Can one trip change the course of your entire life? This girl says so

They say everything happens for a reason. But whether you believe in fate or not, there’s no denying the life affirming power of travel.

For one girl, Janette Aracely from the USA, that life affirming moment happened last year whilst travelling with Contiki through China. So how did one trip change the course of this travelers entire life? That’s what you’re about to find out…

What inspired you to book Contiki?

Before my first Contiki trip I was just working at my 9-to-5 job in LA, trying to decide what new continent to cross off my list. I opted for Asia. I had never travelled alone before and thought that Contiki could provide me with the best of both worlds. The adrenaline rush of getting on a plane headed to a new continent solo, but the comfort of knowing I’ll be with people my own age with similar interests.

What was your favourite moment from the trip?

My favourite moment was turning 26 years old on an overnight train drinking Chinese Fire Water, celebrating and bonding with my tour family and soon to be close friends.


Was there a pivotal moment during the trip when you realised you wanted a change in life direction?

The pivotal moment was when I was speaking with the group and everyone was talking about the different places they were going to visit after the Contiki tour ended. They asked me what I had planned – I was just flying straight home, landing on a Friday, and starting work that Monday.

They asked me about my job, what I did, my experience with the corporate world, and I was shocked that out of almost 25 people no one was able to relate to my yearly struggle to get time off. I think I may have been the only one who didn’t extend my trip either prior to or after the tour.

During the conversation, I got to learn about different countries and their holiday schedules. Before the Contiki trip it had never really been put in perspective that most people don’t have to be limited to 2 weeks of relaxation per year.  I knew from the second my plane landed back in LA, I had one weekend left before waiting another 365 to experience the joy that foreign travel brings me.


Morning bike ride on Xian's City Wall #bikeride #summer #china #travel #travelbug #traveling #travelgram #traveladdict #me

A photo posted by JANETTE ARACELY TRAVEL BLOGGER (@janettearacely) on

What did you do when you got back from your trip?

When I landed, I panicked. I wasn’t ready to be home. The experience I had on Contiki and the countless conversations with people who lived in different parts of the world had changed my perspective and way of thinking. When I spoke with them my initial thoughts were, “I wish I could live in one of these countries and get more than 2 weeks off per year.” That thought stuck with me for days, which resulted in constantly asking myself, “Why can’t I?” Each time I asked, I could not think of a single reason.

I don’t know how many times I had to ask myself that before I officially decided it was time to move, but it happened in a matter of days after landing. One of those days I went home and completely focused on how I was going to turn this idea into a reality.

I decided I would still like to continue my career in Digital Marketing – so I needed a country where English is the dominant language (and a place that wasn’t too cold). Just these two requirements quickly narrowed my options. I then recalled that almost every country I’ve travelled to, I’ve met Australians – which reassured me I would be a fan of their work/life balance.

Once I decided on Australia it was only a matter of days before I applied for my Visa, then started saving immediately and prepping for the move. A few months later I landed in Sydney, Australia – my new home.


Yeeee!! #me #beach #beachbum #beachday #sunny #summer #mytraveldiary #mytravelgram #aussielife #australia

A photo posted by JANETTE ARACELY TRAVEL BLOGGER (@janettearacely) on

Travel is a lot more powerful than people expect - and it’s a lot more powerful than I expected

What are you doing now?

I currently work at a Digital Marketing Agency in Sydney. The move allowed me the opportunity to pursue my two greatest passions: Digital Marketing & travelling. During the day I work at my company, then at night I like to chat with my awesome Instagram (@janettearacely) followers who are incredibly fun to talk to and nice enough to share their life/travel stories with me. On the weekends I always try and visit new parts of Australia.

Since being here I’ve been able to visit many surrounding cities, New Zealand and Tasmania, and in just a couple of hours I’m headed to the airport to begin my next Contiki tour in South East Asia! Cannot wait!


What would you say to people about the power of travel, and the power of friendships made during travelling?

Travel is a lot more powerful than people expect – and it’s a lot more powerful than I expected.

The friendships made and stories you hear from different people whilst travelling have the ability to change your entire state of mind, which can then change your entire life. Traveling changes the way you experience things, the way you think about things, people, yourself, the list goes on.

I actually sent a message to one of my best friends (who I met on Contiki China) saying “I find it insane that I have no idea where in the world I would be or what my life would be like at this very moment had I not gone on that Contiki trip”. I started an entirely new life, in a new continent, and am doing what I love – the thought of me not having gone on Contiki China is honestly terrifying.

That’s why I decided to build my Instagram account around travel, so I can share this journey with people. I want to push anyone interested in traveling to stop questioning whether they should or shouldn’t, but to just take the plunge. One trip literally changed my entire life – this could be the case for many others like me and I hate the thought of someone missing the opportunity. So I’ll leave you with the advice I live by: Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start being excited about what could go right. Go. Just go.



Do you have a story about the way in which travel changed your life? We’d love to here it. Drop us a note in the comments and we’ll get in touch.

You can follow along with Janette’s Australian adventures and world wide wonderings on her Instagram here.


  • Laura Oxley

    This is awesome! It’s funny how the second you step outside your “reality” you start to realize just how much you don’t want that to be your reality anymore! Definitely have a few moments like that I’ve experienced over the last 3 + years of travel that I’d love to share with you guys, let me know how I can do that 🙂
    Cheers & keep living that life Janette!

    • Janette Martinez

      Couldn’t have said it better myself. The moment realized I have the power to make my “reality” into whatever I wanted, was a game changer.

    • Ginny Copestake

      Hi Laura – we’re intrigued to hear more 😉

      I’ll pop you over an email and we can chat from there!

      Ginny (six-two editor)

  • Jessica Buck

    I 100% agree with this, my first Contiki trip totally changed my life! I even wrote a post about this on my travel blog! I absolutely loved my adventure around America and was so devastated to return home- I even spent £471 extending my stay by just 24hrs so that I could celebrate 4th July in New York with my Contiki family and end my trip on a high!! I have a serious health condition and have always thought this would limit my travel options, particularly going solo, but it’s given me so much confidence and genuinely changed my perspective on life, so much so that I quit my job and now work as a freelance social media consultant and travel blogger!! Thankyou Contiki for helping me to discover my passion for travel and for turning my dreams into a reality! X

    • Ginny Copestake

      Jessica this is an incredible story and one I’d love to share with the wider six-two community. Expect to see an email coming into your inbox v soon so we can chat further!

      Thanks 🙂

      Ginny (six-two editor)

  • Danielle Beder

    I can absolutely relate to this. I live in South Africa and scrimped and saved for years to afford the two week trip that was Contiki Southern Adventure across the USA that I did in Dec 2015. I made so many incredible friends on the trip, 90% of whom are Australian. They could not identify with my two weeks a year that I got as leave. The trip was a dream-come-true and it will not be my last. It also had me considering a move to the US and Aus – and it had me looking into becoming a Contiki Tour Manager. Love the story <3

    • Ginny Copestake

      Danielle you should DEFINITELY think about the tour manager route! Head on over to to see what we’ve got on right now 🙂

  • Tessa Miller

    I’m so happy to hear travel has affected your life in such a positive way. I wish more people would step out of their all-too-familiar comfort zones and experience the joy of travel. You never know where it can lead you! A Contiki tour in Thailand accidentally led me to the love of my life. The past 16 months have been filled with exploring his country and my own. To switch it up, we decided to Contiki again, but this time in Europe. Our tour starts next week and we are beyond excited! In about 4 months, I’ll be moving 8,000 miles across the Pacific to start our life together in Aus. I can’t imagine how my life would be if our travel-bug diseased minds had never crossed paths.

    • Ginny Copestake

      Oh we do love a Contiki love story, especially one with an ending such as this!

      I’m going to pop you over an email Tessa – this story deserves to be shared with the wider six-two community 😉

  • Sydney

    Travelling with Contiki absolutely changed my life! My favourite thing about travelling is exploring new places and seeing different cultures. By travelling with Contiki you do this even on your tour! I actually met my boyfriend three years ago whilst touring Europe on the European Experience tour. We both have a passion for travel and connected instantly and bonded over the amazing things we experienced together! He is from Australia while I am from Canada and even after the trip we kept in touch and soon he decided to change his life and move to Canada! It’s been three years since we met in the most amazing way possible, travelling some of the most historic and romantic cities in the world! We have since returned to Europe once and we have no plans to stop travelling the world together! Travel puts you in touch with so many amazing people from all over the world and reminds you that the world is full of so many amazing opportunities if you are willing to reach out and grab them! The world is so much bigger than just our everyday lives. You can do anything and be anyone if you are willing to put yourself out there and grasp the opportunity to travel and learn not only about the world but also about yourself and the people around you. Both our lives would be so different today had we not gone on Contiki, and I wouldn’t change it for the world! I would do Contiki again in a heartbeat. Thanks for the amazing experience!

    • Janette Martinez

      That’s an amazing story – I’m so happy for you! It’s crazy how travel takes you places you never imagined.

    • Ginny Copestake

      Such an amazing story and I’m so happy Contiki allowed you and your boyfriend to not only find one another, but discover a passion for travelling the world! So one question remains…can we get an invite to the wedding? 😉

      Ginny (six-two editor)

  • Alyssa Bermudez

    I had a similar contiki experience where my world opened up with everyone in south east Asia and ended up meeting an Australian guy who I moved to the other side of the world to be with! New York City to Tasmania! I’ve been here two and a half years now!