As I said in my “about me” section, I have been fortunate enough in the past to have spent over two years travelling around various corners of the globe. My first trip when I was 21 years old was with my now husband David, straight after university. This very much stuck to the backpacker trail in Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Malaysia and we had a ball. It was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime but after 3 years of being back in the UK off we went again. I went out 6 months earlier than David with my friend Clare and did a 12 months occupational therapy contract in QE Health, Wellness Hospital in Rotarua, New Zealand. Obviously Clare and I managed to spend time in Borneo and Australia on route. It would have been rude not too!
In an old car called Hank the Tank purchased for £50 and a tent donated by my friend Hayley, David and I then spent 3 amazing months driving around everywhere we possibly could in New Zealand. We generally camped on DOC (department of conservation) campsites for a minimal amount per night and stripped life right back down to its simplest form. Pure heaven!! We cooked on a camp stove every day, fell asleep looking at the stars every night and fully immersed ourselves in the beauty of New Zealand, swimming in lakes and rivers, climbing mountains and trying new things.
This was followed by 6 weeks in a campervan from Perth to Darwin in the heat of Western Australia and another 9 months in South America. If our time in Australasia taught me anything it was how to appreciate what nature has to offer and how simple life can be if you want it to be. This consequently leads to a clearer mind and happier outlook.
South America was a different ball game altogether with different lessons to learn. There is such a diverse world out there full of fascinating places, cultures and people when you make the effort to step out of the comfort and safety of what you know. We met some amazing people in South America who welcomed us into their homes and lives with open arms. Not only did my Spanish improve but my perspective on what is important in life was permanently concreted. It was easy to initially feel pity when meeting an Argentinian family with 5 children living in extremely primitive conditions by western standards but after spending lots of time with them and immersing ourselves in family life this pity was replaced by admiration, respect and envy. Again life was simple, centred around family and community. Often in the west, pace of life is so fast and stressful and so full of material possessions that we often miss the most basic important things in life. Why would we grow our own food and prepare a meal together for family and neighbours every night when there isn’t time and we can just drive in our car to the supermarket and choose something from the shelf?
My time in different countries and cultures has broadened my views and perspective on life which will always stay with me. I look forward to putting my backpack on again in the not too distant future, this time with Savanna in tow!
Written by Lindsey Holcroft