Sunday, 15 June 2014

You must follow your heart

So it's coming up to the 4 month mark now since my operation and I could not be more excited to write this post. Since I started this blog back in November last year, I've certainly had my ups and downs but have tried my best to stay positive and have had a clear goal in mind for when I finished my recovery. While I can still improve certain things such as my fitness and energy levels at times, I feel as though I'm back to "normal" and my life without a stomach is going as well as it possibly could. My friends get to finish my meals when I go out for dinner and I don't think I'll ever have to worry about putting on too much weight. Everybody wins (always have to look at the positives)! And of course, I don't have to ever worry about getting stomach cancer. 

As many of you who have read my previous posts would know, I have always wanted to travel and for one reason or another, have never gotten around to doing a big trip. Well... I've made the decision to finally change that and to go and see the world. I was nervous to actually follow through with it and a little bit sad to be saying goodbye to what I know... but I resigned from my job and am going to be spending 4 months of this year backpacking around Europe.

When the wind does blow against the grain, you must follow your heart. These are the lyrics from one of my favourite songs and it was only such a big couple of years that I realised I need to do just that. Life is too short to wait.

I have a feeling this could be one of the best years of my life. I'm sure that my travels will give me plenty of writing material so I'm excited to write about something a little bit different.

Be warned, jealously is extremely likely if you read on any further or continue to read any future posts.  

In exactly 5 weeks from today I'll be getting on a plane and jet setting off for the trip of a lifetime. I can't wait to escape the terrible Melbourne weather and arrive in the beautiful and warm European summer. My original plan was to leave without booking a return flight and see where the world would take me.. I think I almost gave my Dad a heart attack when I told him I could be gone for a couple of years. As it turns out, it's much more expensive to book a one way flight than return flights and I worked out I would only be able to save enough money to travel around for about 4 months. I was also planning on travelling alone for the majority of the trip but one of my friends, Maddi,  happens to be going at the same time and I decided to book the same return flight as her so we both had company on the long flight back home. After setting my start date and end date, then came the challenge of trying to fit in every place I want to go in the time that I'm there.

Towards the end of last year, my friend Pete and I were talking about Tomorrowland - a festival in Belgium - and how amazing it looked and decided that we'd both buy tickets and go. This was before I even had a date for my surgery so I had no way of knowing if I would recover in time and really took a leap of faith hoping that the date would be sooner rather than later and that I'd have a smooth and quick recovery to be able to make the festival in July. It turned out the tickets were ridiculously expensive and cost me about half my savings at the time so if things hadn't worked out how I'd hoped, I'm not sure what I would've done. Luckily my leap of faith worked out and I get to go to one of Europe's most amazing festivals. 

After Tomorrowland, we have a few days in Croatia to relax and will then be doing a sailing trip around the islands and some of the major cities in Croatia. After Croatia sailing, I'd booked flights to Italy and planned on spending a couple of weeks there but in the meantime, Maddi discovered a music festival in Budabest called Sziget which runs for a week and has about the best lineup of any festival I've ever seen - Blink 182, Jimmy Eat World, Queens of the Stoneage, A Day to Remember, Macklemore, Bastille, Calvin Harris, The Kooks, Outkast, Lily Allen... just to name a few. As someone who loves live music, I am going to be in music festival heaven. So I booked a couple of extra flights and bought tickets and just like that, my travel plans already changed. 

After Sziget, we're then spending a few days in Milan before I head to the Greek Islands for two weeks of parties and paradise. I'll be in Milan for what would be my sister's 24th birthday so I'm excited to be able to celebrate her birthday in a beautiful city with some delicious Italian food and wine.

After the Greek Islands, I have a couple of nights in Athens before flying into Barcelona and spending two weeks across Spain and Portugal. One of the places I'm most excited for is Lagos which is meant to be absolutely stunning during the summer months. Throw in Ibiza and Lisbon and I'm sure they'll be a great couple of weeks. So I'll have about a month by myself in Greece, Spain and Portugal and am then reuniting with Maddi to drink some beer at Oktoberfest.

After that, I'll see where the wind takes me and wing it for the last month and a half. There are plenty of places on my bucket list I'd love to tick off along the way - London, Italy, Switzerland, Prague, Amsterdam, Berlin.. the list goes on. We'll be flying out of Paris in November so I'm excited to finish with a couple of weeks in France and hopefully get to a show at the Moulin Rouge which is something my sister always wanted to do. 

After what have been a fairly tough couple of years, I cannot wait to just let go for a few months and see what the world has in store for me.

What is meant to be will always find a way. 

As always, thanks for reading. 

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