I was truly nomadic for more than seven years travelling solo with nothing more than a backpack and with no home and very few possessions to fall back onto. Since I set out in 2013, the focus of my work has switched from travel blogging and writing to online coaching and running workshops and retreats; however both are inexplicably linked for me. Travel helped me to ‘find myself’ following an extreme sadness in my life and it helped me to rebuild my self-belief.
My passion to help others in my role of online life coach has grown but travel and writing about travel feeds my soul. This is why I make no excuses for combining the two activities in this one website. It may be unorthodox but this site serves a dual purpose; whether you want information about destinations and cultures or help and support with bringing your life back into balance again.
I have even combined travel with coaching and several clients have joined me on a trip; either because they were nervous about solo travel but they wanted to experience backpacking, or because they wanted some intensive coaching along the way. More recently I have started to put down some roots but loathe to ‘let go’ of my face to face interactions with people I have been running workshops and retreats in Spain.
This section contains a collection of personal stories which will entertain you or which might even encourage you to pick up your own backpack and travel, plus it contains itineraries for places that you might visit yourself one day.
I can talk for hours about the highs and lows of backpacking and why you should stay in a hostel. Browse around this site to find out more about specific accommodation, my experiences on the road, travel and destination suggestions or my advice about travel gear that you should pack.
There are many reports in the media which contain dire warnings about the dangers and the hazards which are lurking out there for every traveller, but if you insert the word ‘unwary’ into that sentence, then things immediately become less scary. The dangers are greater for every unwary traveller – but with a little bit of common sense and some advance planning you can set out with confidence.
I began by spending a year in South America where my intention was to ‘tick off’ the majority of countries on the continent; however I hadn’t expected to get stuck in Colombia for six months. Since then, my travel style changed and I had very few expectations when I travelled. I would take each week as it came, setting out with a loose route and itinerary but remaining open to change. I thrived on the variety and the uncertainty which comes with sleeping in a mixed dormitory or sharing a cab with a group of travellers to a local beauty spot that only the local people know about, and I have to admit, that whilst I am very happy and I am settling into becoming a part of a small Catalan community, this variety is something that I could very easily miss.
Since I first read Paddington Bear as a small child I had a yearning to see ‘..deepest, darkest Peru’ for myself. And I made it there. I saw Machu Picchu as the sun rose above the mountains and I trekked and canoed into the Amazon (from Ecuador). I loved the frozen wild beauty of the Baltic States at the tail-end of the winter and I adored the vibrancy and timeless charm of the Catalan villages.
But the important message to take away with you is that you don’t have to travel to the other side of the world to feel fulfilled or full. You can explore the parts of your home town that you have never bothered to visit before, or you can go and check out that new museum or art gallery. I have spent lovely days exploring new parts of the UK and reacquainting myself with my childhood haunts and now I am replicating this in Spain. And I try to bring these places alive for you, painting a picture in my articles and telling you the stories about the people that I meet.
In my opinion, the best way to learn about a place is to immerse yourself in it, wandering the streets slowly, sitting with a coffee and watching the inhabitants go about their day to day business. Take a local bus and shop at the street markets. Observe without judgement and enjoy the difference and diversity. As a Mindfulness practitioner and life coach it now becomes obvious to me that I have always travelled mindfully….and I have replicated this into my slightly more static life at this point in time. Looking at my immediate surroundings with a ‘Beginner’s Mind’, living in the moment, dropping attachment and expectations (this is not the same as not setting out goals and plans) and using a mixture of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Mindfulness to have an almost total awareness of my belief systems and my emotions and I feel almost as free as when I was on the road with no responsibilities.
An open minded attitude can make the world seem so much bigger….which in turn can put your problems into perspective and make them easier to cope with, but that also works when you are working in your home town and the weather could be better.
If you are at a crossroads in your life, go for it. Take the leap and head off to a hostel or do some volunteer work. If you are not in a position to sell up and go then change your mindset where you are right now. And if things go wrong? Well, now you are having an adventure!
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