“5 things travel taught me about myself” is a new series on The Yogi Wanderer featuring travelers from around the world sharing their personal insights and self-discovery lessons from a life of wandering and/or living abroad. Today Susan Walsh, from the site Lost in England, shares a bit of her story with us.
Hi there! I’m Susan Walsh, and I am an author, travel addict, and creator of Lost in England, a site for women who want to create their solo travel adventure to England.
I’ve been traveling solo since 1997. England is my first choice, and my heart home, but I have been all over the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and across the US.
So much of who I am is because of my experiences as a traveler. I started at a young age, on cross-country summer trips with my family, in our trusty VW camper. Now I can’t imagine my life without travel.
I have climbed to the top of Inishmore, and explored an Iron Age hill fort, with the wind chasing around me like invisible dragons, wild and unpredictable.
I’ve walked Middle Earth, and experienced the sense of being in another world, a simpler time.
I have stood among the remains of a once lively abbey, before Henry VIII ordered its destruction.
Every step, every experience, changed me in ways I never could have imagined when I started out on my first adventure.
Travel has given me unforgettable moments, the chance to meet people who inspired and challenged me, and widened my perspective.
Helping other women have their own life-changing adventures has become my passion, and my mission. You can find out more about me, and how I help women plan their solo adventures, at my site Lost in England.
Now, for the 5 things travel taught me about myself:
#1 I’m not as much of an introvert as I thought
I’ve always been shy, but my first solo adventure – three and a half weeks of winging it through England and Ireland – showed me that I can step out of my shell. I befriended my roommates at my hostel in Galway, sang in front of strangers, and helped talk my way into a closed pub.
By opening up, and striking up a conversation, I’ve had memorable experiences that will always be some of my most treasured travel souvenirs.
#2 It’s okay to get lost
I have no sense of direction, and even with a map, I can get lost.
During one stay in London, I continually turned the wrong way out of the Underground station, ending up blocks from my accommodation.
Instead of becoming frustrated, now I embrace my penchant for heading the wrong direction. Because of it, I’ve made some fun discoveries, found places I wouldn’t have seen if I’d turned the other corner, and met friendly locals along the way.
#3 I am courageous
This is something I never really thought of – until a friend pointed it out to me, when I told her that I travel on my own.
Traveling alone, depending on myself for everything, has made me willing to take chances in every other part of my life. I left my steady paycheck job to be a full-time author, and I never looked back. Now I’m building a business to help other women achieve their own courageous adventures.
It all started by taking a chance on myself, and stepping far out of my comfort zone.
#4 I adapt easily, and love the challenge that travel brings
Being on my own when I travel forces me to make decisions – loads of them – every day.
I also have to create a new routine every time I arrive in a new town. It never felt like a burden, or a hassle. Quite the opposite; I love the challenge of organizing myself in a new environment.
This turned into the ultimate challenge during my recent trip to New Zealand. I was part of a Lord of The Rings tour, and with a couple of exceptions, we stopped at a different hotel every night. So, every night was a new adventure in organizing, sometimes for early morning departures. I loved every minute of it.
#5 I wouldn’t be the person I am now
Travel has made me kinder, more open to the unexpected, and willing to take a chance, take on a challenge, and push myself.
Without the experiences I’ve had, I would be a different person.
Wanderlust has shaped my life, and it will continue to send me out into the world. Whether it’s on my own, or with family, or with friends, I will keep traveling, keep broadening my personal horizons.
Travel has given me a different perspective of the world, fundamentally changed who I am, and taught me that the way I live isn’t the only way.
I hope you enjoyed my five things, and that they will help inspire you to find out what travel can teach you about yourself.
Nothing will change you more than striking out on your own, and immersing yourself in another culture. It can easily become an addiction – one that will enrich the rest of your life.
Now, go out there, and have your own adventures!
Image credits: Pixabay
What’s the best self-discovery lesson traveling has taught you? Share in the comments section below.
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