I AM A BACKPACKER

JESSIE - DUTCH - Currently backpacking with her boyfriend in Australia.

"Sometimes love happens to you on the other side of the world.

Personally, backpacking started out as a way to challenge myslef in life and develop myself by meeting others. Working as a nurse I got to meet a lot of different people. Most people with a lot of life experience. I saw kids being born and I saw people pass away. Dealing with life and death made me realize that we all have this enormous gift called life: An adventure that doesn’t lend itself to be controlled in our own convenient time frame. We have to follow our hearts and make the most of it while we can.

Eager to learn and experience I started to look for more people to meet. This led me to my first solo trip to Thailand when I was 19 years old. I was nervous at first but traveling on my own made me realize that I wasn’t alone in this world. So many people with big hearts were willing to give everything up to reconnect and listen to their intuition for the sake of adventure. They taught me to do the same and I was hooked after that. With some breaks in between to finish nursing school, I kept on traveling.

So what started off as a little solo trip to Thailand was followed by a 6-month internship in Indonesia for my nursing degree and ended with a year of backpacking through Australia, New Zealand, and Vietnam. Meeting people from all over the world made me a whole new person. I became more independent, learned about different cultures and developed a bigger sense of self-confidence. It changed my perception of the world. I was creating my own reality instead of just blindly follow the crowds.

When I felt like I was finally ready to go back to the Netherlands the biggest cliché in the book happened. “Don’t go out and meet someone out there” all of my friends and family said before I left for my last trip. Guess what happened? I met someone. Where? Of course on the other side of the ffing world: Australia. Well. Done. Jess.

Some of you might say that I would have been able to prevent it. But the love bug bit me before I even knew it and as soon as it spread it was too late for me to find a cure. We started out being friends after we met in a hostel but as soon as we ended up living together on the Sunshine Coast for a while, I knew that this was something unique. So I fell in love (cheeseball alert). I went home to break my heart in two to find out that there was no way back: I needed to figure out what this relationship had in store for me and went back to Australia for another year in December 2017.

So what’s your plan? People keep asking me that question. At the moment we are on a big creative trip around Australia as my boyfriend is a full-time ocean artist and we are both photographers. We’re living in a four-wheel drive and creating art and blogging for @theycalleditparadise along the way which is more than I could ever have wished for. I’m not sure where we will end up after this year but we will just try to enjoy the ride and experience as much as we can.

Don’t get me wrong, I miss home sometimes and especially my family and friends. But sometimes life happens in unexpected ways and there is nothing you can do about it.

So for anyone reading this thinking about traveling solo or don’t know where to go in life. Go for it! You will never know what you will find along the way. There is always something life can teach you. "

Follow the adventure of Jesse as a backpacker on her blog : Theycalleditparadise