A few years ago, I (Sophie Pearce) had it all. A boyfriend, apartment a well-paid job. I was living as society expected me to and that was great. Everything was going to plan and I felt like I was on the right path…
But then, the partner that I thought I was going to be with for life and I broke up. I was a female living alone and on one salary, I couldn’t afford to pay the bills. I just kept thinking ‘Surely, there is more to life than this?’
I ended up moving back in with my parents and decided I would save for another house. I worked a desk job which was soul-depleting but I needed the money. Then, one day, I came across a female travel blog and my wanderlust was set off!
Instead of saving to get a house. I ended up saving my money to travel and then I took a career break and went on my first backpacking trip for 6 months around South East Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. It was the best 6 months of my life with my best friend Jess. Living on the road with a shell on my back, hardly any money, making friends and seeing new things.
Although I returned home to the UK, my heart was still with travelling. It’s funny but when you return to your hometown after 6 months of seeing the world, you can’t shut your eyes to it. You need to have that wanderlust in your life.
I was at my desk again with this insatiable wanderlust and started to ask my friends if they wanted to travel. A lot of them were busy, didn’t have the money or time and some were getting married and having babies. But, I knew I wanted so much more out of my life.
So, I booked my first solo trip to Marrakech in Morocco. It was for one week. I had never been travelling solo before and so I was petrified. My heart was beating so fast but I had the BEST time!! It was so good, I could do what I wanted when I wanted and I actually met more people than when I travelled with friends.
From there, I started to book more solo travel trips and booked them at the same time as working. I visited Budapest, Prague, Dublin, Paris, and Iceland all solo.
One day, when I was working at my desk job checking out the company’s job ad’s, an opening came up for an opportunity to live and work as an expat in India. Being a travel enthusiast and wanting more out of my life than being in the rat race, I decided to apply. I didn’t know if I had the skills required but I knew I could try. Anything, to leave my hometown of Swindon.
By some miracle, I got the job and so begun my nine beautiful month contract in India! I couldn’t believe the lease of life it gave me. Working but also travelling full-time in a country not my own.
I instantly felt at home in India and so began my adventures there. I couldn’t believe the diversity, vibrancy, and life that runs through India’s veins. It was so different to the UK.
Despite the media warnings and the challenges I thought I would face, I ended up travelling solo to almost all the locations I have been to in India including;
Varanasi, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Pushkar (for camel fair and Holi), Shimla, Mathura, Amritsar, Udaipur, Pondicherry, Hampi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Lucknow etc.
Although I know that things could easily go wrong, I haven’t felt unsafe anywhere I’ve gone. I think it would be great to promote travel in India for women. As it’s an amazing once in a lifetime experience.
My contract has finished in India in June 2017 and I have decided to follow my heart. I’m going to quit my job to try and make a successful travel blog business. I just think life is so short and you may as well have a go at trying something you love and getting paid for it!
Fast forward today and I have travelled to over 30 countries, many of them solo (including, Turkey, Iceland, Morocco, Russia) and it has been one hell of a ride! I’ve been skydiving, bungee jumping, scuba diving, camel riding, cliff diving and abseiled down waterfalls. None of this could happen if I decided to stay behind my desk.
This time, I want to go to off the beaten track places in the North/North East of India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal etc. 🙂
So that’s my story! I just feel that, for women, there is a different way to live your life. You can travel and collect passport stamps rather than pay for a home loan or change baby nappies. Not that there is anything wrong with that choice if you want it, but at least for women today there is a choice you can make! You have that power.