Sister Story - Alex

Name: Alex 

Age: 26

About: I fell in love with travelling when I first went to South America for 6 months. Now 2 years I left the Netherlands to not come back for a long time. How long we (me and my boyfriend) will be away for I don’t know. I am working and travelling around the world. I work as a creative strategist in online advertising. My dream is to work for different agencies around the world. Next to my job I am busy with my own online travel magazine, Story of my World, written by other travellers. That way I keep on meeting interesting people from all over the world and it gives me the chance to hear (and share!) their stories. 

Why did you decide to travel? I wanted to stand on my own two feet in situations I couldn’t predict beforehand and couldn’t control. I wanted to go on an adventure and see how I would do on my own. Will I be lonely or can I handle being all by myself? That question made me go to South-America four years ago. One of the best decisions I made in my life. Not only did I learn that I can handle it, but that I can enjoy being alone to enjoy small moments. 

Where do you come from? I am from a small town in the Netherlands, Goes. This is in the part of the Netherlands that is surrounded by water and what lies below sea level. I’ve always been a beach girl, but in the Netherlands that doesn’t mean lying on the beach in bikini for a whole year. 

Where do you want to go next? At the moment I am living and working in Melbourne. We have been travelling for 5 months and for now this is exactly where I want to be. But after we’re done in Australia we want to travel back towards home over land. High on my wishlist is China, Myanmar, Mongolia and Japan. I haven’t been to Asia before, so I am very curious to see those countries with so much culture and history! 

What is your number one tip for travelling? Dare to be alone. Whenever you are a solo traveller for a while you make pure divisions based on what you want. You won’t have to compromise and that way you will have exactly the trip you want. Also: whenever you dare to be alone you will learn stuff about yourself because you have time and space to think about different things and get to other realisations. My most intense moments came when I was in a state of mind that came from being alone for a longer time. However: that doesn’t mean that you can’t have loads of fun with others! Do I make sense?! 

What has been your biggest challenge to overcome? It sounds so terribly clichè that I almost don’t want to say this, but I have to say myself. I am quite a demanding person for others, but mainly for myself. Once I climbed a mountain (Huayna Potosi) from 6088 meter. The air was so dry, it was minus twelve and we started our trip when it was snowing. When we were around 6020 meter high I fainted and I almost died on the mountain. My guide was smacking me in the face and pulled me down for meters before I woke up. Back in the refuge I cried. Not because of the fright or because of the fact that I almost didn’t make it down, but because I was disappointed in myself not making it to the top. The guide showed me how proud other climbers where that made it to only 5500 meter or lower. For me that was the first time I could be proud of myself for trying. I learned to enjoy the 3 days on the mountain more than the fact of making it to the top. The biggest life lesson I still enjoy lots of time whenever I have a though week at work or in whatever situation where the pressure is high to achieve something… 

What do you miss about home? I don’t really miss anything, but If I have to say something it would be good creamy cheese. 

What have you learnt about yourself? That I don’t like walking from A to B, but I like hiking and climbing mountains, that I can be true to my boyfriend even after half a year without any sexy time (that is with another person. I don’t count my own fingers), that sea lions are my favourite wild animals, that I have developed a secret wish of becoming a ranger or marine biologist and that Peruvian cooked quail eggs that you buy on the street are my favourite snack of all time (but yeah where to get those?!) 

Favourite Quote? Today I will be happier than a bird with a French fry - It reminds me to be utterly happy with small things everyday. 

Favourite new thing? (i.e. food you have tried, skill, tradition, place) PERUVIAN COOKED QUAIL EGGS! Oh lord I still dream of those things. Ok sorry, what else? Since I am living in Melbourne (it has only been one week) my new favourite thing is taking pictures of city life and in particular street art. Another new thing: drinking Espresso Martini’s. Preferably every day around 4pm. I know that I need to get rid of that new habit soon if I don’t want to become an alcoholic..

What advice would you give to other girls wanting to travel? Be careful and be smart but always do whatever you want to do and go for it!