Happy Friday everyone! Today we are getting to know a little more about Suzie. Suzie has a deep passion for travelling, and for languages. Her travels are inspired by her love for language, and it all started at the young age of 16. Come read about her story:
I was 16 years old and looking out the window as my home city of Auckland, New Zealand got smaller and smaller. I was on my way to Spain, and I felt ready for my first big adventure! As I stared out the window, I considered that the next time I saw this city things would be very different. I knew it would be life-changing, but I just wasn’t sure how – yet. Many people asked me how I could just leave and travel at such a young age. What about school? How did I afford it? What did my Mum think? Wasn’t I scared?
I must say that I consider myself to have been very lucky, but I also worked hard to make it possible because I really wanted to go. I got good grades so I could have university entrance without doing the final year of school. I got a part time job and saved up one third of the trip fare (my Dad paid one third and my Mum paid the other). My parents are travellers and they understand that experiencing these things at a young age is very important. I did countless hours of research and eventually found a family that I could work as an Au Pair for in Spain.
I was very lucky, yes, but I was very determined to go, so I made it happen for myself. And I am very glad I did.
For me, my age was normal. I mean, I knew I was young but I felt that I was mature enough to do what I was doing. Unfortunately, this view point wasn’t met by many of the people I met during my travels. So many people I met started a conversation by asking for my age, and then saying “OH my god! You are so brave.” I didn’t feel brave. I just felt normal. I was surprised to find that so many people found what I was doing extraordinary.
When I first left, I admit was scared. The plan was to go and live with this family for six months, learn Spanish and then come back. But to renew by 90 day visa I had to leave Spain and then come back half way through the trip. I booked a flight to Paris, but I was terrified to go by myself. I didn’t know anyone there, and as hard as I tried I couldn’t find anyone who would come and spend the week with me. I would be alone. That’s when I discovered Couchsurfing. Hostels in Paris are not very affordable, so I was glad I found a cheaper alternative, and a way to make friends all in one!
That short trip I feel was the life-changing one. I came back from Paris with a renewed vigor to learn Spanish, and with a newfound love for solo travel!
I ended up changing my return ticket and extending my time in Europe. I got to see Portugal, Italy, and so many beautiful places in Spain. I travelled my own way, meeting people along the way, learning new languages, facing and overcoming challenges, and of course seeing the world! It was liberating, and so easy that I don’t know why I was so scared to try it in the first place!
The moral of the story is: don’t worry about what others think. If you believe you are ready, go for it. And if you’re not sure, try it in a small dose. It might be enough to get you addicted.
That was three years ago, but I still think back to those times, and I still make decisions based on things I learned back then. Now I write about my travels at http://thewanderinglinguist.comif you want to read more of my stories!
Thank you Suzie for being a part of Feature Friday! I loved learning about your story, and I personally think it’s amazing that you discovered your love for solo travel at such a young age. I haven’t tried Couch Surfing yet, nor have I been an Au Pair, but I think it’d be a great opportunity to do both!
Do you have any solo travels that you did at a young age? Or have you been an Au Pair, or used Couch Surfing while travelling? Let us know in the comments!
Did you enjoy what you read? Get to know more about the blogger!
My name is Suzie and I am from New Zealand. I have been an avid traveller since I was 16 years old, when I did my first solo trip. I am passionate about learning languages and immersing myself in cultures everywhere I go. I write a blog about travelling with a focus on learning languages. All I want to do is run my own business, see the world, learn as many languages as I can and write! Connect with Suzie at the following:
12 thoughts on “Feature Friday: Meet Suzie K.”
So wonderful to have parents that support your travel dreams. I’m 33 and married and my mom still gets upset over my love for travel – “Why can’t you just go to Hawaii or somewhere in the US?”.
Thanks for sharing your story. Very inspiring.
Yes, I agree it’s great to have supportive parents. Maybe one day they’ll understand your need to explore! Thanks for taking the time to read 🙂
I know I am really lucky for having parents that ‘get it’! Thank you so much for reading my story, I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂
I, too, reiterate what dejahgatz said about having parents supporting your travel dreams, Suzie! I think that’s great that they are supportive of you and your dreams. Being able to travel worldwide is a good thing, because it helps you appreciate other cultures and other people better. 🙂
Yes, I definitely agree with you. That’s why I love travelling. It’s a chance to open my mind about other places, and other people; a chance to learn so much about the different things the people in this world have to offer.
Wow, I can’t imagine leaving home at such a young age! I’m a bit of a homebody, though 😉
I honestly can’t imagine leaving at that age either! I’m a little of both. I love going out and seeing the world, but I do need my downtime in between to have some time for myself!
What a cool story! I honestly wish I had done this when I was headed to college!
Emma | Seeking the South
That definitely would have been a cool experience to have. You might not be heading off to college now, but it’s never too late to travel! 🙂
Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my story! I am glad it has resonated with some of you, and if you have any questions about my experience, feel free to ask me 🙂
Wow thats such a motivating story about going out there and seeing the world! I hope to do that one day!
I hope you’re able to do that one day as well 🙂