Today’s guest post is brought to you by MilleGoes Travel.
My story began when I threw out the heels and swapped them for hiking boots. It was the day I stopped being scared of adventure and decided to let it happen, to finally take a risk and try my hand at backpacking. Naturally, for a girl who tottered around in the most impractical shoes and had her nails done every two weeks, it was going to be a fairly drastic change.
I had decided that when I finished my education, I would work hard, get a cracking job, be ever so successful and fabulous, get married, and continue down that usual road – just doing it better than everyone else. I trained as a PA and an Events Manager (can you yell “organised like hell” any louder?) and started working for a finishing school as a second PA events assistant and junior tutor.
When you’re training others on their image, you’ve got to be something they aspire to. The CEO of the company is a legend in this industry and was all I inspired to become one day. Classy, sophisticated, running a highly successful company, and networking with royals around the globe.
But then I fell in love. I was madly in love with a guy who would never love me back. We had met at school but he lived abroad and so we could only FaceTime, Viber and Skype to keep in contact. At 19 I was naive enough not to wonder why he had never invited me out to visit, and so I decided to make an excuse to get out and see him. I’d always wanted to try my hand at backpacking to see what all the fuss was about, and a great friend of mine was always raving about it.
I thought why not? Six weeks backpacking through Europe wasn’t going to kill me and I could get straight back to work afterwards once travelling was out my system.
I didn’t want to go on my own – after asking around, it was clear none of my friends could come along with me so I reached out to the Internet and found myself a travel buddy. I found a spunky American girl who was also looking for an adventure of a lifetime before getting back to “the real world.” Three weeks later we were both standing in Heathrow meeting each other for the first time, ready to hit London, and then head over to The Netherlands.
It became clear very fast to both of us that we were not going to be picture perfect each day while living out of a backpack. The makeup would need to go, our stylish clothes were just too uncomfortable for the long journeys, and my hair was just a lost cause in the summer heat of Europe. But it didn’t matter! Within two days, Wanderlust had found me and swept me up with the joy of adventure and a need to see more. We were already planning another adventure for next spring to Australia.
And then I got my heart broken. We were still on the road, and despite everything, the journey helped heal my broken heart. I ended up leaving broken parts behind, and then falling in love with new cities, new friends, and new experiences. Even if it was just that moment with the sun rising while walking back to the hostel over the Charles Bridge in Prague.
Those six weeks changed me for good. Money means nothing — it’s just a medium required to get to a new destination. That trip started a waterfall of adventures that I hope will never end.
I now dress for comfort, not style. I traded a suitcase for a backpack and an attitude for a life.
I’ve tackled raging rivers, plummeted from 13,000 feet out of a plane, navigated cave systems, hitchhiked down the Mekong River – the list goes on! If you get upset over a broken nail (like I used to) or are inclined to spend all your money pair of heels, I encourage you to try an adventure too. Get in touch. I would love to help you become a storyteller.
P.S. I still have one pair of drop dead gorgeous heels ready and waiting just in case. They just don’t ever reach my backpack.