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When you imagine the freedom of travelling along gravel roads, through the mountains with only a backpack and an open mind – you are often left with an image of vast, green forests, misty rainbows and smiling faces not to dissimilar to a perfectly edited inspirational quote posted on instagram.

All of these, are certainly the scenes which make up a journey into the unknown, the mid-twenties ‘sabbatical’ where we have the opportunity to travel to new and alluring places in order to better understand ourselves and the great earth on which we live. When you read about how many others have been able to create a path for themselves, where they have broken off from the conventional 9-5 job and modern, urban life, it is understandable that we often think aspirationally of the life which could be.

Having made this move for the second, third, sixth or how ever many time, and had I been given a chance to go back and change anything, there is nothing different which I would have chosen otherwise. The perks and pleasures of freedom and a fulfilling life on the road has no comparison to anything else which I have had the opportunity to do thus far.

One part of travel, and the reason which it is such a fulfilling and wholesome endeavour for many, is the incredible lessons which we open ourselves to learning – through the wonderful, to the powerful, to the unconventional; to the just plain uncomfortable. It is vital to be ready and open to face these challenges and learn about yourself endlessly, in the ways in which you deal with them. Leaving home/ backpacking/ moving overseas, whatever the framework of ‘being away’ – packing it all up and riding the wave of freedom has as many downs as it does ups. That is okay though. That is one of the lessons. To be able to accept the good, the bad and the ugly all at the same time, helps us to approach our lives with the same courage and tenacity, however they unfold down the track.

Because, we essentially dedicate ourselves to celebrating the good, here is the bad (but not so the ugly). The hardest part of the reality of life on the road. And yeah, though this may suck, just a little, it is nothing compared the depth of life which it helps to build a foundation for. As we all know – without a little rain, there is no rainbow.

Saying your goodbyes

Adios! Adieu! Arrivederci!

For me, this was and always is the absolute hardest part.

Knowing that soon, you will be on that plane and not knowing when it will be that you will see you loved ones again, really pulls at the heart strings. When I left Australia recently, this was the big move. Having lived overseas and after bouts of being away for months on end, I hadn’t done the deed – the one where you leave your job and you say that you sadly won’t be coming back, when you tell your friends and you have to accept the fact that you will probably miss their engagement parties, their weddings and many birthday celebrations, when you finally have a farewell party and know that the goodbye at the end of the night, really is it for now.

When you have to say goodbye to all of your things when pack your rucksack and know that you can only take what will fit – but that will be your whole life, for the next who knows how long. Giving away clothes, packing away your favourite books and all of the journals, trinkets and sentimental bits and bobs that fill your life.

When you have to say goodbye to your beloved pet , finding them a new home because they just won’t fit in that rucksack. For me one of the hardest things was to say goodbye to the sweetest cat I have ever known, my kitty Noodle, who I’d had in my life for 6 amazing years, and had thankfully found an incredible new home for with a kind workmate and friend. Knowing that was the last chance I would have to pat her little furry face and hear her purr, was shattering.

Saying goodbye to my sister, her new husband, my cousins and the newest little addition to the family with his two year old sister, has been breathtakingly difficult to say the least. Missing their birthdays and our family hangouts really, really sucks.


Amongst the pain, know that, even at the most difficult of these times, you will see them again. One day. You will appreciate every single one more and more intensely. You will cherish every text message, every email and every photo. You will be so grateful, with the realisation that you have a new home on the road, but that you will always have a home with the people who you have back where you left off. You will meet new people and have more and more wonderful people who inspire you and to say goodbye to, but also to stay in touch with from the other side. Most importantly, that you CAN do it, you can deal with it- the pain, sadness and discomfort that comes with life so much more intensely in this situation. Because it is hard, but it is REAL, and that is what the lessons of the road are about. Finding the beauty in the everyday and being able to keep swimming even when it gets tough. This is the reality of our complex and beautiful lives.