Posts Tagged ‘travel’

10 Life Lessons I Learnt From Travelling

10 Life Lessons I Learnt From Travelling

I can’t believe its been over a year since Edd and I had our two month trip to Europe. It seems like only yesterday that we were waiting for our 11pm flight to Heathrow, passports in hand and big (terrified) smiles on our faces.

10 Life Lessons I Learnt From Travelling

Waiting for our flight to London, and waiting at Rome to fly home two months later. Apart from a bit of a tan, and a bigger beard, we also learnt a few things along the way.

I have lived overseas in Australia but never really done overseas travel, and so I feel like this two months taught me a lot in a short amount of time. Being exposed to different cultures, new experiences, constant challenges, plans that don’t succeed, endless days, language barriers – it was two months full of so many things I feel like I was away for years. Here are 10 of the many lessons that I brought home with me.

10 Life Lessons I Learnt From Travelling

  1. Don’t underestimate yourself. I am stronger than I give myself credit for. Whether its walking for 8 hours after years of zero exercise, or dealing with train strikes in countries where my language abilities are not great, we never came across a problem that we didn’t solve. It isn’t until you throw yourself out of your comfort zone that you put your resources to the test.
  2. Appreciating each and every human interaction. I can be a little anti-social, and so being confronted every day with situations where I had to communicate and connect, sometimes without any language to assist, was a challenge and a half. But these moments are the ones that stick in my mind; the pair of young travellers who we talked with for four hours from Berlin to Prague, the man who collapsed against me in a Paris Metro, the two Italians at our local pizzeria in Florence who greeted us like old friends and laughed along each time we stumbled over the Italian menu. We are great at appreciating the times we spend with our friends, but I try harder now to make the most of any interaction, even if it’s just apologising for bumping someone on the street. These small moments of communication, that smile you give to a stranger as you both get caught in a rain storm, these are so precious.
  3. Get rid of expectations. Sometimes the places you don’t expect much of are the ones that take your breath and steal a place in your heart. Venice is one of those places that we allocated only a couple of days to, assuming that it was over-hyped and full of tourists. Turns out that it was every bit as incredible as I could have imagined. Expectations can restrict us and narrow our options, whilst getting rid of expectations means that you don’t make assumptions and instead have to experience things for what they are.
  4. It’s okay to have boundaries. Being cautious of people when travelling seems so pessimistic at first, but in the end it kept me and Edd safe and prevented any of our stuff from being stolen. This side of travelling actually taught me that it’s okay to have boundaries , both when travelling but also just in life, and that they are necessary to protect yourself and the things you love.
  5. Finding the value in getting lost. No where more than Venice did we learn how much there is to find when you don’t know where you are going. For someone like me, who is all about the lists and the plans and the maps, this kind of lesson was a pretty important one. Although I still like life to be rather structured, I can see now how important it is to embrace the unknown and explore without restriction, and although I may not go and get lost every weekend it is something I know I need more of.
  6. Cherish the small moments. A fresh orange juice in the morning, a beautiful sunset over Piha, the way the light catches the Eiffel Tower in the late afternoon, morning cuddles with a fluffy fur baby, a clean shower after a day in the hot Roman Sunshine. We ticked off so many amazing experiences, but the ones I want to cherish and remember are the small ones that weren’t planned but that gave us that warm feeling of contentment. And this has carried in to every day life, where I try to focus on all the amazing little moments that make up a day. It’s been so easy lately to look back on a day and feel stressed, underwhelmed, insecure or exhausted. And although these feelings are still valid, I have been trying to remember those little moments that bring a smile to my face, the same way that finding a friendly stray cat whilst we ate dinner on top of Montmatre did. I want to look back on life and remember the good moments, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant they might have been.
  7. Life is Short. And this isn’t meant to be a sad observation, but it was a reminder to me that I need to make the most of the time I have. Travelling made me realise how little we have experienced, and how much more we have to learn and to see. I think it may be time to book our next experience. Life is too short to be constantly afraid of making decisions, or to hold back and wait for more money, more time. Don’t act like we have forever and make the most of the life you have now, whether it’s by travelling or by staying home and watching movies in bed.
  8. Learn how to be good with money. We all know that money doesn’t equal happiness, and yet we wouldn’t have been able to go on this trip without putting aside the money and making sure we weren’t going to end up in Amsterdam with not enough dollars to get through the next month. Now when I want to go on a shopping spree I try and think about my priorities and ensure that my distribution of money matches this as best as possible.
  9. Stop carrying around excess baggage. We took two giant suitcases on our trip, and looking back we would have found it easier with less stuff and two backpacks. This obviously applies in life, and reminds me that life is easier when we discard the things that we don’t need to move forward. I’m trying harder now to make sure I know what I am carrying, and only take what is necessary and what gives me strength, leaving behind those dresses that I will never wear, or that relationship that does nothing but bring negativity in to my life.
  10. Appreciating the life I already have. Travelling through 12 incredible countries made me realise how lucky I am to live in New Zealand. Although I would go back to most of those places in a heartbeat, New Zealand is home and it’s where I want to bring up a family and spend my summers. I think I took a lot for granted, and in the last year I’ve done a better job at appreciating how amazing how beautiful country is. It’s made me appreciate how many cultures we are lucky to have create the tapestry of New Zealand, the friendliness of the people you meet on the streets, the incredible landscapes that are at our doorstep, the relative safety we take for granted, the freedom to grow and learn in a country which may not be any where near perfect, but has some of the best damn coffee in the world.


A little child in a suit, chomping on a tomato whilst at the markets in Amsterdam. Moments like these still bring such a big smile to my face.

A little child in a suit, chomping on a tomato whilst at the markets in Amsterdam. Moments like these still bring such a big smile to my face.

10 Life Lessons I Learnt From Travelling

Making friends, especially with the local wildlife.

10 Life Lessons I Learnt From Travelling

A couple of minutes walk from Notre Dame is one of the most incredible churches we set foot in, St Chapelle.

What is something you have learnt through travel?

Another case of Wanderlust

Wanderlust: strong desire for or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world

Another Case of Wanderlust

I go through phases of wanting to settle down, buy a house, have kids and so on and so forth and then suddenly an urge to spend all my dollars on new experiences in new countries takes over and I realise that I’m not quite ready to put my money into anything else.

Until Edd and I did our trip in 2014 where we visited 11 countries in 2 months, I had been overseas twice. I was pretty under experienced when it came to overseas travels and countries other than New Zealand and Australia. Since our trip, you could say that I have caught the wanderlust bug pretty bad.

My feet are itching to get back on a plane and see more of the world, my wallet right now is saying no. A girl can dream though.

Another Case of Wanderlust

The beautiful Grand Canal in Venice, Italy

Genie from Bunny Eats Design proposed a bit of a weekend project amongst the #brunchclub bloggers to do a Wanderlust tag, and after getting immense enjoyment out of all the great blogs that came out of it I couldn’t help but do it myself.

Another Case of Wanderlust

Me sweltering in the hot Roman Sun, soaking up the cities incredible history

Where was your first plane to?

I flew domestically between Palmerston North and Auckland pretty frequently as an unaccompanied minor which meant that I got to hand everyone their lollies and then have way more than the allocated 1 or 2. It was a pretty big deal back then and I thought myself quite the jet setter. My first international flight was to Sydney to visit my Dad and it stands out in my mind because there was an issue with my passport and me and Grandma were pretty stressed out thinking we wouldn’t be able to fly.

Another Case of Wanderlust

Edinburgh in the beauty of the setting sun

Where have you traveled to that you would love to visit again?

So many places that I would love to spend more time in but Scotland is high on the list. We spent a few, wonderful days in Glasgow and Edinburgh but I would love to go back to explore the Scottish Highlands. I also can’t wait to return to Paris and Amsterdam, two of the most wonderful cities in all of Europe.

Another Case of Wanderlust

We stayed in the perfect area of Amsterdam and fell in love with the cities character as well as its canals

Another Case of Wanderlust

I dreamt for so long of visiting the Eiffel Tower, and now I dream of getting back there.

You’re leaving tomorrow, money is no object, where are you going?

Japan. This is the next country on my list and I hope it will be our next international trip. The beautiful scenery, the incredibly polite and lovely people and the obsession with cats. I feel like me and Japan would get along pretty well. I would also love to go back to the UK, hire a car and spend a month or two road tripping around Wales, England and Scotland.

Preferred method of travel; planes, trains or car?

After training across a large proportion of Europe I have fallen in love with this form of transport. The way that you can sit back and enjoy the scenery as well as the chance to meet new people and chat about different experiences.

Another Case of Wanderlust

Favourite method of travel? Definitely gondola.

Favourite travel website?

We used Tripadvisor to death when planning our trip to Europe and also when trying to decide on what activities to partake in. Blog-wise, I love the World of Wanderlust and browse this frequently when I need to get my travel fix.

Another Case of Wanderlust

The famous Charles Bridge in Prague

Where would you travel to just eat the food?

I would travel back to Italy in a heartbeat, and that is largely due to the incredible food that we had each and every day. Also, it was the ideal place for a couple of travelling Vegetarians and we never had an issue finding something delicious to eat. Oh and need I mention gelato? We lived off the stuff. Somewhere not yet travelled that would be amazing food wise would be Thailand and Japan. I love both of their cuisines and can see myself eating my way through both countries quite happily. Sidenote: Brighton had the best vegetarian restaurants and I needed more days to try them all.

Another Case of Wanderlust

Brighton, a bit of a change from New Zealand beaches, but charming nonetheless.


Another Case of Wanderlust

Living off pasta and cheese in Italy.

Is there a place you would never go again?

Luckily, and also unluckily I guess, pretty much everywhere we have visited I would love to go and see again. The one place that wouldn’t reappear on a travel itinerary, even if I was in the area, is Cannes on the French Riviera. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful spot and a charming town, in a weird kind of way. But I think there are much better places to experience the lavish lifestyle on the French Riviera such as Nice. Cannes was just lacking in character, was expensive but dated and didn’t have the right atmosphere for me. Lesson learnt, take advice from family.

Another Case of Wanderlust

We found that Cannes was most beautiful after the sun had departed and the people had returned to their expensive hotels and casinos.

Can you recite your passport number from memory if asked?

Considering I can barely remember how old I am, it should come as no surprise that my passport number is a pretty big mystery to me. But I do always have a photo of my passport details saved somewhere secure just in case of an emergency.

Another Case of Wanderlust

One of the most unique sights we saw, the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin

Do you prefer the Window, Aisle, or Middle seat?

If it’s a full plane, aisle always. I get a bit claustrophobic and fidgety and like the ability to get up and wander around without climbing over people. If it’s just me and Edd in a row then I love the window because the views can be spectacular. I’ll never forget watching the sunrise, somewhere over Eastern Europe/Asia on our way to Hong Kong. It was pretty spectacular.

Don’t ever put me in the middle. I would rather sit on the floor or in the toilet.

Another Case of Wanderlust

Burano, a coloured little world of canals on an island near Venice

How do you pass the time on the air plane?

I doze through movies and re watch favourite series that don’t require too much focus. I also get really excited by the plane meals, although the vegetarian options can sometimes leave a lot to be desired.

Another Case of Wanderlust

Watching a puppet show on Montmatre as we watched the sun go down over Paris. Just one more memory I won’t ever forget

Another Case of Wanderlust

Because every traveller needs someone to share the experience with. Can’t wait to create more adventures with this dude.

Take a lengthy look at the rest of the wonderful posts on Wanderlust by the #brunchclub ladies!


PHD, But not the good kind

So I thought I should do a quick post over here. Most people know I am back home in cold, wintery New Zealand after what can only be described as the adventure of a lifetime, trapezeing (well…training) through 11 countries in 2 months and meeting as many animals as we could along the way (mainly cats).

I have been back for a month now, a simple fact that quite simply blows my mind. And in that time I have done a terrible, horrendous job of getting back in to blogging (both here and over at My Foxy Travels where I haven’t even finished up blogging about my trip, please hold while I drown my guilt in red wine). This is not because I have gone off it, quite the opposite as I am super excited for what the future may bring with my blog.

No, it is not a lack on good intention, more a lack of motivation. Maybe I have simply forgotten how to blog? Or how to make time for it rather? Life has been chaotic this last month and adapting back to the real world has thrown me something silly.

Hence the PHD. No, not a doctorate or any sense of achievement. PHD aka post holiday depression is the only way I can explain the anxiety and stress that has been threatening to drown me since returning. Its not that I am unhappy as such, being back with friends and family is awesome. But there is so much else going on with babies (not mine, don’t stress), trying to find a place to live, social commitments and adjusting back to work weeks. I guess I have just forgotten how to manage it all.

So this is me, just letting you guys know that I am still here and this blog is still a priority (just not the top one at this stage). So bear (bare?) with me and I promise that in no time at all I will be back and hopefully ready to recommit to this hobby that I love doing. In the mean time, meet some of the cats we met whilst in Europe. 


Cat of the canals, in Venice


We found this wild guy on a hill looking over Barcelona, a little rough around the edges but so incredibly friendly and up for a cuddle. How could we resist?


Rome was like the Cat Capital of Europe and this little area of ruins in the middle of the city was home to over 200 wild cats, some of which were housed in a little sanctuary and some which roamed wild. One of the best moments of the trip, which most people think is quite strange.


And this handsome fella was from this weekend just past, back home in New Zealand, in a small beer garden/cafe outside of Rotorua. Cats are great, no matter where in the world I find them.


My Foxy Corner is on Holiday

So I should have done this post couple of weeks ago but the good intention was lost in a blur of travel related stuff so here it is now, better late than never.

In case you hadn’t noticed the obvious, this blog feels a little abandoned but there is a good reason behind it. Edd and I are on a two month holiday in the UK and Europe and won’t be back home util early July.

I’m blogging over here if you want to keep up with travel related posts (a public travel journal really) but if not hold tight and in a couple months My Foxy Corner will be back in action!

Below are a few photos of what we have been up to so far.