Where My Desire To Travel Comes From

One of the stories my mum likes to recount about toddler me, is when I was 2 years old, she was pregnant with my sister, and her best friend's husband was at our house. I asked him if I could go back with him to visit his daughters, who I grew up with as more like family. He agreed, and my mum packed little me an overnight bag, fully expecting him to have to turn around on the M1, as I realised I was leaving my parents and going half an hour up away from them. Instead, I sang him nursery rhymes the whole way, and was picked up the next morning by my dad.

For me, this story has always epitomised my personality. I will still sing songs on road trips, but more importantly, I've never been afraid to leave home. I was always the child who ran happily into playschool to meet their friends, I never worried about school trips away from home, when I was 18, I left my small-town Dorset life behind to move to Italy, where I had no friends, no family, and no knowledge of the language. The next stage in this side of me, was my decision to quit my London job so I could go and see more of the world. And the truth is, nobody was that surprised. In fact, most of my friends were more surprised at my ambition to get a London job in the first place.

To be completely honest, I don't know where my sense of adventure comes from. I'm quite systematic. I love lists, and I've never really been a wild child by any stretch of the imagination. But somewhere, I developed this desire to see more of the world, get out there and do things hard to do, and go to places difficult to get to. It's a desire that couldn't even be suppressed by the knowledge of 'making it' in the traditional sense, post-university. Getting an adult job in an area you're passionate about, is the hardest step after university, and I walked into it. But it wasn't enough. And here I am.

I think part of my desire to travel has actually grown from my practical approach to life rather than it being a preventative. I've always been very aware that there's more out there, I've always been stimulated by the idea of going to see what else is on offer, rather than just settling for the bare minimum. And instead of wanting to explore through holidays, I've always wanted to experience it for myself, rather than taking anyone's words for it. I have jobs in Australia and Thailand of 6+ months lined up, and I've lived in Italy and France, all of it off my own back.

Another area, sombre as this may be, is that I have a big, fat, giant phobia of death. Something I've had my whole life. Why? I don't know. Even typing about it makes my head and body ache. Just the thought process of not being here anymore, really freaks me out. But I think this fear has actually inspired me to do as much as I possibly can. Yes, I am terrified of dying, but if I'm going to die, I'd rather it be as I jump out of a plane than as I cross the road during my daily commute to my 9-5 office job.

Maybe another part of me wants to travel because, to be honest, the world is in a pretty terrible way at the moment. The icecaps are melting, Donald Trump is President, and the should-be unity of the earth is becoming more fragmented by the day. So it's possible a part of my desire to go and explore comes from this knowledge, and wanting to go before it's too late.

Travelling isn't for everyone. And sometimes I wish I'd wanted to grow up to be a Doctor, or a Lawyer. But then I land in a new place, and meet new people, and realise this is exactly where I want to be.

Love, Alice x

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