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Indie Butterfly

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Do you even ‘Travel’ bro… or do you just live overseas?

It’s an odd moment when you realise that even though you’ve been away from home for months and months, you’ve barely travelled at all.

When you have personal issues in your life, escaping them just isn’t an option. No matter how far you run, be it Spain or Siberia, if the problems in your life are carried within you there’s no way of leaving them behind. Then you find yourself repeating the same old patterns over and over, running into the same old obstacles – in my case missing out on life the same way I always had.

I found myself living in London for 4 months and not seeing a single thing. Not saving to explore the amazing creative culture or ancient architecture, nor for trips across the pond to places I’d always wanted to see. Instead my focus became my work at Graphic, it became ambition based on validation, and I fell into the same behaviour I always had – try try try to impress, yet receive no return. Get depressed. Spend money stupidly on things to consume and fill the void that added no value to my life. Be alone, lonely, far too often. Crash. Continue reading “Do you even ‘Travel’ bro… or do you just live overseas?”

2014, Travel & Me – A ‘Not So Recap’ Recap

2014 was an odd year.

Even though I left home, spent time in 3 continents over 8 months, lived in a tree-house and almost died at least once, it didn’t feel that different…

Because I wasn’t.

Despite what the internet may tell you, travel is not magic. If you are sick, packing up and heading off to a Greek island will not cure you, neither will a working holiday in Thailand. If you have problems at home, travel isn’t going to resolve the tensions or financial woes. And if you’re hurting on the inside, if anything is wrong and needs fixing, the simple fact that you’ve gone travelling is not going to do a darn thing to fix that – it sucks, but the only person you can’t run away from is you.

Life has had it’s ups and downs, just like it does for everyone. Unfortunately, something in my personality made me take it personally. Depression, eating disorders, addictions – these are things I have been well acquainted with. Getting ‘better’ seems to have been slow progress with many setbacks, but becoming older, wiser (don’t look at me like that) and learning that with time comes healing has done amazing things to push progress ever onwards. You see, I think that’s one of the hardest parts of being young – we have yet to gain the assurance that time heals whatever is broken, whether it be the heart or mind.

2014 was a year of demolition, adventure, love, fear and joy. I found myself in the most beautiful places with the most sincere, authentic and happy people I could’ve hoped to have meet. I was blessed with support from my amazing family – whom I’m sure have turned completely grey- and love sent over 1000’s of miles from friends. I had a serendipitous swim with a turtle, danced by firelight to Turkish reggae and made a Pirate Bar my home. Yet I also wasted far too much – time, money, emotion. I found myself distracted and stressed, caught up in the old worries, the old insecurities and traps and triggers. I was lost and confused and found myself moving from one goal to the next… travel for years, be a writer, run a bar, make money… it led to an outpouring of anxiety in some unhealthy ways. There were times where I was so irresponsible that the simple fact I’m still around and typing this tells me that Someone is watching out for me big time.

2014 was a strenuous year. Physically I don’t think I’ve ever been injured as much by one place as that fucking Pirate Bar. Mentally put through my paces by bad personal experiences and arseholes who think it’s OK to push women around, being broke at least 4 times and and lost on the streets of London with no phone, keys or wallet- there were times where I felt the old crap sinking back into my brain, and even though I had the world to explore I spent entire days in bed. Because, well, I just felt trapped inside my own head. I spent NYE watching Glee, by myself. Yeah… I know.

But, you know what else? 

2014 was amazing.

I have never been able to see myself so clearly before – I’m an introspective person by nature, but the alone time I had over these last few months has been like a spotlight on my psyche. I got a chance to dig right down and take a long, hard, uncomfortable look at why it is I do what I do. Especially the past three weeks. Just prior to New Years I lost my job in Soho, and from then until now I’ve had all the time in the world to think. Yes, I have DEFINITELY done far too much of it, but when I’ve managed to focus on aspects that will help me understand myself and grow it’s been like finding a flowing river of gold where I thought a nugget of silver might be.

Travel helped with that.

As I said before, swooping off to a place far away isn’t a magical fix for life. But travel can definitely be the catalyst for many wonderful (even though sometimes painful) changes. The individuals you chat to on the bus from Ankara to Antalya, the Greek communities that embrace you, the times you were insanely happy and the days you were incredibly sad – combine this with the challenge of living with new cultures, unfamiliar customs and even new stereotypes and you really get to ask yourself, “Who am I, and WHY am I like this?” Maybe even more importantly, “Why do I think like this?” – or as I like to say, “WTF is my past making me do now?”.

So, what does 2015 bring?

Last year I answered a lot of those questions. Even though I’m certain to be in for a lifetime of self discovery, I feel as if I’m definitely, finally, on the right track… and rather far along. So even though travel by itself isn’t enough to fix your life, it certainly provides you with the some of the opportunities to do so yourself. And this year, with even more expeditions ahead, I simply cannot wait until I get my hands on them.

I say CHEERS! To 2014 – a year of intensity – and to 2015 – a year of transformation and adventure!

The Universe & Tough Love – Part 2

Alone. Surrounded by people but isolated by emotion and experience you can’t share. Held back by unfamiliarity and language. This is what it feels like to be hurting overseas. But it’s OK – like I said before, the Universe has your back.

You probably just read the first part of this story, in which I describe the intestine bursting force of the Universe sucker punching me in my ‘Happy Place’. If not, you should… go do it now, I’ll wait.

Ok then, let me continue. Continue reading “The Universe & Tough Love – Part 2”

The Universe & Tough Love- Part 1

Sometimes the Universe gives you a kick in the ass. A swift hard punt to the buttock area. And it can really hurt.

I was disciplined this way very recently. While living in Ye Olde Pirate Bar, I had been doing a lot of imagining. The owner had discussed bringing me back on next year as management, giving me the opportunity to help take it from a grotty party place full of intoxicated tourists to something fantastic. The vision was beautiful – a small luxury camping area, complete renovation of the facilities, increased focus on the restaurant and the start up of a water sport/free-diving retreat. I would be in charge of creating the website, planning the marketing strategy, and my ideas regarding design and management of the existing functions were to be considered and put into practice. What an opportunity at 23! With the promise of serious awesomeness in the near future I stayed in the isolated and dirty Pirate Bar for over a month, our business plans to be discussed on a staff cruise at the end of the season.

Well that bloody well didn’t happen.

In South Africa we have an expression – “Kak praat”.

Continue reading “The Universe & Tough Love- Part 1”

Travel, Luck and Growing Up – an Email

I’m sick. Again. I’m sad and useless and for the first time I’m regretting my decision to pack up and leave. I still KNOW it was the right decision, I just don’t FEEL like it anymore. I really wanted to post about the situation, so I decided to share an email exchange I had with one of my closest friends.

In the message the following quote replied to, my friend expressed her desire to join me, because she’s working so hard (which she most definitely is), and that I’m so ‘lucky’ to be travelling. In the email, she also described travelling and pursuing your dreams as “leaving growing up to the distant future”. Here was my response. Continue reading “Travel, Luck and Growing Up – an Email”

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