I thought I could drown my sorrows…but my sorrows learn’t to swim. Bono

Ponte Vecchio and bank of Arno in Florence, It...

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I first heard this quote in 2001 whilst sitting in a Backpackers hostel in Florence, Italy.  I was drinking nasty, cheap wine, whilst battling feelings of missing my boyfriend at the time, wondering why he hadn’t emailed me yet, and stressing because I was really enjoying my freedom. And so I sat, pouring my thoughts into my travel journal, hoping that I could write or drink away my moods.

At that moment that one of the mates walked in on me (I had been backpacking with 2 friends). In seeing me sitting there, and being a tad tipsy himself, he quoted Bono to me:

‘I thought I could drown my sorrows…but my sorrows learn’t to swim’.

He had thought it was a relative quote for the moment. And it was – to the way all of us were feeling at that specific time in our journey. At the time we were all on a real downer for one reason or another, were physically and mentally exhausted, had been over-thinking and dwelling of silly stuff, and were really hanging onto some anti-social moods (this is according to what I wrote in my journal).

It was in that moment that I realised how similar we all were. This thought carried through to the next day when Nigel and I realised that the result of trying to drown ones sorrows with cheap wine – that I’m presuming only poor backpackers drank whilst in Italy – was the feeling of self-pity and a very sore head.


Embarking on a European Adventure (2008)

This is in exert from the start of a travel journal I wrote in 2008. I have many travel journals and hope to use them to create my own book one day.

The countdown is on – only two sleeps until we fly out. 

It’s been exactly three years since I returned to my home town, Perth, from my 9 1/2 month adventure in Europe and UK – the stress of running out of money in Europe, the insanity of working and living in a crazy English pub which at times was cut off from civilisation due to floods, meeting some not-to-nice people, whilst also making some fabulous long term friends and getting to know my beautiful English family.  

I ended up skulking home not really wanting to return to Perth – but knowing that I needed to come home, and that I was doing the right thing (damn my conscience!).  I hadn’t planned to be ‘home’ long, I know that much.  I had come home to see my family, and to deal with what I had left behind – a lovestruck boy whom had waited patiently for me whilst I had gone off ‘to find myself’.

The strangest things happen when you least expect it…life, love, living…


Us near Wembley Stadium, England

Three years later and I am FINALLY heading back to Europe, be it only for 4 1/2 weeks.  This time I’m heading over there with my sister, Eloise, and my ‘new’ partner Denis in tow. What makes this really exciting is that they are ‘virgins’. Denis has only been to Bali, and Eloise hasn’t even been out of the country.  It’s so very exciting. 

I can’t wait to see the looks on their faces when we land in Roma (after we have initially gotten over the jet lag, over-tiredness, and the wanting to kill each other stage).

I also can’t wait to see my English family again.  I miss them so much.  And my friends…It’s really hard having your best friends scattered around the world, and not within reach in the same town.  It does give you even more of a reason to get out there and see the world though!  

But most of all I can’t wait to walk the streets of Roma, rediscovering the ruins, losing my breath viewing ‘la pieta’ and the Cistine Chapel once again.  And then exploring the food, art and people of Paris – the one place in the world I have felt most alive.  

The Passion for Travel vs ‘Settling Down’

I love to travel. It always has been my number one passion.
I was encouraged to travel early on by my Granddad, who bless his soul, brought me up on tales of his travels during the war, his immigration from England to Australia via ship with the family, and he’s numerous tours around Australia with Nan, their dog and the occasional  crocodile. On the other hand there was my Nan and Mum, who constantly told me that we had ‘gypsy’ blood in us, and that was why we could never rest, always looking for the next place to move to. By the time I was 24 I had lived in over 18 houses and quite a few towns. In a way, I had become addicted to the constant moving, half the time not bothering to unpack all the boxes in anticipation of the next move. I moved houses, then suburbs, and then travelled overseas, even living and working in the UK. Soon, every time I came ‘home’ to Australia and remained in one spot, I became miserable. That’s when I had to plan my next adventure. Singapore. Back to Europe. Hawaii. Sydney. Vanuatu. There was no rest.  I’d work, save up all my leave, then take time off and travel. Then come back and work, save up my leave, and take time off and travel. I was a restless spirit.
And then last year I bought a house – shock horror! I think it was one of the most stressful things I had ever done. I had anxiety attacks and sleepless nights. What was I doing? I loved renting. I loved moving. I wanted to live anywhere but here. I wanted to live overseas! I wanted to be a travelling nomad. My dream of being a travel writer was dead and buried under a pile of bricks and mortar and debt. Buying a house, committing to a mortgage – I would never be free again!

Obviously, I really blew things out of proportion as it has not been all that bad. I actually love having my own place. The palm trees and Japanese garden in the back yard might help by giving me a feeling that I am somewhere else.There are no more rent inspections. I don’t have to put up with constant rent rises or being told I can’t allow my dog inside the house (seriously – she’s cleaner than some humans!). I can paint the walls any colour under the sun, or ‘fantasy renovate’ (my term for planning amazing renovations with no money i.e. a fantasy that may never happen – one can dream!).  And funnily enough, I’ve never felt more rested and at peace (or, as some people would say – ‘settled’).
And the bonus is, I’ve still been able to travel. I went back to the UK and Singapore last year, and am busy dreaming up my next adventures (Melbourne being one of them – I should really see more of my own country!). I don’t know what I was worried about!

What not to do when you travel.

Travellers always have a mixture of stories. Those of the amazing sites, the beautiful people, the architecture, and the things you must see when you go there. And then there’s the tales of woe. The things that happened that could have been avoided, the strange rash that developed over night, which proceeds to take over your entire body, or the situations you ended up in where you thought ‘I’m overseas in a foreign country and I don’t have any money to call anyone for help – and I can’t speak the language! Argh?!’

Here’s a list of tips of what not to do when you travel, compiled from  a survey of some of my friends, most who are avid travellers, and from my own experiences. Feel free to add to the list, or share your stories!

What NOT to do when you travel

  • Don’t laugh loudly in a taxi in Singapore. You could get yourself told off, or worse – kicked out of the taxi;
  • If you are female, don’t get in the front seat of a taxi in Singapore. This could lead to a possible groping from the taxi driver;
  • Don’t leave home without multiple packs of travel tissues – good for visits to dodgy holes in the floor (toilets) or normal toilets (sometimes the holes in the floor are just so much more hygienic!);
  • Be wary of drinking the water anywhere – it’s safer to opt for bottled water (from SEALED bottles), even when brushing your teeth (until you really KNOW its safe!);
  • Don’t go off alone with a guy you don’t know – and never let a friend do the same;
  • Never go to the toilets alone when dining out in Naples! From personal experiences, you get followed;
  • If you’re travelling for the first time on a boat, plane or train –  especially long haul – take some travel sickness meds. Just because you’ve never experienced motion sickness doesn’t mean you won’t this time;
  • Here’s one for the backpackers – never use an unfamiliar pillow/pillowcase…you don’t know what was left behind…
  • For those using shared hostel bathrooms – don’t forget to take your toiletry bag every time you make a trip to the bathroom (trying to shower without soap is an ill-advised adventure into badness);
  • And another for shared hostel bathrooms – always use thongs/flip flops in the showers. When you are relying on your feet to transport you around foreign lands, you really don’t want tinea;
  • Be very weary of bedding – be sure to inspect, and if you are allowed, use your own sleeping sheet (particularly when sleeping in hostels). TRUST ME – You don’t want to have to experience bed bugs – they after effects stay with you long after you return home (again – personal experience);
  • Don’t spend all of your money. Just make sure you always have some money on you, or at least in your account still, even when you have already checked in for the flight home. Things happen, flights get delayed or deviated, and you may need money to do things like eat (or pay for another budget airfare)…