Guys, I have got something to tell you thats kind of a big deal to me…
This is the first time in about 3 years I have actually stayed in one place for longer than like 7 months, actually bar university the longest time I spent in one place was 6 months!
My character and spirit is very much against the ‘typical’ ways of life, I hate the norm and what I hate even more is that we get told how to live our lives and what is socially acceptable “go to college, then go to university then you gotta get a full time job, make loadsa money, find a partner (or your life will suck alone) , buy a house, have babies, get married, be happy, agree with the political system and shut the fuck up. Ugh! Its so important to understand that its ok if you don’t want this and feel there is more out there for you coz… um… there is! However, some people are happy doing this and obviously thats amazing.
I haven’t really discussed my background and where I have been or gone so maybe its time I open up a little and share some of this with ya’ll.
Lets go way way back to a time when .. it was my dream to move to London for years and then I finally made it in to the London College of fashion (after 2 attempts) and oh my god it wasn’t what I first thought it would be – I hated it at first and cried everyday for three months! London is a big and scary place for a young girl yano. but then something clicked and I started to get into my groove and loved it. I stuck it out for 4 years which is probs one of my biggest achievements academically. After finishing uni I got a full time job and hated the daily boring grind of sitting behind a desk doing the same shitty thing every day. How people do this year after year is beyond me???
I was at a festival in Croatia and maybe I was a little merry, totally immersed in the current situation, having the time of my life but I decided screw this, I aint going back there and that was it, I never did. If I really don’t want to do something anymore and it makes me unhappy, I wont, end off. No matter what the consequences are – maybe a little silly but thats how I live my life
I then started looking at jobs in Spain, got an English teaching job and moved to Barcelona within 2 weeks. Being on that plane alone not knowing what is next for me was the most exhilarating, scariest feeling I have ever had and I love that feeling. I chase that feeling every day, we need that feeling to feel alive.
Barcelona still to this day has my heart, I get a warm fuzzy feeling when I think of the place. I managed to go back there last year with my boyf as he had never been and I just fell back in love. Sometimes, some places just grab you and take a hold of you and you feel at home yano.
Anyhow, after about 6 months, I was getting a little restless and wanted a new adventure. So I began the search to find a more crazy adventure. I got accepted for jobs in both Thailand and India. Thailand was cheaper at the time (even though I would of preferred to go to India) so I thought why not and there I was again, on my own on a plane to the unknown with no one there to reassure me. Just me and my backpack and alot of apprehension along with that funny feeling in my stomach I love so much when I know I am out there alone with not a clue of what to expect.
Right so Thailand was mental, like actually crazy such a culture shock. I lived in really rural small town in the north with a lovely Thai family and taught English in a school in the blazing hot heat with only a swirling fan to keep me cool. Most of the Thai people had not seen many white people before and when they saw me would shout “farang farang” which means white people ( I think).
The thai culture is very soft and the people are the loveliest I have come across. I did this for around 3 months then decided I wanted to just travel so I grabbed my backpack and got on a dodgy 16 hour coach from the north to Bangkok then another 8 hour coach to the island of Koh Chang – alone. This was maybe the most scared I have been in my whole life. Alone, in Asia, on an island staying in a mingin hostel trying to tell yourself its ok. and you know what – it was ok. This time I had by myself was the best of the whole trip, I met some amazing people that I traveled with and had the time of my life traveling around the islands. Basically what I am trying to say is, it might seem like the worst thing in the world at first, but give it time and be open minded and you never know, it could turn into the best period of you life!!!
After this I flew to Vietnam – wow what a place. I started in Hanoi which was just so loud and alot of pollution, these guys do not have road rules, not one bit, you have to be on your guard all the time. A whole street dedicated to BBQ Chicken called BBQ chicken street. You could get your BBQ chicken with a glass of beer for like 2 quid.One of the highlights was doing a night boat cruise around Halong Bay. I didn’t know what to expect really, it looked amazing on pictures but I was apprehensive it wouldn’t match up. I was so wrong like OH WOW this is truly one of the most visually breathtaking places I have been to e v e r. Pure magic and such an extraordinarily beautiful and peaceful surrounding to be in.
I then ventured north into the Sapa mountains and trekked with a few of the mountain villagers which was such a humbling experience to see the hard work that these people go through everyday. For groceries they have to trek for 4 hours to get down to Sapa central! However, you will never not see a huge grin on all of their faces.
From there I ventured to the old historic town of Hoi Ann. This place was so graceful and atmospheric, like they had fricken lanterns in the rivers, it felt super gothic and typical of what you imagine Vietnam to be like. Cute little sassy coffee places spotted everywhere with a uber cool relaxed attitude to life – my type of vibe.
My visa was about to expire so I managed to head to Ho Chi Minh City before the end of my trip (cry). Equally as mad as Hanoi but with more dazzle and bright lights, a real show off city if you get what I mean.
So I came back to the UK with a heavy heart, lived in Bristol for a few months then made my way back home .. to Manchester. I haven’t lived back in Manchester for around 5 years so it took a lot of getting used to but I know its not my long term plan.
So I decided to take a year, work and take some time to figure out my next move which is basically I needed to, I needed to find my balance for a sec and look inside to know what I want to do and where I want to go and save save save some pennies. My next move will be a big move so I want to be a little more stable in my finances. Australia is calling my name alot at the moment and I have heard alot of good things.
I will do a post on how I did these things, websites and tips and tricks for women wanting to do these things alone. I just hope that this post inspires someone, anyone with aspirations to just get out there and live the way they want to even if they are afraid – don’t settle for what is told us is right. Remember that life isn’t meant to be lived in one place, so go explore and be with the world
A good friend once said to me “Jess, you’re never alone, you’re just free” and I have to agree
X J X