Should you travel? Of course! Learning from nine years of Not A Ballerina

Think back nine years. In other words, cast your mind back to the faraway year of 2005. Where were you and what were you doing?

Nine years ago in Germany …

I know exactly what I was doing on this day in 2005. I was sitting at a funny little wooden Ikea desk in my apartment in Heilbronn, Germany, setting up a blogspot account and creating Not A Ballerina. If you had told me then that nine years later I would still be writing Not A Ballerina (although not on blogspot, and not at my desk in Heilbronn), and that not only that, it would be one of the ways I generate an income, then I would have been rather incredulous, I’m sure.

If you’ve been to one of my blogging courses (oh yes, there’s that too: who knew that starting Not A Ballerina would lead to me teaching hundreds of Perth people how to start their own blogs?!), you will know that when I started this blog, I really had no idea what a blog was. Nine years ago, I bet nearly all of you didn’t either. In dog years, that’s 63 years ago, but I reckon in blog years it’s more like 163. Things have changed dramatically since then.

But on to the travelling part …

But enough about blogging itself, because Not A Ballerina is all about travelling, right? So I wanted to address the single most often-asked question that I’ve got since I started my blog. Well, it’s not always phrased as a question, but I have had many hundreds of people contact me over the past nine years with variations on this theme: should I travel?

Often they are asking me for advice on how they can “make the break” and head off for some serious travel. They might want to know about earning some money as they travel, or whether they should travel even if their partner doesn’t want to. Some even have the foresight to think about what will happen when they return from their travels, and in retrospect I have advice on careers after you travel, although at the time I hadn’t given it the slightest thought – I just wanted to travel! But a lot of it comes down to wanting some reassurance that this trip or that adventure they’re planning is, after all, a good idea, despite what well-intentioned people around them might say. (Numerous people advise me against nearly every trip I plan – it’s part of life, apparently!)

My answer is below. In summary: there is very, very, very rarely a reason to NOT travel.

Should you travel? - Celebrating nine years of the Not A Ballerina travel blog

Should you travel? The answer is always yes!

Convincing the world to travel

As I get older (because, annoyingly, as my blog gets older, it seems that I do too) I get bolder about telling people what I think. And what I think about travel is: everybody should do it. A lot. As much as possible, in fact. Travel teaches you SO much, not just about other countries and cultures (which is good in itself) but about you, your values, your thoughts, your ambitions, your relationships, basically everything important.

Now that I’m hyper-focused on making Not A Ballerina a successful blog (well, as hyper-focused as one can be with a four-year-old son in part-time kindergarten), I am hoping to become even more bold about convincing everyone in the world to go travelling.

Young people: go travelling!

I get a lot of emails from young people – some still in high school, others already at college or university – wondering how they can go and see the world. It’s like there’s this part of them that feels compelled to travel, even though they sometimes can’t really explain why. Sometimes they tell me that their parents object to them travelling; other times they’re concerned because nobody wants to go with them. Or they just have no experience on the road and want to know about how to decide what to see in Europe or how long they should travel for. I love helping these people and I hope, if you’re one of them, that I can set you up for a lifetime of travelling fun.

Parents: take your kids travelling!

My parents gave me a massively important experience at the age of nine – they pulled my sister and I out of school for six months and took us on a campervan trip around Europe. I have no doubt at all that this set me up to be the travel lover I am today. And now, as the mother of a four-year-old, I’m determined to help him see the value of travelling, too. I was so happy to read in Tsh Oxenreider’s first post on her new blog, The Art of Simple Travel, this week, that she feels the same, and quite strongly – let me quote Tsh:

I will boldly say that I think you should leave your home country as a family at least once in your life, and to do what you can to make it happen. Are you a bad parent if you don’t? Of course not … But you’re missing out if you don’t. Believe me. There’s something about traveling to a different culture with your kids that changes you, bonds you, and shapes your family culture like nothing else. It’s worth every penny and potential headache, and you’ll never know what it’s like unless you go.

Truly a woman after my own heart. I have taken my son travelling numerous times already, but it’s more than that – when we’re at home, I try to encourage him to think about the wonders of travel, and to be excited by other cultures and languages, and be always planning the next trip. And I hope to encourage a whole bunch of parents to do the same.

Experienced travellers: keep travelling, and keep reminiscing about your travels

Some of my favourite emails and messages come from fellow travellers and ex-pats who have seen a lot of the world and are keen to share some of their own similar experiences. I love that my own tales can help people remember and reflect on their own travel experiences, and perhaps even see them in a new way, and even learn something new from their travels. And of course, we all love to get inspiration for new places to visit, or new ways to see old places, and I totally love the messages I get saying someone has just booked a trip somewhere because of a post they read on my blog. I want to keep giving people those moments of travel inspiration.

Heading towards a decade of Not A Ballerina

This time next year my blog will be reaching its double figures birthday. That seems incredible! I hope we can all think up a really cool way to celebrate that big milestone. In the meantime, thanks for reading, thanks for writing to me and sharing your travel experiences and questions, and please keep doing it. Publishing a blog is pretty satisfying in and of itself, but it sure gets a whole heap better when you hear back from your readers.


  1. Oh, I love this! Such great thoughts here.

  2. You have basically answered all my questions in one!!

    Thank you very much, I’m hoping to go travelling soon 🙂

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