Travel can be life changing. A lot of things can be life changing, but travel is one of the most amazing, eye opening ways to change your life. Sometimes things happen that just change your perspective about everything. Sometimes we miss our bus, or train or flight and we think it’s the worst thing in the world, and then we stand on the platform or sit at the airport and we get chatting to a fellow commuter and put the world to rights. We meet someone we might have been meant to meet, someone that might stay in our lives as a friend, or more, and we realise that we were meant to miss that bus, or train or flight. Life changing travel is something I experienced last summer, and here’s why it has changed my perspective on everything…
My life changing travel moment came last summer, when I flew to LA by myself ready to start my American adventure. It was 7th June 2016 and I was sitting in the departure airport at Heathrow, a little nervous about the prospect of taking an 11 hour flight on my own, but so excited to reach the City of Angels upon arrival. Six months prior to this moment I had made the crazy decision to quit my full time job (after 5 long years) and spend 4 weeks road tripping across the states with a bunch of strangers.
My Contiki Grand Southern Adventure had been booked on a whim; it was the single most spontaneous thing I had ever done in my life, and the best decision I ever made! As I made my way across America, taking in the sights of LA and Vegas and passing through Dallas, Miami, Washington and 25 other iconic US cities along the way, I started to realise that I was the happiest I'd ever been. I'd made 52 new friends, most of whom were from the other side of the world, and I started making memories that I'd cherish forever.
I partied until the early hours in Vegas, helicoptered across the Grand Canyon, parasailed over Daytona Beach and went ghost hunting in Savannah. I road tripped across Route 66, ran around Disney World like a 5 year old child and went swamp boating down in New Orleans. I stayed up all night talking to my new roomie and having pre drinks in hotel room after hotel room with my new friends night after night. I am a sociable person and I love meeting new people, but those who I met and spent time with on my Contiki tour weren't just people, they had become so much more than that. They had become my best friends, the only people I interacted with for four whole weeks, and the only people I would have wanted to share that experience with.
Fast forward six months and I'm still in contact with pretty much everyone on that tour. Despite living the other side of the world from each other, I keep in constant contact with a good handful of them and some have become my very best friends! We're so close that I'm even planning a trip to Australia next year to be reunited with many of them, and a few of us are even trying to do a little European trip too! This would never have happened had I not made the decision to book that trip, for those dates, and have met the people I truly believe that I was meant to meet.
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My life changing travel moment taught me the biggest lesson yet.. It taught me that I'm never alone even when I'm travelling by myself. It taught me that I can speak to pretty much anyone and make really good friends really easily, and it taught me to live in the moment, make crazy decisions and to have no regrets. The memories I made on my Contiki tour will last a lifetime, but the friendships I made will last even longer, and for that I am truly grateful.
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By Jessica from Journeys With Jessica
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By Jessica from Journeys With Jessica