I want a fairytale. I’m not ashamed to say it. But my fairytale doesn’t involve your stock standard Prince Charming, a white picket fence, two kids and a house in the suburbs. In my fairytale we fall madly in love and travel the world having adventures and changing the world in our own special way.
My Prince Charming is two tons of fun, sustainably minded, loves all the critters big and small, and smiles often. We challenge and inspire each other to do more and be more. A life full of laughs, adventures, and stories to tell.
And they lived adventurously ever after.
About six months ago I woke up in the middle of the night knowing exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I ripped off my covers and walked naked over to the window of the loft bedroom. I opened the window and sat cross legged staring up at the unusually starry London sky with infinite gratitude – I could feel the cold seeping in to my bones and I’d never felt so happy and so alive. It felt so surreal and like everything had just shifted in to place. Now I have something amazing to work towards – something that drives me and inspires me to do better – to be better. I am ready for the challenge.
Wish me luck wanderlusters x
You never forget your first love. That right there is a fact. Those first awkward moments – the butterflies – the first silly arguments – the sweetness and excitement of it all. But that’s not what I want to talk about today.
I want to talk about first traveling loves. Those relationships I find can be equally as important – earth shaking and core shaking.
My first traveling romance began on Haad Rin beach in Koh Phangan on November 23rd 2007 I couldn’t forget that day if I tried. It was my first international adventure as an adult. We had been in Koh Samui for a few days we had our accommodation booked for months in advance. I’d convinced my friend that we could just jump on the ferry and make our way over to Koh Phangan and find some accommodation when we get there (back then you couldn’t book accommodation in koh phangan through a travel agent and all the hotel websites we looked at seemed pretty dodgy). I was so excited bout the idea of doing this – not knowing where we would stay and what we would do seemed all very romantic and exciting.
Once we arrived in koh phangan we trudged around with our backpacks looking for a hotel that didn’t look like someone was going to come and harvest our pre-pickled organs in the night – we eventually settled for a tiny little room above a seven eleven on Haad Rin beach. Not the most tranquil of areas but we were teenagers in search of a good party and wild adventures.
Once we had settled all our bags down we made our way to the beach for a cheap cocktail and some sunshine on our skin. The beach was packed – people were playing volleyball and ping pong on the sand – everyone was young and tanned and having a great time – it was everything we’d hoped for and more. We found a vacant patch of sand and settled our towels down – exhausted and grateful for the cocktails. There were a group of boys on the beach laughing together and taking turns to swim while someone watched the bags. We all got to talking – three of them were English and two of them were Danish. We chatted away and swam and when it was time to leave we arranged to meet up with them again that night.
Steph and I went to go get some food (I lost a bet and had to eat the hottest chilli I’ve ever eaten in my life) got prettied up and went out to experience the legendary Koh Phangan night life. We found the boys at a beach bar drinking buckets of cheap thai rum and coke. We sat on cheap plastic chairs smoking shi sha – laughed and joked together giggling through our language barriers and somewhere along the way we shared a kiss and my heart was a flutter.
We bonded more and more over the next few days and parted ways sweetly in Koh Phangan – knowing that we would see each other again in a few months.
He occupied my brain and my heart and I couldn’t evict him if I tried. He was my first traveling love all those years ago and will forever hold a special place in my wandering gypsy heart.
Fast forward to 2014 and we’re still in contact (as friends) and I even stayed with him on a recent trip to Copenhagen.
Tell me your love stories wanderlusters x
I find it endlessly interesting to find out what people love – what inspires them – drives them and what feels like home. Everyone has a wonderfully different way of experiencing the world. I recently asked Sydney based surf photographer John Respondek a few questions…
Jessica : How long have you been a surf photographer?
John: Umm… about 15 years now.
Jessica: What inspired you to pursue it as a career?
John: I have been a surfer since i was very young and then got into photography in high school… so it was just a natural progression to mix them up.
Jessica: What is it about surfing that you love the most?
John: Thats tough. There are some many good things. But just simply being around and in the the ocean is best. And then surfing in it is so thrilling.
Jessica: What has been the highlight of your career so far?
John: I couldn’t really say there’s one highlight. Just the ongoing fun travel adventures are all highlights.
Jessica: Who inspires you the most and why?
John: I really couldn’t say a couple of names that inspire me. Its always changing. It depends on where I am, who Im with, what I’m doing. Etc. I am inspired daily by different people for different things.
Jessica: What does home mean to you?
John: Home is the best. You really learn and appreciate that when you spend so much time on the road.
Jessica: Where is your favourite place in the world?
John: Australia is the best country in the world… but other than that I love Fiji and Indonesia. For hanging, surfing and shooting.
You can see more of Johns beautiful photography on instagram.
Who do you find inspiring wanderlusters? Let me know – I’d love to ask them a few questions too.
People will forget what you do but the never forget how you make them feel.
Note to the wanderlusting reader… This is something I wrote a long time ago – I had to remove it from here for personal reasons – but it’s an important piece for me and I really needed to share it. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I enjoyed writing it.
My thoughts have been continuously occupied by someone for months. They most probably have absolutely zero idea about it either. It’s like a high school crush magnified by a zillion billions. I’ve been daydreaming and night dreaming and can’t seem to make it stop. I’m not even certain that I want to. I don’t think it’s healthy to be so completely smitten from a completely unsustainable distance. My heart is aching and breaking and swelling up to the size of the sun all at once.
They have inspired me – asked me about my passions and what makes me tick. Helped me to realise my own potential and re-focus my aim and put myself first. Their dedication to their own passion was inspiring. Their philosophy on life was the most incredible aphrodisiac and their morals just beautiful.
When we first met I originally thought – way out of my league but was quickly slapped across the face by my best friend who said there’s no one out of my league ( but she would say that because she loves me).
What feels so ridiculous about this whole situation is that we really didn’t spent that much time together in the scheme of things. But I guess we always remember the how people make us feel and especially those that make us believe in our own worth.
So thank you – I endeavor to inspire others the way that you’ve inspired me.
Recently my whole world has been turned upside down. Everything I knew is suddenly gone. it’s been tough – very tough. But through this I’ve learnt that I am stronger than I thought – more resilient – and I deserve happiness.
Some of it shocked me – I had no idea it was coming. Some of it I instigated myself – and it was long overdue. But knowing that something is ending doesn’t ever make it easier to deal with. We have these ideas about who we are and what we are – and those are challenged and criticised not only by the people around us but by ourselves. We can be our own harshest critics – I know I certainly am.
Change can be painful and uncomfortable – the fear of the unknown can be paralysing – what to do next? Where do I go from here? With change – comes opportunity. You can reinvent yourself – find new meaning in the chaos of it all – dream new dreams – chase those dreams – become inspired and motivated all over again.
This has been one of the hardest and most daunting times of my life – but I am grateful. I am grateful for this opportunity to learn and grow – to move forward and to take charge of what I lost control of. I have learnt to put myself first – that fear is normal – that people are not always as good as you hope they are – that I trust myself – and above all else I deserve to be happy.
This period of change certainly isn’t comparable to a holiday at the moment – but I’m sure i’ll look back on this time in my life and see all that has come from it.
Sending love wanderlusters – you’ll be hearing from me again soon. Until then you can tweet me @JessicasWander.