The impact of travel

If it wasn’t for travel where would I be?

My friends and I at Innsbruck Zoo

I can’t even imagine the sort of person I’d be if I hadn’t studied in Austria, become close friends with other international students, one of which, over 10 years later is coming to visit me in my homeland on the other side of the world very soon!

Experiencing international cultures in a student environment, learning another language (even badly), finding ways of travelling Europe on the cheap as a student (good old days of cheap Ryan Air flights), feeling free like never before.

Dinner with the International Students - we made hamburgers and kiwi crumble...

Dinner with the International Students – we made hamburgers and kiwi crumble…

I can’t imagine the sort of person I’d be if I hadn’t moved to London. Freedom took a whole new level when I learnt I could travel almost anywhere.

I saved, I travelled, I experienced life in a whole new dimension.

I saw and found a whole new appreciation for wildlife in their natural habitat, roaming Africa wild and free. I lived an incredible lifestyle of musicals, galleries, brunches, high teas and travel throughout the world from my hub in London. I joined sports teams, made friends in every part of my life.

Daffodils in Putney, London, UK

hyde park

Birds in Hyde Park – walking through the parks always makes me happy in London

View over London from New Zealand House

View over London from New Zealand House

Then there was the level of solo travel I came to love. I left New Zealand for London alone and I’d leave the same way. Yet, different. Changed. I can’t quite put into words quite how changed, but I have a more humanistic and minimalistic outlook on life from the people and wildlife I have met along the way. I have appreciation for the small beauties of nature and opportunities I have.

Travel has fuelled my passion for photography. Capturing moments some people will never have the chance to experience and memories that I’ll cherish forever.

Silverback Gorilla

Silverback Gorilla, Rwanda, 2011

Gorilla in Rwanda

A baby gorilla in Rwanda

Gorillas grooming

Gorillas grooming in Rwanda

Stunning Oryx

Stunning Oryx

Breeding herd of elephants running

Breeding herd of elephants running, Etosha National Park

Baby Elephant from the breeding herd

Baby Elephant from the breeding herd, Etosha National Park

When I left London, I travelled more through parts of Africa and clockwise around South America and even into Central America. It was close to 8 months experiencing the trip of a lifetime, one certainly to remember…

Lion pack, Etosha National Park, Namibia

Lion pack, Etosha National Park, Namibia

Dune 45, Namibia

Dune 45, Namibia

Sunset over Spitzkoppe with the group

Sunset over Spitzkoppe with the group, Namibia

Zebra running into water, Etosha National Park, Namibia

Zebra running into water, Etosha National Park, Namibia

Me standing in front of Perito Moreno Glacier

Me standing in front of Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina

Southern Right Whale (head), Puerto Piramides

Southern Right Whale (head), Puerto Piramides, Argentina

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

Me on the boat in the Pampas, Bolivia

Me on the boat in the Pampas, Bolivia

Bird of Paradise, Pampas, Bolivia

Bird of Paradise, Pampas, Bolivia

Colca Canyon, Peru

Colca Canyon, Peru

View over Guatape region from La Piedra del Penol

View over Guatape region from La Piedra del Penol, Colombia

Colourful streets of Guatape, Colombia

Colourful streets of Guatape, Colombia

White headed Capuchin Monkeys in Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

White headed Capuchin Monkeys in Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica

Zip Lining, Santa Elena

Zip Lining, Santa Elena, Costa Rica

Sloth crossing the road

Sloth crossing the road, Costa Rica

Over the years, I’ve visited places I literally never imagined I’d want to. Bosnia and Herzegovina were a favourite of mine, yet 15 years ago I would have considered it a worn torn dangerous place. I’ve visited Egypt and Jordan, Russia and wandered the streets of La Paz, Bolivia. I’ve been thrown out of dodgy hostels in Peru, I’ve stood my ground with a dodgy boat driver in the Galapagos. I’ve struggled with languages and excelled at the global language of gestures (and no not in a dodgy way).

I’ve grown into a person I could never imagine, in a good way. I have travel to thank for that.

The old bridge in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The old bridge in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza, Cairo, Egypt

Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza, Cairo, Egypt

The Treasury, Petra, Jordan

The Treasury, Petra, Jordan

Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood, Russia, 2014

My travel personality is forever changing. From the timid days where I’d be nervous going somewhere on my own, to the days of yearning for somewhere new and different, days of volunteering with wild animals, to the days of sadness of wishing I could do something to help others less fortunate in other countries.

Budding photographer at Sadia Orphanage, Kenya

Budding photographer at Sadia Orphanage, Kenya

Waving on the roadside, Kenya

Waving on the roadside, Kenya

Elephant Cuddle, Nairobi Elephant Orphanage, Kenya

Sometimes we all just need a little elephant cuddle, Nairobi Elephant Orphanage, Kenya

There were days where I was over travel, days where I was run-down, sick and alone. So alone. Days I dreamed of being home and around all my loving family under one roof. Have conversations in the same room, laughing and enjoyed each others company after so many years apart. Hugging and truely appreciating one and another again.

These days my travel has turned closer to home mainly, due to my financial situation and New Zealand being so far away from most other countries (even Australia is still minimum 3 hours away).

I still dream of camping in Africa, sleeping under the stars in Spitzkoppe, being astounded by the sheer beauty of gorillas in Rwanda. I still love the memories of 1 Euro pasta nights in the Austrian student pub once a week, filled with smoke and German speakers.

I remember moments of appreciating natural beauty in nature as I gazed out over a lake and out into the snowy mountains high up in the Swiss Alps. I smile at the high tea, fantastic bloggers get-togethers and all the fantastic friends I made through my involvement in the London WordPress community. It almost brings a tear to my eye reminiscing those fabulous moments of joy.

A few of my friends from my leaving do in London

A few of my friends from my leaving do in London

Friends in Venice

Friends in Venice

An Australian, an Austrian, A Spaniard and Kiwi go to Norway in search of the Northern Lights…

My friend Egle and I in Florence

My friend Egle and I in Florence

Travel has had a tremendous impact on my life and shaping who I am as a person today. It will always be part of my life, even if it’s a road trip around the beaches, mountains and natural landscapes of New Zealand or weekend getaways to the snowy mountains with my snowboard.

Snowy roads driving to Whakapapa skifield, Mt. Ruapehu

Snowy roads driving to Whakapapa skifield, Mt. Ruapehu

View from Whakapapa skifield

View from Whakapapa skifield

This blog was inspired by the monthly bloggers linkup that I always enjoy get amongst.

How has travel impacted your life?

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