For three months this year I travelled around Brazil,
Colombia, Mexico, hopped into Belize for a few days and finished off with a
week-long road trip in California. During that time, I wrote almost every day.
I’ve never journaled before, but it was something that brought me a great deal of
satisfaction. To be able to write about such interesting things all the time (almost,
there were boring parts too) made me feel very lucky and appreciative of the
fact that I can travel so freely and see all of these wonders.
I decided, after writing enough of my musings to fill an entire novel, that it would be a waste not to do something with them! I found with most travel blogs I’ve seen, when researching previous trips, that things are made to seem picture perfect. Focus is almost entirely on the positives (understandably). However, from my experience of travel, things aren’t always perfect. Of course they’re not, this is still life! You still have the same anxieties and the same self-esteem issues. These can even be made worse at times as you’re thrown so forcefully out of your comfort zone. You live in countries with different values to you (this could be in relation to things like sexuality, gender roles, politics, wealth). You live in places with different levels of inequality and this can be challenging to see.
That’s not to say I have ever regretted a trip. Travel has
brought me no end of inspiration and insight. It has been an education. I’ve
gained a deeper understanding of the privilege that comes with being from a
country like the UK (my freedom and ability to travel being a big one). Travel
also gives you new social skills. Being thrown out of your comfort zone can be
hard but it forces you to act. You feel uncomfortable but you learn new ways to
communicate with people who don’t speak your language, or with people who have
totally different life experiences to you. Also, sometimes things go wrong!
Your valuables may be stolen, or your plans may be thrown off as you suffer
from a well-known traveller’s illness that means you have to stay within close
proximity of a toilet for a good few days…
Basically. It’s ok if the trip isn’t exceptional from start
to finish. That’s normal, that’s life. But rearing travel as some kind of
glorified holiday where you basically spend months in heaven is not so useful.
It can lead you to feel guilty when things go wrong. After all, all your
friends are at home doing the same old things.
Therefore my aim with this blog is to provide a fun and
balanced journal-style account of my three-month trip around Latin and Northern
America, minus the Instagram filter. I hope to provide travel tips about
getting around these countries that could help out future travellers, as well
as delving into the feminist, political and cultural contemplations I had along
the way. I also hope to talk about mental health and its relation to travel as
this was something that affected me at times. Most of all I want to talk about
the beautiful things I saw, the interesting places I visited, the many
inspiring people I met, (with some juicy bits thrown in).