbul is a striking city, home to the cathedral-turned-mosque-turned-museum Hagia Sophia and to the internationally significant Bosphorus strait where Europe meets Asia. Izmir is the 3rd-largest city in the country; a slow-paced one with ancient ruins that will instantly take you back in time. There is one last place I’d love to go to in Turkey: if you’ve ever seen a picture of a breathtaking landscape dotted generously with hot air balloons, chances are it was Cappadocia.

.

Which places are on your bucket list? Will any of the above be making their way onto yours?

GO THE GLOBE

.

NB: All photos in this post are from free, non-copyrighted sources.

#1: The Journey Begins Here…

Currently with no idea what the upcoming couple of years of my life have in store for me, welcome to my gap year!

We have nothing to lose and a world to see. – Unknown

For the last couple of years, my mind’s been in wanderlust mode. It’s been generating countless ideas for me – some pretty modest, some daunting and some just ridiculous. Having thought up, bottled up and saved for later each one of those dreams, this next year (or more) of my life is dedicated to finally making them happen.

My readers are going to get the chance to live these adventures alongside me as I provide you with my experiences, clue you up on the do’s and don’ts in different countries and let you in on what the guidebooks don’t tell you – all while keeping your bank account happy.

There are a couple of things set on the agenda so far: another trip to Paris (expect tips on how to explore it like a local), an Italian summer getaway and then maybe further afield…

I cannot wait to get started and help you make the absolute most out of your ventures too.

GO THE GLOBE

post