16 weeks of travel – the 4 month review – 7 workaways and 7 countries

I’ve been travelling for almost 17 weeks – time has flown. I intended to do a monthly review but somehow 12 weeks came and went, and 16 nearly slipped away. In the last two months, so much has changed, within my psyche and within my disposition. I feel a real release and a contentedness. I’m becoming a bit of an earth mama and I’m feeling pretty zen. I’m now in Portugal, the final country (I think) on my travels. My plans for my final weeks are changing, morphing, ebbing and flowing. Time changes thoughts. People change people. I’ve been lucky on this trip to meet some incredible people who have changed my plans entirely for the better. People who I want to remember forever. People who I feel at home with, inspired by, and excited to get to know. People with whom I got far too drunk, and people who I watched shooting stars with. *So many emotions*

I’ve now done seven different workaways and each has given me the opportunity to meet new people, explore new ways of living, and learn about my comfort zones (and push them).

My last three workaways (minus Seville) have been truly transformative. In Slovenia, I became aware of the power of solitude, in France, I found myself amongst others, and now, in Portugal, I find myself embracing my uniqueness and my confidence.

France changed the game for me. I found my inspiration there. I’ve now written over 8,000 words towards my first real story. I’ve been writing more each day. After my last review, I decided to submit some of my writing to some travel literature sites and whilst it’s something I still haven’t done, I’m focusing on writing and finding my groove. I’ve got time to branch out. Time to explore. Time left on the trip is dwindling however. Just fifteen days are left on my original plan, something I was content with four weeks ago, looking forward to a few months pause at home, but now, something that makes me feel anxious. Ive withdrawn some money from the savings and I’m going to keep travelling til Augusts end. I’m so happy on this trip. I’m happy exploring, relocating, learning new skills and being around people who have really interesting stories to tell. I’m somewhat nervous to return to an England that from the outside, appears to have fallen apart. I’ve fallen out of touch with politics at one of the most fundamental times in perhaps my living history. Engaging with it either riles me up or makes me feel despondent.

I’m really happy to be moving, building communities; sampling new ways of living. In France, when I began drafting this post, I wrote:

Sitting on the patio with the babbling of a brook down the hill, the squawking of cicadas and a small breeze rustling the leaves on the trees; I couldn’t be in a better place. There’s no sea or no sand, but there’s sun. There’s words, there is music. There are rivers to swim in and there are people with guitars and lovely voices. 

In the past four months, I can’t believe the mountains I’ve climbed. The peace I’ve found and the changes I’ve undergone. I was in France, a place I didn’t plan to visit, on my own, something I didn’t plan, writing a book I never expected and wearing shorts and a tshirt with unwashed hair and not giving this any of my concern.

My destinations from this trip deviated from my initial plan and those deviations have been some of the best choices I’ve made. They took me to Lake Bohinj, they brought me to France, they brought me to Portugal.

I’ve got too many wintery clothes now. I’m lucky to need short sleeves, let alone a shirt or a jumper. I feel like I’m prepared for every eventuality but I could probably half my pack for next time if I was economic with clothing and space. Meeting Caleb who is travelling for a year with a carry-on changed my perceptions of what I really need. A bar of soap for my hair and my face and a bottle of body lotion would suffice in the beauty department. Make up is overrated and I don’t suppose I’ll go back. Three outfits is alright when you can wash and dry things overnight. If it wasn’t so expensive, I’d send some things home now.

My budget is doing ok to say I took on a lot more travelling about. I’ve spent more money on beer than I’d like to so I’m embracing a week off and letting my liver recover. France was one long beer binge (though I only got REALLY drunk probably twice). I’m happy to have taken it a bit easier on the budget front, and I’m lucky to be able to do that, after deciding to postpone my Canada trip.

I really miss some things I seem to no longer have access to: brown bread, peppermint and liquorice tea, not being bitten all the time, driving a car, my bike, sewing clothes, sleeping well. Apart from that, I’m generally doing ok with new ways of living which I’m impressed by.

I’ve loved and I’ve lost. Me and this wonderful guy decided to go our separate ways, and I have to thank him for giving me the wings I feel I’m now flying with.

It’s been a big trip of facing fear to develop my confidence, saying yes to things I wouldn’t usually, acting differently to how I would usually. Feeling like I’m enough, unlike usually. In Spain, during the break up, one of my favourite hosts said to me: “You’re incredibly brave Sarah. The first cliff you jump off is always the hardest, from here, it will be a lot easier.” How right she was. I feel like such a stronger person for everything that has happened over the past four months. It’s been such a huge trip. One I am so, so grateful for. Here’s to my final four weeks.


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