Sometimes I feel like challenge should be my middle name. That or unlucky.
This month’s travel blog linkup is all about challenges and while I don’t want to jinx my upcoming trip to Borneo I thought I’d open up and be honest with my top 3 travel challenges (rather than writing a book on the topic).
Getting sick and injured while travelling
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right?
The key here is having decent travel insurance for the countries you’re travelling to. I’ve ended up in hospitals in Thailand, America, Ecuador and Colombia, all while travelling solo. Some were more serious than others and often than not I was admitted and ended up on IV fluids at a minimum.
I’m a super careful traveller (believe it or not), bottled water to brush my teeth even. But what it comes down to, is that sometimes shit happens and you just have to deal with it. I’ve learnt if things aren’t better or improving overnight chances are they won’t so its better to just get medical help.
It’s bloody scary when you don’t speak the language and can’t find an international hospital and have to attempt to communicate your symptoms to get proper help. When I’ve been on my own there’s been the odd occasion where I was able to get a local who spoke both English and the local language to translate, it cost me a few meals and a great deal of thanks, but helped put my mind at ease compared to the times where I had no local assistance.
I’ve had insurance providers refuse to pay for treatment abroad and advise I fly home, but when it wasn’t live and death, just discomfort (sea urchin spikes in foot) I told them to get lost and I’d finish my trip. So you don’t always have to listen to people, but need to remember if you don’t follow their advice and things get worse they may not cover you.
Leaving the comfort of what I knew to move alone to the other side of the world with no job, no friends and no long term accomodation
This was definitely a challenge when I left New Zealand to move to London. There were plenty of times where it frustrated me, as I’m sure it does for any expat moving abroad for the first time.
In 6 months I think I’d moved about 4-5 times before finding somewhere semi-comfortable. It took me about 6 weeks to find my first contracting job in the graphic/web design field, because I had no contacts (when friends moved to London it was a lot quicker for them with my contacts). It probably took me about 2 years before I started feeling like I had friends and had made a life for myself.
And yet it ended all too quickly.
For all the trials and tribulations of my time in London I felt free in many ways. Freedom isn’t something to take for granted. Travel was usually monthly and when I wasn’t travelling abroad I was bopping around London and the UK in my spare time. I’d joined sports teams and made fantastic friends through my co-working space and blogging network.
5 years on and it was time to move on to the next life changing challenge…
Leaving London and moving back to New Zealand
Some may read this and wonder what the challenge was in this. It’s a hard one to describe and probably more of a mental one than my last big move.
Yes, I had to find somewhere to live and a job, but more than that I had to find a new life and way of living again after spending most of my adult life abroad in London and travelling.
I’d done a big 8 month backpacking stint travelling and volunteering through Africa, South and Central America and a bit of North America. Now it was time to start the next stage of my life.
The job and flat thing sorted itself out, granted things were different, the job opportunities weren’t what they were in the UK and the future of house buying was just as scary as London. But I made it work.
Coming back to NZ alone I found it was the relationships, friendships, support networks that I’ve found difficult to regain and create. People do and don’t change and that takes quite a bit to get your head around when you return to your homeland. I’m still working on this aspect 3 years later…
I’ve think I’ve probably changed a great deal over the last 10 years, since I left NZ, studied in Austria, lived in the UK and travelled the world, returned to my homeland, experienced the death of one of the most important people in my life and more recently brought my own home. All these things tweaked my life in different ways. Changed how I look at the world, life and the people around me.
The last 3 years since I returned to NZ have been be the most challenging in my life so far and sadly I know they won’t be the last. I think challenges teach you something, help you grow and can sometimes improve your life. I’ve learnt sometimes challenges are worth considering in more detail than jumping head first and they also aren’t something to discount immediately.
What are your biggest travel challenges?
This is amazing! I must say moving from New Zealand to London is very brave!!
Ahhh enough Kiwis do it, felt like a big deal at the time though!
You’ve taken some big steps in your travel journey.
Thanks I guess looking back I have, doesn’t seem so at the time though!
wow, you’ve traveled to amazing places that too solo. you inspire me.
Aww cheers it’s not always east by any means!
I can identify with all of what you are saying…and moving countries is very brave! Especially when you have changed because of all your experiences but everything else stays the same… #travellinkup
Challenges, being unlucky, is also a bit lucky too no? Lucky to have travelled, to have faced your fears, to have survived and overcome. I bet today, no challenge is too big for you, and that’s all thanks to these experiences! (Yes, I’m a glass half-full person :P)
What a great attitude! So true!
You have faced some really big challenges!
Yer sometimes it’s felt that way, but there’s good and bad that comes out of everything
Your photos are stunning! Really enjoyed reading about your amazing journey
Yep – I think you’re right – (travel) challenge is your middle name!
Haha thanks… I think!
Excellent post! As a full-time traveler, I feel so fortunate that I am sometimes afraid to complain about the hard parts. But there ARE hard parts. I haven’t been injured yet (thank goodness), but at least once per location, I have to spend almost an entire day trying to fix things (internet doesn’t work, kitchen wasn’t as promised, bathroom has a giant spider in it, etc)
Ahh it’s all part of the experience right?!
Biggest travel Challenge? Does picking my next destination count? Or explaining to your work colleagues for the umpteenth time that you are not going out with them for happy hour because you are saving up for a year of traveling…
Seriously though, I don’t know what travel challenges I would post about if I ever were to write a post similar to yours here… I tend to always see the bright side of things. I guess the biggest travel challenge was making the decision to go on that first long solo trip 7 years ago.