Happy Friday everyone! Today we are getting to know a little more about Suzie. Suzie has a deep passion for travelling, and for languages. Her travels are inspired by her love for language, and it all started at the young age of 16. Come read about her story:
I was 16 years old and looking out the window as my home city of Auckland, New Zealand got smaller and smaller. I was on my way to Spain, and I felt ready for my first big adventure! As I stared out the window, I considered that the next time I saw this city things would be very different. I knew it would be life-changing, but I just wasn’t sure how – yet. Many people asked me how I could just leave and travel at such a young age. What about school? How did I afford it? What did my Mum think? Wasn’t I scared?
I must say that I consider myself to have been very lucky, but I also worked hard to make it possible because I really wanted to go. I got good grades so I could have university entrance without doing the final year of school. I got a part time job and saved up one third of the trip fare (my Dad paid one third and my Mum paid the other). My parents are travellers and they understand that experiencing these things at a young age is very important. I did countless hours of research and eventually found a family that I could work as an Au Pair for in Spain.
I was very lucky, yes, but I was very determined to go, so I made it happen for myself. And I am very glad I did.
For me, my age was normal. I mean, I knew I was young but I felt that I was mature enough to do what I was doing. Unfortunately, this view point wasn’t met by many of the people I met during my travels. So many people I met started a conversation by asking for my age, and then saying “OH my god! You are so brave.” I didn’t feel brave. I just felt normal. I was surprised to find that so many people found what I was doing extraordinary.
When I first left, I admit was scared. The plan was to go and live with this family for six months, learn Spanish and then come back. But to renew by 90 day visa I had to leave Spain and then come back half way through the trip. I booked a flight to Paris, but I was terrified to go by myself. I didn’t know anyone there, and as hard as I tried I couldn’t find anyone who would come and spend the week with me. I would be alone. That’s when I discovered Couchsurfing. Hostels in Paris are not very affordable, so I was glad I found a cheaper alternative, and a way to make friends all in one!
That short trip I feel was the life-changing one. I came back from Paris with a renewed vigor to learn Spanish, and with a newfound love for solo travel!
I ended up changing my return ticket and extending my time in Europe. I got to see Portugal, Italy, and so many beautiful places in Spain. I travelled my own way, meeting people along the way, learning new languages, facing and overcoming challenges, and of course seeing the world! It was liberating, and so easy that I don’t know why I was so scared to try it in the first place!
The moral of the story is: don’t worry about what others think. If you believe you are ready, go for it. And if you’re not sure, try it in a small dose. It might be enough to get you addicted.
That was three years ago, but I still think back to those times, and I still make decisions based on things I learned back then. Now I write about my travels at http://thewanderinglinguist.comif you want to read more of my stories!
Thank you Suzie for being a part of Feature Friday! I loved learning about your story, and I personally think it’s amazing that you discovered your love for solo travel at such a young age. I haven’t tried Couch Surfing yet, nor have I been an Au Pair, but I think it’d be a great opportunity to do both!
Do you have any solo travels that you did at a young age? Or have you been an Au Pair, or used Couch Surfing while travelling? Let us know in the comments!
Did you enjoy what you read? Get to know more about the blogger!
My name is Suzie and I am from New Zealand. I have been an avid traveller since I was 16 years old, when I did my first solo trip. I am passionate about learning languages and immersing myself in cultures everywhere I go. I write a blog about travelling with a focus on learning languages. All I want to do is run my own business, see the world, learn as many languages as I can and write! Connect with Suzie at the following: