5 Misconceptions About Travel in South America

By | 2017-07-21T14:45:36+00:00 June 30th, 2017|travel inspiration|

Many of my friends and family were terrified when I said that I was travelling alone to South America for ten weeks. The media is full of so many negative misconceptions about the continent, which mainly focus on drug-fuelled violence, political instability, and crippling poverty. With the popularity of TV shows like Narcos, which follows the life story of the cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar, many Australians’s view of the region is related to drugs and violence. This is coupled with the fact that South America is on the complete opposite side of the world to Australia and often overshadowed by [...]

Perfectionism is Killing Me

By | 2017-08-22T15:52:55+00:00 June 27th, 2017|mental health|

Perfectionism is slowly killing me inside. My psychologist refers to the phenomenon as ‘unrelenting standards’, which means that I set a standard for myself that can never actually be attained. These standards also do not apply to other people in my eyes. This covers all aspects of my life, from relationships to academic achievements. I could view perfectionism as a positive, other than the fact that I experience constant stress and anxiety because of it. I have quit so many things that I have started, from university courses, to online travel writing courses. I quit them because I felt like [...]

The Transformative Power of Nature-Based Travel

By | 2017-07-28T23:51:19+00:00 June 24th, 2017|mental health|

It took three hours of trekking in the Borneo rainforest of Bako National Park for me to fully realise that I had broken my first boyfriend’s heart. Up until that point, I hadn’t understood why he had acted so cruelly when I broke up with him. I resented the lies that he had told about me to his friends and the cruel words that he wrote about me on the internet. I resented all of this without ever understanding how truly hurt he had been. It took the isolation of nature and the physical exertion of hiking in the hot, [...]

How to Travel with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

By | 2017-07-28T23:51:28+00:00 June 21st, 2017|mental health|

I laid naked in the foetal position on the floor of the hostel shower, crying uncontrollably while my friend stood over me to supervise. I had made the mistake of going out drinking on a pub crawl in Buenos Aires, against all my better judgment. Alcohol amplifies the symptoms of my borderline personality disorder (BPD), and makes it so much harder to block out the intrusive thoughts that I am ugly, unwanted, and unlovable. When these thoughts had taken over, I had called my boyfriend in Australia and asked him over and over if he still loved me and if [...]

How Backpacking Reduces Body Dysmorphia

By | 2017-07-28T23:51:35+00:00 June 19th, 2017|mental health|

When I was 17 years old, I thought I was obese. Irredeemably fat. I weighed only 58 kg. At 172 cm tall, this was far from overweight. But when I looked at my body in the mirror, all I could see was weight ballooning around my waist and stomach area, making me look pregnant. I weighed myself a few times a day, every single day, and any gained weight made me feel horrific inside. This is what is known as body dysmorphia, which is something that I still struggle with to this day. I spent a year of my life [...]

Why I Never Want to Go Back to Bali

By | 2017-08-22T15:52:14+00:00 June 16th, 2017|ethical travel|

My knee dislocated for the second time while I was staying in Pemuteran, on the north coast of Bali, Indonesia. I was staying alone in a small, family run guesthouse, and my phone was on the opposite side of the room. I had to scream for five minutes at the top of my lungs before the guesthouse owner came running in. He took one look at my leg, gnarled and at a strange angle, with the knee cap protruding off to one side, and went running back out again to retrieve the local healer. His teenage son, while speaking limited [...]

An Open Letter to My Rapist

By | 2017-08-22T15:51:05+00:00 June 13th, 2017|mental health|

Trigger warning: this post contains graphic descriptions of rape.  You killed me on the 10th of May, 2014, and yet there will never be a trial. You will never be tried for murder, for the murder of a life that I once had. It’s been a few years since we last spoke, and yet I have the sneaking suspicion that I will never forget our last meeting. How could I, when I’ve replayed it in my mind every day for the last three years? I wonder if you’ve erased it from your memory, or if you really, truly believe that [...]

5 Reasons to Leave the Gringo Trail in Boyacá, Colombia

By | 2017-08-22T15:50:19+00:00 June 9th, 2017|travel inspiration|

I’m a self-confessed gringa. I carried a Lonely Planet for the entirety of my travels through Colombia, and consulted it for recommended locations, hostels and restaurants. Of course, I liked to randomly wander and find my own places to enjoy, but I always had the trusty guidebook in my bag just in case. A group of men yelled gringa at me for the first time in Sogamoso, Colombia. Not out of spite or anger, but pure surprise. Locals are so unused to seeing foreigners, let alone young foreign women, that every person openly stared at me on the street. I turned heads [...]

Reclaiming Community Spaces in Medellín, Colombia

By | 2017-08-22T15:48:26+00:00 June 5th, 2017|travel inspiration|

During the 1980’s, Medellín was the murder capital of the world. In this post, I talk briefly about the conditions during the city in this time and the terrorist acts committed under the orders of the drug lord Pablo Escobar. No traveller in the world would have considered Colombia to be a place that they wanted to travel, let alone the crime hotspot of Medellín. Today, Medellín is a traveller’s favourite and highly recommended by every person in Colombia that I came across. Colombia itself is truly making its mark on the well-trodden backpacker route around South America and is [...]

A Universal Experience of Sexual Harassment/Assault

By | 2017-08-22T15:46:47+00:00 June 3rd, 2017|ethical travel|

Trigger warning: this post contains discussions of sexual assault and rape. I was sitting by the side of the road in Kota Bharu, Malaysia, when I saw that a man was sitting on his motorbike and masturbating while staring at me. I froze in place. I didn’t know what to do. I was only 18 years old and I had luckily never encountered this kind of harassment before. I moved quickly down another road, but he continued to follow me and stare at me. I ran to my guesthouse and locked myself inside my room, heart thumping and nausea rising [...]

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