How To Handle a Long-Distance Relationship While Travelling

When I met my current boyfriend, I had a one-way ticket to Buenos Aires and no intention of entering into a relationship, let alone a long-distance relationship. I had plans of travelling for a year by myself and working my way around South America. Three things happened: I realised that I didn’t have enough money saved, I had a major mental health relapse, and I fell deeply in love. I’m notoriously bad at long-distance relationships. I’d tried them twice before my current boyfriend, and they always ended the same way. I got caught up in the excitement of travelling alone [...]

By | 2018-01-11T23:08:20+00:00 July 18th, 2017|mental health|25 Comments

Acknowledging My White Privilege in Southeast Asia

I’m considered exceptionally beautiful in Southeast Asia. Multiple local men stare at me as I walk down the street, and I have been propositioned by men several years older than I. My Thai cooking teacher referred to me as a “supermodel”, because I have the long legs that Thai women do not. I don’t attract this attention at anywhere near the same level at home in Australia. I get it in Southeast Asia because I am white. This is a characteristic of my white privilege; I am the beauty ideal because of my skin colour. Pale skin is one of the [...]

By | 2018-01-11T23:09:03+00:00 July 11th, 2017|ethical travel|24 Comments

Reasons Why a Diagnosis is So Important

A psychiatrist didn’t give me a diagnosis for borderline personality disorder (BPD) until I was detained in hospital on suicide watch in October last year. They called it voluntary admission, but if I had refused to speak with the psychiatrist, I would have been held against my will. I suspected for many years that I had BPD, but many mental health professionals are reluctant to suggest the diagnosis because of the stigma attached. I had assumed that you needed to show all the symptoms of BPD to qualify for the diagnosis. Therefore, I assumed that because I don’t regularly dissociate, [...]

By | 2018-01-11T23:09:37+00:00 July 7th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

How To Be (Mostly) Sober in a Society Obsessed with Alcohol

Alcohol is poison. It numbs your brain and your senses, and creeps into your brain to whisper lies in your ear. When you are living with chronic mental illness, drinking alcohol is one of the most harmful things that you can do, and you should try to eradicate it from your life. However, when binge drinking is habitual, it is difficult to know how to be sober. Alcohol makes me stupider, more impulsive, and more vulnerable to the negative thoughts that constantly swirl around my brain. I have burst into tears or started heavily dissociating while drinking, more times than [...]

By | 2018-01-12T13:12:59+00:00 July 4th, 2017|mental health|14 Comments

5 Misconceptions About Travel in South America

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 [...]

By | 2018-01-12T12:30:20+00:00 June 30th, 2017|travel inspiration|10 Comments

Perfectionism is Killing Me

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 [...]

By | 2018-01-12T12:31:15+00:00 June 27th, 2017|mental health|11 Comments

The Transformative Power of Nature-Based Travel

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-based travel and the physical exertion of hiking in the [...]

By | 2018-01-12T13:21:06+00:00 June 24th, 2017|mental health|8 Comments

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 judgement. 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 | 2018-01-12T13:28:33+00:00 June 21st, 2017|mental health|27 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 | 2018-01-12T13:32:20+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 | 2018-01-12T12:57:21+00:00 June 16th, 2017|ethical travel|6 Comments