Being that it’s International Women’s Day, it seems like a perfect time to discuss how wonderful we all are, yes…really!
We all know a fearless female, the kind who says yes to everything like a bad ass, quits their jobs to travel, pitches a tent in a strange country and comes home with loads of new friends and tales to match the adventures. Or maybe it’s the kind who can hold their own in a huge boardroom presentation with CEOs, stand up for what they want when it’s not the norm and swim upstream in life when everyone says it can’t be done.
Such women exist in my life and I am very lucky to count these extraordinary females as friends, because of them I’ve started saying yes to things like camping on a island in Budapest (for 8 days – mad but brilliant!), learning to rock climb, getting back into yoga and most importantly firing up my love of travel.
It was a love of mine already, but albeit a dormant one and not fully fledged addiction. Too many years were spent working, not balancing life (my poor friends, they were rather neglected) and never experiencing what it was truly like to travel alone. I mean, sure, there are plenty of times I have hopped on a plane alone to fly to New York (business class once as well, so I’ve had the posh experiences), Paris or Barcelona but there was someone waiting for me, friend or colleagues, at the other end. I’m talking about really travelling alone – putting on a backpack, going where you know no-one. Never did those.
Now here I am at the age of 35, just beginning. Why? Because these awesome women are doing it all around me and it makes them so happy, so switched on, more confident and with these beautiful qualities that come from pitching up somewhere new, half way across the world comes the ability to really figure out who you are. I want some of that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not having a pre-mid-life crisis, but my ‘sensible’ years aren’t too far off where I might meet some lovely man (aka fool) who wants to marry me and start popping out babies. I’m not sure if that’s my future, but if it is, then now more than ever it’s time for me to do what I want to do, unattached and (sort of) carefree for now.
My situation also meant that it’s become a case of – travel solo, or not at all, as my nearest and dearest are doing serious life things and often can’t take trips at the same time as me for so many reasons – money, no leave to take, self employed, saving for the wedding, house, babies or the one holiday they get to take with their partner. All perfectly understandable.
I am not going to do anything wildly exciting like quit my job and take off, I like it too much and hello….I don’t have a fat savings account, after all, I am a Londoner paying rent and all the other eye watering costs that make up affording to live in one of the best cities in the world. What I can do is easy – save money (which I’m getting so good at, I kinda want to high five myself!), use my annual leave smartly and travel off season, buy flights when they are cheap and see the world bit by bit, coming back to reality in-between.
I’m taking off soon for my first proper solo adventure, 16 days roaming around Bali alone and I absolutely cannot wait. Yes, I’ve got a healthy amount of nerves about it, no…. I haven’t told my mother yet (maybe the day before?!), but above all I love knowing I’m pushing myself all the way across the world, way out of my comfort zone and it will change me – a little, or a lot.
The women around me are well versed in travelling solo and they have it down as an art form, all I want is to take a little of that fearlessness and explore, see the world and carve memories into my soul. Being female should never mean you’re too afraid to travel alone, take it from my friends, make plans and be safe, but go…its worth every second.
Happy International Women’s Day, you incredible human beings!
*Thank you to the beautiful spirit, force of nature and friend of mine Clarinda, who’s warrior-like image is on the cover of this blog (Thanks for letting me shoot you!)*