When Travel Changes Everything

Have you ever taken a trip somewhere that changed your life? I’ve actually had a few, but let me introduce you to the one that stands out the most for me: my trip to Australia.

This was a 4-month trip I took with my sister and her boyfriend (now my brother-in-law). We headed “down under” when I was 20, fresh out of one-third of my college degree (the urge to jet-set outweighed my urge to complete my degree in a strict 4-year fashion). The original goal was to work in one of the big cities, but the trip transformed into a nomadic hostel-hopping journey, balanced with traveling farmer jobs that offered lots of local insight and authentic Australian experiences.

group photo in the blue mountainsAll the Many Benefits

Looking at where I am today, there’s no way I can say this trip didn’t have an impact on where I am and who I am today. It was, simply put, a life changing experience. And I’m forever grateful for that opportunity to grow open-mindedly, learn intensely, live passionately, and switch my passion for travel from a consistent flame into a bonfire.

While there, the three of us got a flair for a zillion new experiences and an understanding of the world way beyond what I was getting from my college education. We learned how to live on $20 a day, including room and board. We learned to get along while spending a lot of time together (and did you catch the part where I was also a “third wheel” to a couple?). We learned that making very little plans in an itinerary can be way more useful than packing in our schedule, and we met the most amazing people whom I remember vividly, fondly.

And if you know me personally, you probably know that this trip is where I met the man of my life. The one I just married last summer.

kings-canyon

Kings Canyon in the Outback

So, yeah, Australia was a good trip. (A freakin’ AMAZING one! …can’t contain the emotion here…)

The journey wasn’t easy. We faced a lot of hurtles — getting lost (many times), breaking down in the middle of the Outback (the biggest no-no you can have in Australia!), bickering, missing our cozy beds at home, getting sick of wearing the same four outfits again and again, getting attacked by giant horse flies, getting sunburnt so badly I had blisters on my entire backside (I couldn’t sit for a week!).

Oh, but the benefits far, far outweighed any of that. The people, the sights, the spectacular new adventure that presented itself every day…it’s enough for me to get really sappy and tell a bunch of stories of joy…

…but I’ll save  specific tales for future posts. What I want to hear now is from you. What travel experiences changed you? Did it make a noticeable impact on your life? Oooh shiver me timbers, I want to hear! Leave a comment. (Please note, yes, I can’t resist the occasional pirate talk in my writing. It’s just the way it is.)

horses

“Water skiing,” Outback style

mine shaft

Mining for opals with the travel trio: Craig, me, Mindy

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