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Member Spotlight – Gina

Never Settle

Reflecting on the last 6 years…………Everything, yet nothing has changed. Yes a total contradiction, but so true in many ways. In 2011 I left New Zealand for Paris on a one-way ticket.

female travel

I had come through a bad separation, building a house and running a business. Being 39 and single in a group of friends that were all couples also brought its own challenges. In other words I was quite often the “third wheel”.

Small town talk also started to take its toll. No matter what I did (good or bad) it was quite often exaggerated. Before you knew it I was up to all sorts of stuff, and everyone had an opinion on it. Only my closest friends knew what I had and was going through. Anyone who has lived in a small town as the “single” lady will know what I mean. To put it in a nutshell I was f%#@ing over it!

female travel

So I started planning.

I got my UK ancestry passport so I could work in the UK/EU. Looked up “live-in work positions”, in which I got an interview and lined up something before I left. I joined WWOOF and Workaway work exchange programs as back ups and to help me save money while traveling.

Sold up and down sized my business and home. I didn’t come out with a lot of money, as my luck would go, the housing market had taken a downturn. But I did have enough to put a deposit on a nice little house and book that one-way ticket I mentioned earlier.

female travel

I had a lot of amazing support from family and friends without whom would have made my goal so much harder to reach. I had always wanted to travel, and as a young child did so with my grandparents. But as life took over and while all my friends went and did their big overseas experience, aka gap year, I stayed behind and worked for a home and relationship.

Well that didn’t really go to plan in the end, did it! I had gone on short holidays here and there but this was going to be the big one. The leap of faith to leave everything behind and venture into the unknown.

female travel

I literally left with a £500 bill, €500 bill, and my credit card, with a relatively small limit on it. I headed to Paris and had the most amazing week with people I only had just met. It blew my mind. The first night as we sat under the Eiffel Tower at midnight, its lights came on and sprinkled the dark sky. With cheap bottles of wine and a bunch of new friends I spent my 40th birthday.

I spent the next 8 months working and traveling around, the UK, Europe, Turkey and Morocco.  I met some beautiful people I can still call friends and learnt more about myself in those short 8 months than I had all my previous adult life.

I proved to myself that if you set goals. If you believe in something so much and don’t let anything stop you. You can FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS.

female travel

Since then I have put myself out of my comfort zone in many ways. I was a live-in carer in the UK for a lovely couple, the wife had multiple sclerosis. I had never even changed a nappy before this, yet alone cared for anyone who solely depended on me. I WWOOFed on a beautiful estate in Wales in their organic garden. WWOOFed in Morocco, shepherded sheep, and pruned lemon trees. Worked in a small seaside pub and as a carer also for a paraplegic man. Currently my “day” job is driving earth moving machinery, again with zero previous experience. It’s not my passion but it pay the bills.

Since then I have travelled to 23 countries and counting. I throw my hand at anything that funds my travels. I am very blessed to also have amazing support from family and friends. Without them I would find it hard to follow my passion.

female travel

Some advice.

The best thing to remember is to NEVER stop learning.

So yes the last 6 years have been totally a whirlwind of change. The separation with my partner at the time was devastating as they sometimes are, and I struggled for a long time to try to find or center myself. But it had its silver lining. If those events didn’t happen I wouldn’t have done the things I have done over the last few years, or be writing this.

The “nothing has changed” part of my life though as I first mentioned was until very recently; I was still single and back in the same small town. It isn’t getting any easier as I’m getting older, but I am so much more happy in my own skin now than I ever was.

female travel

I know what I want, or to be more precise what I DON’T want. I don’t want to SETTLE and be with just anyone to keep other people happy or me warm on lonely nights. I don’t want to settle for a job or a lifestyle that doesn’t make me happy. I want to travel the world, meet people, experience LIFE as it’s supposed to be lived.

I wasn’t 100% sure of what this year would offer. Travel is already definitely planned and hopefully some internal growing and learning.

Six months ago I set my goal, to make my passion my lifestyle, and to create a better mindset. So, I have now created Wanderlust Solo Women Tours, where my aim is to inspire, build confidence and friendships through travel. Starting that is a first step to making it a reality!

It’s never too late to change your life, you’ve just gotta want it!

REMEMBER some small life goals:
SOMEONE TO LOVE, SOMETHING TO DO AND SOMETHING TO AIM FOR
FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS
Gina x

You can follow Gina on her personal Facebook and Instagram or on her website Wanderlust Solo Women Tours and her company Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Member Spotlight highlights stories of inspiring women from our She Hit Refresh group. We hope that by sharing their stories of change and travel we can expose the unconventional paths that thousands of women 30 years and older have chosen.  There is no one way to live a life, just your way.

             

                                                                                                                                                      

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