So this is more a collection of thoughts rather than a well constructed blogpost. But I’m just going to roll with it because I’m in that kinda mood.

So last Tuesday evening I was driving home from football and The Killers ‘Mr Brightside’ came on the radio. You know how sometimes you can kind of (but shouldn’t!) fall into a mini day dream while driving?  Well that’s exactly what happened when that song found its way to my ears.

Aside from loving The Killers, for a long long time Mr Brightside was (one of) my travel song. It was the song that blasted as I cruised from Port Elizabeth down the Garden Route to Cape Town with a group of fellow volunteers. It was the song that defined my time in Sydney (more accurately Wakeup hostels Side Bar), and after that the long drive up the Australian east coast to Cairns.  It’s an awesome song, but also means a lot and basically defines some of the happiest months of my life.  Whenever it blares (it needs to be loud) from any radio, docking station or headphones, I am instantly transport back and a great grin crosses my face.

the killers, big day out

I’m sure I’m not the only one in the room (so to speak) who can associate great music with awesome travels, even so I’m still going to give you the science bit because I’m a geek like that.  Here goes …

Listening to music engages many areas of the brain in both hemispheres, which is why it can create brain activity other methods, like conversation, can’t.  One area of the brain engaged by music is the hippocampus (great name!). and the hippocampus handles your long-term memory storage

When you listen to music you know and love, feelings associated with the song are returned by the hippocampus. Sometimes the memories even manage to come along with the relevant feelings.  Even if memories aren’t recovered, emotions and attitudes.

source – cracked.com

There you go.  Science!

Anyway, back to the story.

So yeah, listening to that song while driving home last week got me thinking, and I soon came to realise that it had just hit the 10 year mark since I first discovered travel. 10 years! That’s a third of my time on this earth. Pow!

South Africa volunteering

… And by travel I mean moving past 14 nights half board in the Mediterranean once a year, to staying in hostels for months at a time, or learning to snowboard. Not that there’s anything wrong with package holidays of course.  From time to time I still travel/holiday that way too.

Having returned (after the old gap year) to a life of 9-5, I fully understand and appreciate that any number of factors can contribute to how you can travel, if you can even travel at all.  On that note I’ll be the first to admit that I have been very fortunate and received a lot of help from friends, family and work colleges in my efforts to still carry on travelling whilst trying to hold down a 9-5 at the same time (shout out all of those legends), but I’d also like to think that as a result of taking those first steps into travel all that time ago, at the disastrously naive age of 21, that I set in motion for myself a new way of living, of setting myself goals and establishing new priorities i.e. memories over material.  I cant sit here and bare face lie to you and tell you that I’m happy and smiling 100% of every day, or course I’m not, but I think I’m a damn sight better off having chosen to live a life of travel, and I think my close friends and family would agree.

So, I guess where I’m kinda going with this (told you this wasn’t a particularly structured post) is that I’m different, different from 10 years ago, much like everyone I guess, we’re all different from 10 years ago. But while some people change gradually over time, I think I can trace a rather large change in my person back to that first big trip in 2005.  A good change too I might add.  I’m still not perfect, not by a long shot, but I’m truly thankful for that 2005 experience and everything … well almost everything, that it has led to since, both travel wise and on a daily basis.

Who’d have thought that being bored one night and booking a South African volunteering project on a whim would have such a big impact on my life.

Imagine if my football game hadn’t been cancelled back in 2005 on the night I ended up booking the volunteer project, would I have ever booked it?  Would I have ever travelled?

I hope so, but I do wonder.

ten_years_later