I truly believe that travel is the only thing you can spend money on that will make you richer. So in the run up to my adventure in Bali my passport and my plane ticket were my most valuable possessions.
Before my journey Cathay Pacific asked me to write about what living life ‘well travelled’ meant to me. Initially I questioned whether I had the authority to write about such a meaningful topic; I’m only 21 and there are lots of countries, as well as whole continents, that I haven’t been to yet. Then, a week later, as I chatted to my friend over a cup of coffee she pointed out that it wasn’t just my blog that had given me the opportunity to travel more, but a change in my outlook on life. Now that I think about it more I suppose she’s right. The past year has been a time of change for me, so the story of how I try to live life well travelled is really quite a personal one…
Just over a year ago my brother, Tom, was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma – a rare bone cancer. This sudden life changing event inspired me to live more in the moment, travel whenever I can & make writing my personal therapy. Before then I had been mostly concerned with doing what I could to get a good university degree and follow a respectable career path. Now I realise that life isn’t as simple as ticking things off a ‘life plan list’ so I take things a day at time, trying to avoid falling into a routine and embracing challenge wherever I can.
This doesn’t mean to say that I’ve dropped out of university and go bungee jumping every weekend! But I do try to live more in the moment and take time to appreciate the wonderful everyday things that make my life so magical. I can honestly say that, despite how hard this year has been, adjusting my outlook of the world has made me a happier person. When Tom got ill I could have got angry and obsessed over how cruel the world is, but instead I’ve tried to let it remind me how special life is. One quote that has stuck with me through everything is, ‘I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become’ – Carl Jung.
One of the most important changes I tried to make to my life was to choose travel over material things. By collecting moments (and memories) instead of things I’ve tried to enrich my life with travel and give it greater meaning. I know that I can’t buy happiness, but I can buy a plane ticket…. and that’s pretty close.
When The Four Seasons invited me to visit their resorts in Bali, the old me had a list of reasons why I shouldn’t go: ‘I have too much work’, ‘I should be at home’, and ‘it’s so far away’. Swatting these worries away I replaced the fear of the unknown with curiosity and started planning my adventure. I stayed in five fabulous hotels: Kayumanis, Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay, Four Seasons Sayan, Tugu Hotel & Villa Sungai where I had the opportunity to explore the different landscapes of the island. From tropical jungles and lush rice paddies to exotic beaches and bustling cities – Bali was beautiful.
My trip to Bali was full of firsts for me. As well as it being my first trip to Asia I didn’t turn down a single opportunity. I went surfing, tried anti-gravity yoga, visited a rice paddy, ate Indonesian cuisine, watched the sunset over Balinese beaches and had a first kiss in the waves of the ocean.
Travelling helped awaken an enthusiasm for life in me and released my expectations of there being a ‘right path’ to follow after university. I want to live these principles not just while travelling but at home too – especially in my working life now that I’m about to graduate. So here is what travelling helped me understand about how I should live life well travelled:
- Wherever I am, be all there. By practising yoga, meditation and treating myself to digital detoxes in Bali I learnt that wherever I am, I can be ‘all there’.
- Never give up being creative. When I was a child drawing and painting made hours pass like minutes but as I’ve got older I’ve deferred too many of my creative pursuits. Days packed with writing and photography in Bali reminded me to do more of what I love.
- A beautiful day starts with a beautiful mindset. Each morning in Bali I opened the curtains and was in awe of the view. Now that I’m at home I’m still trying to take a second to remind myself how wonderful the world is. The moment I started acting like life is a blessing it started to feel like one.
- Negativity is a choice. Being far away from home made me realise that by keeping in contact with certain people I was letting un-necessary negativity into my life. Rachel Wolchin wrote that you should “surround yourself with people that reflect who you want to be and how you want to feel, energies are contagious” and it’s so true. I know now that a negative mindset will never achieve a positive outcome so I blocked the number of my toxic ex and stopped engaging with emotionally draining peers.
- Happiness is about living in the moment. This is ultimately what the mindfulness movement is about. A lot of the things I stress about come from analysing the past and planning the future. Being away from my everyday routine in Bali taught me to train my mind to think in the present.
Whatever living life well travelled means to you, just remember – don’t wait! Life goes faster than you think.
Cathay Pacific try to make the experience of travelling something special because they believe that when you travel well, your trip can become more memorable and more meaningful. I would like to thank them for making my trip to Bali possible. You can read more about my adventures in Bali here and my flight experience here. I hope you enjoy this photo diary of my favourite moments from Bali…