A sojourn into the soul: what no one tells you about long-term travel

Last autumn, before I left for my trip, my heart felt so full of joy that I thought it might burst. Like a stuffed piƱata, it was swelling and spinning, and I wanted to spread handfuls of its neon, glittering confetti-filling around. Because everyone should get to feel like that.

I hadn't even boarded the plane, yet I already felt like a success. That's the thing about following your heart: once you give yourself permission to stop getting in your own way, each tiny step that you take in the direction of your dreams feels like a monumental achievement.

Morning hikes and mountain dogs in Ella, Sri Lanka

Invigorated, energised, and lit up from within, you become an unstoppable force. New ideas, new perspectives, and new connections stick to you like glue. You’re a snowball of energy, gaining size and momentum with each fresh stride forwards.

Everything in your life takes on a new, richer, silkier quality. Colours look brighter. Sounds feel fuller. Smells seem sweeter.

And as I prepared to set off on my journey into the unknown, I couldn't help but feel that it was the start of an epic love story. But instead of a tale about a boy and a girl, it was about a girl and the world. And this was one romance that I was sure wasn't about to fizzle out anytime soon.

But to say it wasn't a rocky relationship would be a lie. The truth is, my five months in Asia were nothing like I thought they'd be.


It's time for change: why I've quit my life to travel

I’ll never forget the first moment that I realised something in my life needed to change.

I was in New York City with my childhood best friend. It was a whirlwind of sight-seeing, basketball game-watching, fried food-eating, fancy dress-partying, swanky restaurant-dining, leafy park-strolling, and so-bad-they’re-good Halloween decoration-viewing.

One evening, as we sat sipping on our elaborately named and overpriced cocktails in a dimly-lit basement bar, I found myself admitting loudly over the thump-thwack of the music: “When I’m home, I’m not ever really living.”


When you wish things were different: the truth about breakup regret

As the days after my breakup turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months and the months turned into years, slowly, the veil of pain began to lift, exposing and unraveling an intricate web of self-spun stories that had me looking at my breakup in an entirely new light.

But hindsight is a double-edged sword. Because when you can see so clearly where and why it all went wrong, you can't help but wish that you could go back and do things differently. And when you're gifted with a fresh perspective on love and life and yourself, you can't help but wish that you could propel forwards and fix things.

So when my ex's profile came up on a dating app like an itch begging to be scratched, I caved. With one exquisite scrape of a nail, I broke the skin, and my 10-month stretch of no contact.

I'd be lying if I said that there wasn’t some sort of sick and twisted pleasure to be found in watching the blood of a thousand long-buried memories pour from my freshly re-opened wound. But if there’s one thing that seeing my ex again showed me, it’s that things aren’t - and never will be - different.