What travel taught me in 2015

This is the end. Not of my blog, nor the world or my life. But it is the end of the year 2015, a year with a lot of far away places, adventures and experiences. A new year is already waiting around the corner, but I still have a little bit of time left to reflect on the past year. And boy, did I learn a lot!

  • I am rich.

Don’t take this literally. – Future burglars, I don’t have many possessions, so please don’t start looking for my address. – But I am rich. According to western standards I am dirt poor: no job anymore, no monthly wage, I don’t own a house, nor a lot of cash or tons of jewels. Still, I managed to travel 5 months on my savings. Yes, I lived on a budget. Yes, I spend my nights in packed, hot and sweaty dorm rooms filled with snoring people. Yes, I ate street food whenever I could. – Which you should do as well even if you have money to burn, no better taco’s than the ones from the tiny food stall on the market. – Yes, I’m still richer than most of the people in the countries I visited. Are they able to travel across the world, for a couple of months, with the money they made in 1,5 years of working? No. The majority might never even leave their country. Am I rich in money? Not anymore. I spent it all while traveling. Am I rich in luck, memories and experiences? Yes, I’m a fucking billionaire.

Roberto Barrios waterfalls in Mexico.
  • Let it go.

Where my city trips are planned long before even thinking of leaving the country, I completely let it go on my Central America trip. No plans, no places to sleep, no bus tickets, no flights. No friends, no family. Utterly alone with only yourself to rely on. The ultimate feeling of freedom. Highly addictive, because not knowing where I would be the next day, with who and where I would sleep proved to be one of the best sensations in my whole life.

Spotting howler monkeys in Tikal, Guatemala.
  • Always wear skirts.

Boys, this doesn’t mean you should run to the first H&M and buy a skirt. It just means that when you’re used to doing things your way, keep on doing them that way. No matter what the public opinion is. I never wear pants. – This is a lie. I wear a running pants when I go jogging and shorts in summer. Besides that, I never wear pants. Oh, and underwear of course. But those are not considered pants. I think. – Simply because I don’t like wearing pants. When I was surfing through some travel blogs to figure out what to pack on my trip, I almost always read: bring a jeans. At least two pants. Pants here and pants there. So I packed the only jeans I own. – Yes, some hiking trousers and shorts as well, but that’s different…nobody wants to see your butt in the middle of a four hour hike. Uphill of course. – I think I wore it once, on the plane. The other five months I kept on dragging the useless weight of it with me. I felt better when I was wearing my skirts, I’m used to it and it just feels like me. And to be honest? Can’t remember the amount of compliments I got on my red dress or white/blue skirt. – In case you’d wonder: no, I didn’t get harassed more than any other twenty-something girl wearing pants in Central America. –

Havana after rain.
  • You only live once.

Unlike what many religions say, I believe you only have one life and it’s happening now. So please, live your dream. Or at least try to live it. Aim for the stars. If you don’t succeed, try again. You’ll never regret trying. Don’t agree with a life you don’t want to live. And yes, I’m lucky to be able to say this. To live in a western country. To have been born with chances. Without judgements. So it’s even more regretful not to live it while others only can dream of the same chances as you. Grab them.

Léon, Nicaragua.
  • I don’t need much to be happy.

Give me a destination. A flight. A country and interesting people. Stories. Friends. Memories. Adventures. Discoveries. Fresh fruits. Cheese from home. Hand-painted signs. Smiles and laughter. A river. A waterfall. A beach. A museum. The happiest was I when I created memories. With people, enjoying life. So, new car and closet full with clothes? Don’t really need you to be fortunate.

Cocktails already make me happy. And slightly tipsy.
  • I like beaches.

I’m the girl that’s into ‘culture’. Give me a bookshop or a museum and I’m lost for a couple of hours. Or days, depends on the size of the place. I never really liked tanning or laying on a beach. Belgium isn’t blessed with great weather and stunning beaches either. So, when my friend M. asked me in Cuba to spend some time on the beach, I was reluctant at first. Luckily, she has a strong personality and could convince me to go anyway. Am I glad I did join her. I’ll never be able to lay on a beach for hours and days in a row. But paradise can be a beach and a book and a snorkel and time doing nothing. On a beach. Sand, heat and sun included.

Isla Iguana, San Blas, Panama.

Hopefully 2016 will be as memorable as 2015. Happy holidays, happy new year and  very happy travels!

Published by

Anke Roosendans

illustrator / travel addict / architecture lover / crazy about mid-century modern design

8 thoughts on “What travel taught me in 2015”

  1. Oh yes, I know your red dress :)
    Love reading this post. I find myself there in these words! When do we do this again???
    *** Travel is the only thing you buy, that makes you richer***


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