A Letter From the Past – Insight into the Mind Before the Big Move to Australia

A Letter From the Past – Insight into the Mind Before the Big Move to Australia


I wrote, at 18 years old in the summer of 2009…

I want this more than anything else in this world. This extreme idea has not left by head for a year now, I think about it every day, I dream about it every night. It’s so close I can feel it. I can’t think of a better way to spend my life, to challenge myself and learn more about myself and the world. I know I deserve this and I have worked so hard just to get here. My dreams of this happening gives me hope every day. The change in myself from this idea has showed me I CAN do this. Common world give me a chance.

As I mentioned in my, About Me page, I ventured to Australia as a young girl at 18 years old to achieve my dream living overseas to obtain my Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. Recently, I found this letter I wrote to myself in 2009 while I was in the waiting stage to hear back from the University of Wollongong about whether or not I got accepted. I was obsessed with the idea to move overseas and it consumed my every thought. The waiting game was killing me, not knowing was driving me crazy. I checked my email 8 times a day and I endlessly day-dreamed of the potential adventure ahead. I am sharing this letter I wrote to myself to somehow give you fellow travelers insight and inspiration into the mindset I was in before I made the big move overseas. If you are thinking about making a move, here is a sign… Do it!

If the idea consumes your every minute like it did mine, if you can relate to my past self, then itsofficial, you’re obsessed and your mind and body is hinting at the need to travel, to explore, and to live. If you have caught the travel bug like I did at a young age, or cringe at the thought of living the rest of your life in a predictable world like your hometown, then its time you did what you’re heart and mind longs for. I was told every day I would not succeed, I would come home in a month and that I was crazy. I nodded politely to the negativity, but inside I was screaming “Watch me (insert rude word here)”. Not everyone will understand, but that’s okay, that is what makes you different and in my option you are different in an amazing way. People live and die never able to experience the world, do you ever think they think to themselves in there last days, “Damn I should not have gone travelling for a year around the world that was a waste of time.” Never. Regret will haunt you forever if you don’t do what your heart desires. If you’re looking for a sign well this is it…..trust me… book that ticket!

Helpful Hints – How to Make New Friends When You are Traveling Solo (Written By True Traveller – Ikran Ahmed)

Helpful Hints – How to Make New Friends When You are Traveling Solo (Written By True Traveller – Ikran Ahmed)

Friends Beach Party Drinks Toast Celebration Concept

My best friend Ikran has been a true inspiration to me and has the same craving for travel as I do. She has lived and travelled to Banff & Edmonton- Alberta, Kelowna – British Columbia. She has travelled all around South East Asia and is currently living in Melbourne Australia.She is beautiful inside and out and while she is travelling she seem to make new friends in a heat beat. She has friends all over the world and always has the best stories to tell of her travels. 

ikran 2

How to Make New Friends When Traveling Solo

Travelling alone can be a scary thing and sometimes trying to make new friends can be even scarier. However, I want you to remember that the people you meet on your travels are the reason why you will have so many amazing stories to tell.

Some of you are wondering, how do you make friends?

Easy… The number one tip is simply to …. Put yourself out there.

Make sure you are comfortable with meeting some of the most random people you can imagine and it is also important that you aren’t judging toward new people you meet because those people will surprise you.

Hostels are always a great way to make friends. Simply ask a group of people or even just one person if you can sit with them (I know it sounds a bit daunting, right?) However, to your surprise most likely everyone says yes.  Start the conversation and find common ground, which would obviously be travelling.

You’ll realize that when you’re travelling the same conversations will come up like “Where are you from? How long have you been backpacking for? Where did you start off? Where are you off to next?” Use these commonly asked ice breaker questions to get the ball rolling.

These commonly asked questions are great to build a bond with a new group or individual and will also give you a good vibe regarding the type of person they are.

A bar is still a great place to meet people if you feel a drink will loosen you up. Sit at the bar if you see one other person. That’s how I made friends with a guy named “Vernon” from Texas in Siem Reap, Cambodia on Pub Street (which is party central in Cambodia). He was sitting alone and I just asked if I can sit with him. He was such a nice guy and I met some of his friends later on that night that he knew from Vietnam. Later that night I also met two Norwegian girls named Linda and Silija. I ended up traveling with these two girls for two and a half weeks. That night was a night to remember as we all danced on the streets all night long.


In Picture (Linda, Vernon, (Linda the 12 year old Cambodian girl known in the South East Asia backpacking world) Silija, Me, and a weird guy)

And guys you will meet some weird people so just embrace it.

Remember the key way to making friends is putting yourself out there and ask them if you can join them. It is as simple as that… Don’t be afraid to ask the question and know that all backpackers are in the same boat as you and also want to meet friends just like you.

 Written By – Ikran Ahmed

Side note – Always be safe when travelling alone especially when drinking. 1. Keep an eye on your drink – drink only what you see prepared yourself 2. Set a drink limit and stick to it – it’s okay to loosen up with a couple drinks but don’t go overboard and end up making a fool of yourself and or getting yourself into something dangerous. 3. Have water in between drinks.

Missbeachykeen’s True Travel Confession

Missbeachykeen’s True Travel Confession

True confession

So I have a confession…

Okay.. I was naughty I admit it.. Want to know why? Whenever I tell this story to anyone, I always receive a wide-eyed, open mouth expression! Most people are stunned with disbelief on how I managed to hook up with a boy I had never met before, on a plane… That’s right I said it! When I was 19, I met this guy who was on my flight from Vancouver to Hong Kong. Pretty much, I got a smooch from this cutie!

How did this happen?

I had about 30 minutes before my flight boarded, so I decided to sit down at the gate and pull out my laptop and see if I could get some Wi-Fi signals… Around 5 minutes later, I notice a young boy around my age, sitting on the opposite side of me. I looked up and spontaneously made awkward eye contact with him. With embarrassment of being caught staring at him, I quickly looked back down at my laptop screen. For a while, I then realized after failed attempts, that I could not connect to any Wi-Fi signals and became frustrated…. “ I needed to look busy on my laptop. Hello…. Wi-Fi?” After multiple tries, I decided to be bold and ask the beautiful stranger, if his Wi-Fi was working. I looked up, swallowed, took a deep breath and asked, “Hey, is your Wi-Fi working?”

When did the sparks ignite?

He replied with confidence “Hey, no I can’t connect, I was just about to you ask you actually”. He smiled flirtatiously. He closed his laptop immediately and asked me, “What flight are you on?” I thought to myself, “holy shit he’s talking to you, don’t say anything stupid!” I pulled out my boarding pass and stated my flight number and destination. He widened his eyes and replied with a big energetic, “ME TOO, that’s awesome!” I smiled and replied with an “oh cool!” (as in I’m trying to act cool). He started asking me million questions at once like, “Where are you from?”, “Why are you going to Sydney?” and so on. I started to answer his questions simultaneously and bounce those questions back to him. I could feel my palms sweating and my face blushing.  I pause the awkwardly happy question-and-answer session and told him my name, “Oh, by the way, my name is Dana.” He chuckled and replied, “Nice to meet you Dana, my name is Michael.” It turns out that we have the same age. He was going to Sydney for a year of backpacking around Australia. I could tell that he was very interested and super excited about his adventure. He was humble and down to earth enough, and seemed to have the same craving for travel as I did. We started talking, more comfortably, and I told him about my first year at University and gave him a little rundown on what Australia is like, where to visit and what to do in Sydney.

Then we boarded the plane…

While waiting in line, “together”, we constantly are talking each other’s ears off. One of us stopped and asked “Hey, what’s your seat number?” It turns out we were four rows apart from each other as we mentally calculated. He gave me a sad puppy face, displaying his sadness for the fact that we were seated so far from each other. We still had so much to talk about! Once we got on the plane, I sat at my seat, and I waved goodbye saying, “I’ll see you in Hong Kong.” I sat smiling to myself like a little schoolgirl with a crush. Three minutes later the beautiful boy appeared in the aisle with a random middle-aged woman beside him. He looked happily at me and said, “Hey, this nice lady is happy to switch seats with you, so we can sit together”… I looked at the lady and she replied, “Yea, not a problem, I’m happy to make the switch”. My heart melted….

Then the 14 hours in a cramped plane began…

I switched to my new seat, beside him, and our conversation started again! We talked about everything from high school, to our friends, and even to our past relationships. We watched movies together on one TV screen, and we laughed a lot. After about 6 hours of talking and laughing, it was time to have a little snooze as they dimmed the light and everyone around us was sleeping. Obviously it would have been rude to keep talking while everyone was in his or her sleep mode. As we position ourselves to sleep, we leaned against each other and shared the given blanket. After the awkward leaning position, for little a while, he reached out for my hand under the blanket. We fell asleep together, hand in hand. After around three hours of solid sleep and I repositioned my body… he woke up, from my movement and smiled at me. I asked him “Are you comfortable?” he replied… “Very much, thanks” … Then he .. leaned in for a kiss… My 19-year-old self was on cloud 9!!!!! I remembered that the kiss was just perfect. There may or may not have been a little groping under the blanket too… 😉

Arriving in Hong Kong.

We assumed that if we started on the same flight, we would also be on the same flight for our flight to Sydney too. However, his flight was different than mine. I was leaving in 2 hours and his flight to Sydney was another 6 hours after mine. He said he wanted to hang out with me while I waited for my flight so he convinced the airline employee to check in early so he could hang with me before I boarded the flight. We had dinner together and laughed some more. As we waited for my flight to board, we shared one more passionate kiss as we sat in a room with 100s of other strangers. He lined up with me until he could not anymore; we kissed goodbye, and I walked away onto the plane. That was it…

I never saw him again; we spoke on Facebook, but we never got a chance to see each other in Australia.

I am a lot older now but I remember everything about that flight like it was just yesterday. I still remember how awesome he was and how nervous I felt to just be around him. It was such a good experience and had shown me that a simple hello can go a long way..

Do you have your own version of travel confession or a similar story?

Have you met someone awesome at an airport or on a flight?

Let’s hear it! Share it!



7 Tips When Preparing to Move Overseas!

7 Tips When Preparing to Move Overseas!

  1. Get your shit together!

Before you go telling the world that, you need to make sure your ducks are in a row! I’m talking “visas” people! Immigration system and visas to different countries can be difficult, frustrating, and time-consuming. Sometimes it even needs a lot of research on which visa suits you best! I have a lot of experience with visa and immigration especially in Australia and I can assure you it’s not just a little sign up on the Internet. You need to present to the immigration system proof of  passports, work experience, how much money you have in the bank, and etc. I am a nurse therefore I need to get a full-on medical examination. If English is your second language, you may be to do an English test (IELTS or TOEFL, etc.) Prepare ahead of time for visas and testing. Make sure you keep track of the processing time, sometimes it might take longer than you thought it would!

  1. Do a BIG downsize!

A big one! Realize that you can’t bring your whole life with you on your big adventure! Make a full day of it! Get your mom and your best friend over and throw on some tunes and get to work! Make a “for sure pile”, a “no way I totally forgot that even existed pile” a  “I can’t decide pile” and a “donate pile”. Once you are done you will feel so liberated, and you can help out the community by donating your clothes as well! Less is more in the travelling world and you will thank yourself later! Only bring the ESSENTIALS when you are travelling. I promise you, you will accumulate lots of new stuff! Living a simpler life with less materialistic items will be a nice feeling in the end trust me!

  1. Do the big tell all!

Yup! Once your visa is granted, and your flight is booked it’s time for the big reveal to tell your friends and family about your wicked new adventure. I recommend getting together with near and dear family first. Telling them in a private and in a nice environment face-to-face is the best way, but that’s not always attainable! Next would be your good friends. What I have done over the years is to have a big-girls-night-out, and before the drinks start pouring tell them of your plans in a humble manner. Explain your rationalization and portray your excitement! They will see how excited you are and be happy with you! Also, remember not everyone will take it the way you want them too! Everyone is different, some people might not understand the need to travel. When I moved overseas, some people I told about my adventure called me “crazy” and even “stupid”! If someone reacts in a negative way, don’t take it personally and know that you’re moving on to bigger and better and well… Good for you! I think you’re awesome for choosing to move overseas!

  1. Make sure all your arrival stuff is booked!

It will give you peace of mind that you’re going somewhere straight when you arrive and therefore, you don’t have to worry about all the hustle in a new country! Once you get there and feel comfortable, then you can do the spontaneous things. Its also nice and assuring to know that little things like accommodation and shuttles are booked ahead of time (so you’re not running around like a crazy person). Trust me I have done it too many times! I am the queen of winging things!

  1. Get what I call the “top secret file.”
    Visit to your local stationery store and get yourself a sturdy file folder! Now, what you should have in this file folder?
  • Copies of your passport ** Essential to have – people losing their passports, happen all the time!
    • Copies of your birth certificate (in case you lose your passport overseas you may need this at the embassy)
    • Print out your flight itinerary – Both ways!
    • Print out your visa information
    • Have a copy of your drivers license
    • Social Security Number
    • List of medications / medical history
    • Parents’ or next of kin contact address and phone numbers
  1. Do one big roundup of little shopping!

Don’t go overboard at the drugstore – you don’t need shampoo and all that kind of stuff, you can get all that stuff overseas in any country! Be smart about what you bring along with you! I’m talking about little essentials things like your favorite mascara (Australia’s mascara is out of this world expensive item), your favorite makeup items…maybe even your favorite face wash or one of those tiny first aid packs is always good (I used mine a lot in Southeast Asia). Everyone has different preferences regarding his or her special products! Get those little things you can’t find anywhere else! But like I said don’t go overboard!

  1. Know that you are doing the right thing by making a big move overseas!

Get excited! Watch YouTube videos and read blog posts on your chosen destination and do a lot of research beforehand! I spent months and months researching before I made the big move! I understand as the days draw closer the nerves will build up. That is normal, but go with the flow and have peace with your decision! Moving overseas is not as hard as people think it is! This is an exciting time for you! I can say that it’s all worth it in the end and that you are making the right decision!

Safe Travels Everybody