More Bora Bora goodness! This is the view that greets you when you first step outside of the airport.
On this day, five years ago, a very terrified Lauren stumbled onto a plane to Croatia, one-way ticket in hand, unaware that this would be the start of a very disastrous trip around the world.
I took a taxi to my hostel because I was scared of buses, I avoided the free hostel breakfast because it contained eggs and I was certain I was allergic to them, I got heatstroke on my first full day in the country, and slept with my backpack on my back because I thought that was what you were supposed to do.
I thought about heading straight back home a lot during my first month of travel. I had no idea what I was doing most of time and everything seemed to be going wrong. I lived off of sandwiches and chocolate bars from grocery stores because both local food and the prospect of eating alone scared me. I booked flights from city to city because I was scared of buses and trains. I got lost all the time. And scammed. And sick. And taken advantage of. I wasn't exactly having a great time, but I was stubborn and didn't want to have to tell people that I failed.
Five years on, I can't even remember what it was like to be so afraid of living. But I'm fairly certain that the Lauren from five years ago would have been absolutely gobsmacked if someone had told her she'd still be travelling five years later. That trying local foods would become her favourite thing in the world. That leaving her comfort zone would no longer lead to panic attacks, and that her comfort zone would expand to roughly 3,201,492 times the size it was when she first left. That she'd manage to turn her little blog into a successful business and get a freaking book deal. That she'd meet a travel blogger and fall in love and that they'd move in together less than an hour after meeting; that they'd travel the world and spend every waking second together but somehow never fight. That public transport wasn't scary. And neither were any of the other eighty-thousand things that used to keep her up at night.
I sometimes feel like the poster child for how travel can change your life, because I was such a sheltered, terrified, naive mess when I first started out. Travel has no doubt been the best thing I've ever done.
FIVE YEARS. Seventy countries. Five continents. Seventeen thousand mishaps.
I've slept beneath the Milky Way on a sand dune in the Sahara Desert, walked along the Great Wall of China, hiked across a glacier in New Zealand, learnt to surf in Bali, rode a camel in Morocco, stayed in an overwater bungalow in the Maldives, explored the ruins of Angkor Wat, flew in a hot air balloon over Slovenia, watched the sunrise at Tikal, road tripped around the Southwest U.S. and the east coast of Australia, sailed a yacht around the coast of Turkey, and so. much. more. I've eaten duck tongue in Taiwan, lizard in Vietnam, kangaroo in Australia, zebra in, um, London, brain tacos in Mexico, crickets in Thailand, and cockroaches in Laos. And eggs and rice and peanuts and mango and seafood and all those other things I used to think would kill me.
Not bad for someone who had never been on a bus before.
I Quit My Job To Be A Travel Blogger, And Now I'm Broke And Unemployed huffingtonpost.com/jo-fraser/i-qu… via @HPLifestyle