If you rewind a little, things were different. I was unhappy. I was suffering from anxiety which was crippling my life. I couldn't do anything without panicking, needing to think about and plan everything. I avoided doing things that I thought were too hard, too confusing, or were too challenging. It was also affecting my relationship, putting strain on my partner, who did nothing but support me, and making him unhappy. I let this control my life, I was miserable but I told myself I was happy.
And then I went to India and it changed my life.
I was pushed out of my comfort zone, thrown head first into the deep end, I was challenged, I was confronted with life and I realized I could swim. India helped me let go of my anxiety, learn to go with the flow, not to worry all of the time and to relax and have fun. I did things, instead of worrying that I couldn't do things and everything I did was amazing.
It changed the way that I think about money and how I define wealth. I used to get a kick out of buying things but now I value experiences. After traveling to a country where everything is cheaper, it's hard to come back and spend the way I was. I'm in no way saying that filling your wardrobe with clothes and shoes is the wrong way to spend money, it's just not right for me anymore.
Traveling has made me appreciate people, every nomad traveling the world, new mother hiding behind a colourful sari, and chai wallah trying to feed his family. I feel like I've become a more open person, a patient person, an understanding person. I've never been a social butterfly, and before I travelled I worried that people didn't like me, that they were pretending to be my friend but found me weird. Now I'm confident in the person that I am.
It made me brave, and confident in myself. I can walk into a train station and buy a ticket to a town whose name I can't pronounce. I can find the right bus in a chaotic Indian bus station. I can bargain for a room, a bracelet, a wall hanging. I can fly halfway around the world by myself.
I’ve been bitten by the travel bug and said yes to an amazing opportunity that led me to New York City for three months and the chance the explore the world for the next eighteen months. So far, I’m loving every minute of it.