How to Travel with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

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 [...]

By | 2017-07-28T23:51:28+00:00 June 21st, 2017|mental health|25 Comments

How Backpacking Reduces Body Dysmorphia

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 [...]

By | 2017-07-28T23:51:35+00:00 June 19th, 2017|mental health|12 Comments

Why I Never Want to Go Back to Bali

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 [...]

By | 2017-08-22T15:52:14+00:00 June 16th, 2017|ethical travel|6 Comments

An Open Letter to My Rapist

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 [...]

By | 2017-08-22T15:51:05+00:00 June 13th, 2017|mental health|0 Comments

5 Reasons to Leave the Gringo Trail in Boyacá, Colombia

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 [...]

By | 2017-08-22T15:50:19+00:00 June 9th, 2017|travel inspiration|15 Comments

Reclaiming Community Spaces in Medellín, Colombia

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 [...]

By | 2017-08-22T15:48:26+00:00 June 5th, 2017|travel inspiration|16 Comments

A Universal Experience of Sexual Harassment/Assault

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 [...]

By | 2017-08-22T15:46:47+00:00 June 3rd, 2017|ethical travel|17 Comments

The Ethics of Consuming Cocaine in South America

They don’t say the name Pablo Escobar in Medellín. He is simply referred to as ‘the most famous criminal in the world’. Everyone in Medellín has family or friends who were killed in the terrorist attacks that plagued the city under Escobar’s orders. I was on an educational tour about Pablo Escobar when the driver pointed to a mall and simply said, “My childhood friend died from one of his bombs there”. A large proportion of the city’s population seems to be suffering from PTSD, which can be seen in the avoidance of speaking Escobar’s name or anything about him. [...]

By | 2017-07-21T14:42:05+00:00 June 1st, 2017|ethical travel|10 Comments

Overcoming Social Anxiety Through Travelling Solo

I didn’t speak to another person for the first five weeks of my solo trip to Southeast Asia. I hid in private rooms in hostels, made shy smiles at other people, but never took the initiative to approach anyone and start a conversation. I was only 18 years old, fresh out of high school and quite frankly terrified. I cried the entirety of my first night away from home and wondered what the hell I was doing by travelling alone. I’d never planned to be undertaking this trip alone; I’d originally planned it with my ex boyfriend and broken up [...]

By | 2017-07-21T14:42:26+00:00 May 29th, 2017|mental health|30 Comments

Living with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Trigger warning: this post discusses self harm and suicide. I try to be as honest as possible in this post, recognising that some of what I say may be confronting for people who aren’t used to this kind of mental illness. I also highly recommend reading this guide by SANE Australia, which I found extremely helpful when I was diagnosed. “Don’t date a borderline, they will ruin your life. They’re manipulative and they can’t feel empathy.  They will take everything from you and then leave you destroyed, before moving on to ruin their next life”. This is a common sentiment [...]

By | 2017-07-21T14:51:44+00:00 May 27th, 2017|mental health|3 Comments
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