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5 Times I Was Genuinely Terrified While Travelling

Rainbow houses in Santiago, Chile.

I know that I’ve written a lot about how the media portrays certain regions of the world, like South America, in a negative light, and how inaccurate this is. I like to write about how the world is accessible and full of life lessons for the solo traveller, and that most places are no more dangerous than your hometown. I don’t want to suggest that travelling is mostly dangerous or that bad things will happen to you if you venture...

How To Handle a Long-Distance Relationship While Travelling

Street art in Penang.

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...

5 Misconceptions About Travel in South America

View of the giant waterfalls of Iguazu in the jungle of Argentina.

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 Transformative Power of Nature-Based Travel

A dirt path leading through dry, arid land, with a flat-topped green tree the main feature.

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...

How Backpacking Reduces Body Dysmorphia

A girl standing in front of a brown and gold Japanese temple, with several trees on the side.

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...

Why I Never Want to Go Back to Bali

Green rice paddies with trees in the background.

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...

5 Reasons to Leave the Gringo Trail in Boyacá, Colombia

A view of green ferns in front of a bright blue lake.

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...

Coping Without a Support Network When Travelling Solo

support

Trigger warning: this article contains discussions of suicide. In my last post, I talked about my personal experience of travelling with chronic depression. In this post I will address practical tips for how to manage mental illness on the road. “What are you going to do if you feel suicidal while overseas?” This was a valid question from my psychologist, considering I had been hospitalised only a week earlier and was leaving for South America in two months’ time. The...