Travelling overseas introduced me to incredibly inspirational, kind-hearted and badass women from all across the world. Their lessons empowered me, encouraged greater self-confidence and shaped new perspectives.
We women must stick together, so prepare yourself for some womanly wisdom: sh*t’s about to get inspirational.
Never let anyone tell you you won't excel in your education
Throughout history, girls were generally restricted to ‘traditionally female duties’, denied formal education and lacked voting rights, but thanks to powerful feminist movements many of us now have access to quality educational opportunities. Whilst it’s true that women are still subjected to the glass ceiling issue, our roles in society have significantly revolutionised.
After meeting female police officers, CEO’s, a dietitian, gastroenterologist and plenty more, I know that a woman can achieve anything she truly sets her mind to. Ladies, if you have a dream you’re determined to make a reality, in the motivational words of 2015 Shia LaBeouf… JUST DO IT!
Embrace your youth while it lasts
Youth is essentially the golden age of your life, so grasping every opportunity it provides is so important. I probably couldn’t embark on a highly-energetic, action-packed 14-day tour through Europe at the age of 60 with the same enthusiasm as my younger self, so travelling is currently a primary goal of mine.
Volunteer for a good cause, skydive at 14,000ft, kiss your crush; learn to live it up! Life can also change in the blink of an eye, so don’t forget the little things; tell your parents you love them, say sorry to your bae after a fight and go offline to truly live in the moment. Life’s too short for regrets!
Health and self-confidence are the real winning tickets
Whilst society pressures us with body images like basketball-sized butts, rock hard six-packs and perfectly round boobs, it is a woman’s right to feel happy and healthy however she pleases. Travelling overseas in the company of attractive young women taught me there is no true global definition of beauty. We are all beautiful in our own way.
I don’t wear make-up, I’ve never threaded my eyebrows, my tummy sticks out a tad and my skin is far from tanned but I’m proud of who I am. Don’t be nervous to show off those sexy summer bods! Wear that new bikini, loosen those luscious locks, pose in that Instagram selfie – just wear sunscreen, okay? Transformations aren’t off the table, but if you want to change, do it only for yourself.
Admitting struggle makes you stronger
We’ve all heard phrases like, ‘girls are too emotional’ and ‘it’s your period talking’; they’re bullshit. Showing struggle, succumbing to emotions and needing a shoulder to cry on may feel like weakness, but it’s courageous. It’s not always easy opening up to peers and facing your demons but doing so illustrates honesty and self-worth.
I’m privileged to have met fellow females overseas who I can rely on for emotional support, confide in and not feel judged by. Not only does this increase my support circle but their advice is non-biased, mature and unique. When times are tough, help awaits; this applies to you too, boys! We’re all human and sometimes humans just need to shed some tears – it’s totally okay.
Strong friendships are not products of time
Can you meet your long-lost BFF soulmate in just two weeks? I sure did! When you travel (especially on group tours), you’ll learn that powerful friendships don’t always rely on years of experiences, but instead the quality of moments you spend together. You’ll laugh at their misfortunes or accidentally lock them out of your Budapest hotel room at 3am (whoops) but the BFF bond holds strong.
Distance may be an outright bitch, but there are plenty of ways to stay in touch with your soul sister (or blood brother); social media, letters, emails, phone calls, video chats, telegrams, smoke signals, scrolls delivered by carrier pigeons… the list is endless!
Kindness prevails over anything else
If there is any lesson that travel strongly reinforces it’s that kindness gets you far in life. Being surrounded by strangers in a foreign city challenges even the biggest ego, because having no one to share the best time of your life with sounds so shitty, right? Like, who would you recount that hilarious night out in Rome with or tag in Contiki memes on Facebook?
My gorgeous Contiki gals and I formed such close bonds because we all expressed kindness, compassion, open-mindedness and a love for some good old friendly banter. Being the bully is pointless; as Cady Heron realizes in Mean Girls, calling someone else fat won’t make you any skinnier, calling someone stupid doesn’t make you any smarter and ruining Regina George’s life definitely didn’t make (her) any happier. When you are kind, the limits really do not exist.
Have you learned life-lessons while travelling? Share your stories with us here and you could see your work published on six-two…