While I grew up with the travel bug, I'd never taken the plunge of moving abroad. Last year, I finally made the decision to give the 'travel life' a real go. Having spent the last 9 months based in London, here's what I learned...
Learning the importance of experiences
I have learnt to appreciate the smaller things in life. Growing up in South Africa, I’ve always had a pretty good idea about the difference between rich and poor – and how badly some people are suffering. While this is evident everywhere in South Africa, I still lived a pretty sheltered life.
Travelling opens your eyes to the suffering all around the world. There are people everywhere who would love to have half of what you have! While I’ve never been materialistic to the extreme end, I have to admit that I do like nice things. But travel has redefined my senses of what I really need in life to make me happy. I’ve come to realise the value of experiences over things on a whole new level.
Realising my own strength
Although I have never had a clear focus of what I wanted to with my life in terms of a career, I have always been exceptionally driven in the decisions that I do make. My family has always said, “When Hayley says she’s going to do something, you know she’s going to do it!” I never really thought about this until recently when I realised that I have achieved every ‘big’ thing that I have set my mind to.
I would never have considered myself a strong person, but this move abroad brought to light my true strength. When I sat down to really think about it, I realised the strength and commitment that it takes for someone to have the courage to quit their job, pack up everything and move to another country. While I know many people take this route, there are a lot of people who dream about it but allow fear to take over. I now know that inner-strength is something that I have and it plays a valuable part in achieving my goals.
Remembering to go with the flow
Throughout my life, I have always been described as “easy-going” and “laid-back.” Your typical free spirit who is quite happy to go with the flow. I will never forget during my studies, one of my fellow classmates asked me the following question: “How do you get through life?”
Since leaving university, getting a full-time job and taking on full adult responsibilities, I feel like I may have lost a bit of my inkling to “go with the flow.” But this past year has taught me how utterly important it is to just let go and let life take you on your journey. I never want to lose the sense of being a free spirit.