Lesson 1. Happiness is a choice.
You may have been following my journey for awhile now, in which case this is probably something you already know, but for a large portion of my teenage years I struggled to see the light in the situation I’d found myself in. It wasn’t until one day I realised that I was only wasting the time I’d been given by beating myself up over something I had very little control over. So I simply decided to be happy. At first, it was an act, I was trying to have a go at finding the positive in everything, “fake a smile and move on”.
One day, I realised the smile wasn’t fake, I in fact was genuinely happy with the life I had. The situation I’d found myself in became something I was grateful for. From that point forward I made a promise to myself: I would never again let myself sit in a situation I am unhappy with, and on the flip side of that, every time I found myself in a situation that made me relentlessly happy I would make sure to do it as much and as often as I can. For me, travelling is one of those experiences that gives me that feeling. Aside from the fact that you get to explore the most beautiful places, I think travel pushes you outside of your comfort zone, making you better off for it, it allows you to step away from the routine you know and discover exactly the person you want to be. But my favourite part is that it shows you just how big the world really is and reminds us just how much we all have in common no matter what language we speak or what we look like.
By this point you’re probably thinking wow Jess, you’re making travel sound like a magic potion, but for me it is, and my god I am stupidly addicted.
Lesson 2. Life is short. (You’ve heard it before but it’s true)
After facing a large amount of trauma at a young age I learnt just how quickly life can be taken away from you. How you can wake up one day, running around without a care in the world and within a matter of seconds life as you know it completely changes, and without even realising, you’ve just taken the last steps you’ll take on the legs you were born with.
I’m grateful for a lot but one thing I’m truly grateful for is that I learnt this lesson so young. Sure, I might of experienced more of life with two legs, with more abilities had the same events taken place 20 or 30 years later, but would I have? Or would I have banked on the fact that I could buy myself the freedom to do it later. So, it’s this that has urged me to travel simply because I want to experience everything I can before it’s too late. You can never rely on “later” because sometimes later is too late.
That brings me to my next lesson…
Lesson 3. We can always make more money but we can’t make more time.
I umm’d and ahh’d as to whether that statement made me sound like an overly privileged young adult who had no concept of the value of money but I don’t think it does. What I learnt at an age far too young, and life has continued to show me ever since; is that our most precious commodity is time. Because at the end of the day when our time with life as we know it is coming to a close the only thing we will wish for is more time. Not more money, not more possessions, simply more time. Our only hope is to be satisfied with how we’ve spent the time we’ve had, to have no regrets and no wishes for extra time simply because we’ve done all the things we’d hope to and we’ve explored all the corners of the world that we dreamed of.
On that note however the fact of it is, travel can be expensive and money is the one thing that can hold us back so I thought I’d share with you my top travel hacks to help make the adventures happen:
1. Travel with others. Either existing friends or make new friends as you go (you never know who you are going to meet, in fact one of my best friends came about on a bus on the other side of the world), either way splitting costs will save you a lot of money.
2. Use discount codes everywhere you can. I’m going to be honest, I never used to do this, I would be like “meh, a $5 saving isn’t worth it”. It wasn’t until my first adventure that I realised just how helpful that $5 would’ve been later had I listened to my wise father and saved it. If you’re lucky, $5 could be a whole extra day of travel. My favourite travel website is booking.com because I’ve found they always have the best prices (not to mention, when you’re travelling to multiple locations on one trip it is so helpful to have all of your bookings in the same place). They also have a great Refer a Friend campaign at the moment where you receive $40 cash back with every $80+ booking which could be two days of travel or an amazing experience wherever your adventures take you, simply follow this link https://www.booking.com/s/a83d4ff2. So trust me on this one, take every discount code you can get.
3. Be tight with your budget leading up to your trip. I even gave up my daily coffee just to try save that little bit extra (if you’ve been following me for awhile you’ll know what a tough task that would be). I realised that my daily coffee added up to $35 a week. The best way for me to stick to my saving scheme is to do exactly that, figure out what my current indulges are costing me a week and see what I could live without, you’ll be surprised how much you can save by giving those up before your trip.
So remember this life is fleeting and the world is wide so jump on an airplane, take a huge dose of that stupidly addictive magical potion and fill yourself up with adventures.