In my final year of university, the biggest question posed, other than about my dissertation, was what was I planning to do after I graduate? Truth be told I had no idea. I had been putting off asking myself the same question since the first year of university. The idea to go travelling occurred suddenly one night as I blurted it out at a friend’s house party in an attempt to seem cool and collected about my future plans.
Although it was formed out of desperation, I began to warm to the idea. After all, what better time to go exploring than after graduation? I was free. I had no real responsibilities, no children, no serious job. It was a precious window and I couldn’t allow it to close. The only trouble was finding someone to go with me. Many of my friends were working on their careers and so were unable to join me. I wasn’t the only one with the travel bug, however, and the lucky ones already had the money in the bag to jet off on their new adventures.
I wasn’t so lucky. As a student in London, I found that the little money I had earned went straight into rent and living costs so by the time I graduated I had barely saved a penny. I found that the best option for me would be to brave it alone. To go solo, no matter how terrifying the idea may be. It was the only way to do what I wanted and when I wanted. You can wait forever to find someone to accompany you. I just couldn’t wait for that. It felt like I would be doing myself a disfavour to put it off and wait till further down the line. Suppose the same window of opportunity never opened again? It was better to push myself now than have a lifetime of regrets.
But the questioned remained; where should I go? As a solo female traveller on my first adventure I wanted to choose somewhere safe but far enough away to pose a challenge. For me, New Zealand ticked all the boxes. No language barriers (good for first-time solo navigators testing the waters!), not too big to tackle, a similar climate and definitely a good distance away. Not to mention its stunning scenery and dramatic volcanoes!
From that moment at my friend’s house party, I knew I wouldn’t be able to settle down and find a decent job unless I got out in the world and experienced it. So, I started to plan how much I needed to save to turn my idea into a reality. As a woman going about it on my own, the prospect of travelling to the other side of the world was and still is daunting but I have learnt that it’s a huge benefit to not have to answer to anyone when planning my own trip. I am my own boss and I wouldn’t miss this opportunity for the world!