Tenerife on Scooter

How do you define travelling?

Mar 27, 2023



I used to define travelling as going somewhere far far away with a language, culture and landscape that was unknown to me. That was the only idea of travel that excited me. That escape into the unknown, the ultimate adventure! Since my first solo travel experience 14 years ago, I am redefining my own understanding of travelling

Travelling is not just physical movement it is a feeling.

How do I define travelling: my 18 year old self

A month after my 18th birthday, whilst friends were taking their A – levels, priming themselves for the next step into the big wide world with a hint of freedom at University, I craved a different kind of freedom.

Total freedom; to learn, explore and forge my own path.

With my bulging backpack and the travellers bible of the thick Lonely Planet guide in hand I boarded a one way flight to Jakarta, Indonesia. Solo travel in 2006 looked very different, I hadn’t heard of Facebook, there was no Whattsap or FaceTime, no iPads and no UK sim contracts that worked worldwide like we have today.

To let my parents know I was alive our method of communication was by email, “Everyday” they pleaded before I stepped on the plane.

Every week I would seek out an Internet cafe, most of which still featured a dial up internet connection that only worked on blue sky days. When the thick tropical clouds drew in they would act as a smothering blanket, forbidding the dial up tone to reach any satellite in the sky.

Emails reached home, once or twice a week!

That was travelling….. and my teenage freedom!

That was then.

How do I define travelling: The year 2020

Travel is simply going somewhere that is not ‘home’. Travel and adventure can be in your local area, in your county, or country. Living on a large island that is also a country, I used to think of the UK as too familiar to be classed as ‘travel’ however my opinion has shifted.

UK travelling

The UK is rich in vibrant landscapes with thousands of miles of coastline; beautiful sandy beaches; white, brown and red! Shingle, rugged cliffs, harbours, islands connected by boat, bridges or single lane roads. Mountains, lakes, rivers, reservoirs and waterfalls! Rolling hills, forests, yellow meadows, snow capped mountains, old train lines now vibrant trail-ways for both cyclists and hikers. Blue pools, caves and historical sites. Castles, forts, bunkers, manor houses and large estates with acres of landscaped gardens!

There are even different words for a similar thing originating from different dialects or languages in history:

Think of Mountain – Ben, Munro, Fell, Wainwright’s, Peak, Pike, Pen, Crag, and summit!

Two mountains that I have climbed are Hevellyn and Scarfell Pike in the Lake district, during my UK travelling adventures.

How do I define travelling: The present day

Santa Cruz, Tenerife. Bunk bed in a Hostal. Dec 20th 2022 – Dec 29th 2022

Solo travelling Tenerife

Seeking new experiences in a slower pace to absorb the essence of a town or city. Enjoying deep conversations with international minds. Being present in these moments of connection whilst having the awareness that this interaction is fleeting, even with social media, we probably won’t reach out to each other but awkwardly neither is willing to say so when we make that ‘friend’ connection. Perhaps the British politeness I am familiar with extends into an international etiquette of the modern world.

Google search is my best friend, so much so I forget to ask ‘real people’ for anything. Like a secret explorer I ask google where to hire a scooter, the screen pop ups of a rental company, I ask google for directions and then head down as if possessed by this knowledge on the screen, I march with eagerness 13 mins to the location.

Solo travelling Tenerife

Squealing in delight I swerve around the cars and through the wind from one ‘calle’ to another knowing my sounds are muffled under the safety helmet. With my silk over-shirt dancing in the wind I feel wild and free, I feel alive.

A 125cc scooter is my current fave method of transport whilst travelling, followed by my two feet either hiking, walking or the occasional early morning jog through the empty city streets.

Sant Josep, Ibiza – monthly rented finca. March 2023

Explore Ibiza travelling

All the shades of blue as I stare out of the oval shaped scratched window. Lips closed, my forefinger and thumb pinching my nose I exhale, relieved to hear clear sounds once again. The dark blue hue shifts to turquoise, flying so low I can almost see the individual ripples of water over the Balearic sea. The salt flats to the right have just come into focus before touchdown on the white Isle.

Many people think of Ibiza as the wild, crazy party island, for most of my 20’s, that too was my narrative. My days of tiptoeing out of a club at 7am in a fragile state hiding behind huge sunglasses like they were an invisible blanket are long gone. I do not miss them.

Ibiza in March is a different travel experience. A majority of the beach clubs and shops are closed thus the island is in its own kind of hibernation.

Travel and living here when the temperatures are 20°C by day and 13° by night feels like a private island for me to explore. Hiking to the top of Sa Talaia (the highest point on the island) and admiring the panoramic views is possible without blistering midday summer heat. Al fresco sunset dinners at beautiful restaurants have the availability to be spontaneous on the day. The immaculate white beaches featured in summer snaps are now a little more rugged and raw dressed in Posidonia Oceanica seaweed. The distinct island aroma combining scents of fresh pine and juniper waft in the afternoon air.

Island life brings a sense of calm to my being, I feel at home. An inner comfort that I haven’t felt since moving out of London in 2020.

Ibiza travelling

How do I define travelling: The start of Remote working and Digital Nomad lifestyle.

Today I see travelling as my way of life, not as something I do or enjoy every so often. More like a continuous exploration, seeking to discover and learn from the world around me. Feeding my curiosity has led me to this Balearic island with a creative international community, Spanish culture and language.

Thanks to the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021, the way people work has shifted dramatically. Digital Nomad visa’s are popping up in several European countries including Spain which I am in the process of obtaining, following the guidelines outlined on the government website. However, at the time of writing I have faced two major obstacles; the first being, obtaining an NIE number. Will document this in my next blog post, (link to follow). The second obstacle has been my Spanish language proficiency. 

Thanks to Lengalia, my language skills are improving and I’m able to understand more within the context of a conversation. However, my ability to reply is stunted due to vocabulary or speed of recalling words. I have an apologetic sentence nailed before asking if the other person speaks English, to not come across as ignorant!

Perdoname, mi español es muy malo, pero estoy aprendiendo. ¿Hablas ingles?

I don’t want to be that ‘Brit’, who speaks English and expects the whole world to follow their Mother tongue. Firstly, it’s not my vibe and secondly to be able to speak Spanish fluently is on my bucket list!

Debo esforzarme más para aprender español.

How do you define travelling?

  • How do you define travel today?
  • Has your idea of travel changed as the world around us changes?
  • Has your idea of travel changed from your first experience of travel?

Final Thoughts:

I recognise the paradox of our interconnected online world doesn’t translate to the physical world. Borders are open to the fortunate ones with money, the right job or the right circumstances yet closed to millions of people who are forced to travel long and dangerous journeys due to war and climate change. I am aware of my privilege today yet recognise that prior to 2020 my British passport was far more valuable. It humbles me as I realise the frustration of navigating visa’s that so many international London friends have experienced. I was naive and oblivious until now. 

How I see travel today and moving forward: I am grateful for my privilege being born in the UK and will take advantage of the options I have with the awareness that so many people my age and younger do not have the same opportunities. 

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