Well, as you may have gathered from my blog title, I'm Gem(ma) and I want to be an explorer!
Ok, realistically exploring for me is not quite going to be like the explorers of old. (I'm getting visions of Khaki clad bearded men with rifles hunting tigers in the jungle here). You don't have to go to unmapped territory to be an explorer, you just have to go somewhere new to you. Somewhere you can gain new experiences, try different things, and immerse yourself in a strange culture. That is what exploring to me is all about, discovery.
There's a little explorer inside all of us, and sooner or later we discover it. I grew up listening to tales of my parents travels (they spent a year in the mid 80's traveling in the USA, New Zealand, Australia and Malaysia). Of course they told us the more glamorous or funny stories, such as my mug getting licked by loads of sheep after getting sweaty hiking up a mountain, or a bear snoring outside their tent overnight (they each thought it was the other). These tales have always fascinated me, I want to know more, as I've got older I want tales and stories of my own to tell.
The little explorer first rose in me when I went to Paris with my best friend at the grand old age of 18. It was my first time ever abroad, and my second holiday without parents. It was the first for so many things, my first ever flight, the first time I had to rely more on myself. It was awesome. I will never forget that holiday. The first night we went to the Eiffel tower but it was around dinner time, so my friend and I had dinner and then went up the Eiffel Tower at night. The views were amazing, like nothing I had ever seen and the atmosphere was incredibly romantic. It is very much a cliché but that moment will be with me forever, and the emotion I felt then was the fascinated explorer taking a peek at the big wide world. I have had several lovely holidays since then, but nothing quite as amazing.
Then a few days after my return I was off to Sheffield to do a Biochemistry degree. I made some great friends, got very involved with the University Walking Club, and met a guy. When I graduated I moved to Sheffield permanently, living with said boyfriend, eventually buying a house and working at the University. Then it all fell apart. My relationship ended. My home is being sold. My job has always been contractual and redundancy is more of a threat than it ever has been. I've lived quite a sensible life up to now, and the truth is that while I'm quite happy now being single and independent, having no ties and being free, I want more. I want an adventure. For the first time in most of my adult life I can do exactly what I want to, when I want to, how I want to. Traveling scares me, I won't lie, but the explorer inside is emerging from it's cocoon. I have never been more ready to try and see what happens. SO I'm slowly preparing myself for the eventualities of travel, while tying up lose ends (house) and waiting for huge life events to happen (my sister is getting married later this year), and basically, learning how to transform myself from safe, sensible and boring Gemma into Explorer Gem. I hope you enjoy following my journey as much as I will enjoy taking it.