5 reasons why I travel

1:To feel anonymous

There’s something incredibly freeing about being in a place where you know absolutely no one, especially when you first move to a new city. The streets are yours and you can be whoever you want to be. That’s cheesy as fuck, but it’s completely true. Your mistakes are behind you, your insecurities can be dead if you want them to be, and you have a world of opportunities for growth, change and movement at your toes. 

2: To hike  

Hills and mountains and forests and water understand me better than I understand myself. Okay, okay, I know I’m being dramatic. But really, hiking is the one activity that always gives me the space to do the deep thinking I need to heal old wounds and rediscover myself. As a kid, walking into the woods playing pretend with my family and friends always brought me so much joy. So, it makes sense that I feel most full when I do so as an adult. I smile with my whole body when I’m hiking – happiness radiates from my eyeballs to my ankles, and that’s pretty special. 

3: To challenge my expectations

I can’t tell you how many times my expectations of places have been absolutely shattered after visiting. Krakow, Poland, blew my mind. People are incredibly kind, it’s lively, and it’s surrounded by nature that’s easily accessible. London, England, beat my patience out of me all three times I visited, though I expected to fall head over heels for its hustle and bustle. While everyone told me that I’d love Berlin, Dresden was the German city that really captivated me. And then of course there’s L.A., a place I was told was full of dirt, grime, and all manner of atrociousness. In the end, it stole my heart. Travelling has taught me to enter into new experiences with a clear mind and to erase all preconceived notions of what things might be and should be. 

4: To meet new people

The lessons I’ve learned from travelling over the last few years have almost all come from the people I’ve met. During this whole quarantine situation, I’m valuing the many people I’ve met during my travels more than ever. Different cultures have different opinions and mindsets than your own, and until you meet someone who comes from somewhere else, you’re ignorant to so much. If you know me, you know how damned chatty I am. It does a girl good while she’s on the move. From entrepreneurs to hitchhikers to musicians to artists, I’ve spoken to so many people of so many ages from so many places, and it’s really impacted how I interact with the world around me and formed my opinions on so many things.

5: To meet more of myself

Tori Dudys: she’s probably one of the coolest people I’ve ever met. She’s empathetic, compassionate, smart, ambitious, vocal, opinionated, fierce, a bit lazy at times, creative, inventive, strong, scared a lot, often confused, rough around the edges, and forever fascinated by new things. 

It’s okay to love yourself and accept your flaws, and the best way to discover what these are is to move forward – and sometimes backward if you must. I think maintaining a state of growth is all we can do to soak up as much as we can from this world. Before I started travelling, I was lost. I had no sense of who I was or what I wanted from life. I was depressed and constantly felt stuck. I was lucky enough to have the support I needed to push myself forward into new worlds, and I’m incredibly grateful for these opportunities. They’ve brought me back to myself, and ultimately saved my life.

Now, when I travel, I always meet new sides of myself. Whether it’s discovering a new passion or realizing I’m more resourceful than I give myself credit for, I’m always surprised to find new facets of my personality and soul. 

When I’ll get to travel again is uncertain but reflecting on past trips makes it easier to visualize things to come. I WILL finish those hikes I’ve planned. I WILL encounter new people. I WILL find more of myself. But until then, maybe there’s something in learning to stand still for a while. Being in one place for a long time makes me uncomfortable, and I’ve always found our most significant growth comes from a place of complete discomfort.  

My first ever multi-day hike | Preparing for the West Highland Way

A quick shot of me during a pit stop on a drive through the west Highlands

I’m doing it—finally. I’m hiking the West Highland Way in September, and as of now, I’m doing it alone.

Am I scared? Yes. I spent one night in the wilderness alone once and shit myself. But it was worth it. The self-confidence I gained from taking the plunge and wild camping alone continues to radiate from me to this day. So, I can only imagine what 8 days will do for me.

What’s the West Highland Way?

That’s right. I’ll be hiking and wild camping for 8 days straight through the west Highlands of Scotland. The West Highland Way is a trail that begins near Glasgow and extends for 154 km up to Fort William (aka the most beautiful place on Earth). It attracts around 80,000 people every year, of whom more than 30,000 walk the full route.

Although I’ve never actually walked any of the trails that are part of the WHW, I have been to a few of the destinations I’ll be seeing throughout the hike and let me tell you, I am far beyond excited to be back. Scottish scenery is some of my favourite. The green is lusher than any other green I have ever seen, and the endless supply of grassy hills and forest could steal the breath of even the most cynical urbanite.

Why am I putting myself through this?

As terrified as I am to stay overnight alone in the wilderness, nothing in this life has brought me more joy than a good hike. That said, I’ll see if I still feel that way after 8 days of hiking (or 7, depending on how much work I do on my cardio before then). No movie, book, TV show, job, game or any other distraction has fulfilled my soul and balanced my mental health the way nature can. So, needless to say, trekking into the wild for a wee while is a no-brainer.

Also, it’s a goal of mine to complete a proper through-hike by the time I’m 35—that’s one of those massive months long expeditions you hear crazy nature buffs and hippies attempt (examples include the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail which take six and three months to conquer respectively). I feel like my upcoming Scottish spirit quest is a good stepping-stone to that eventual adventure. The hiking isn’t too difficult on the WHW, and the wild camping is pretty straightforward. There aren’t any real predators in Scotland (minus badgers and angry sheep) and I think they only have one type of poisonous snake, maybe. In comparison to the other massive trails in the US—the PCT goes from the Mexican border all the way up the west coast to the Canadian border—the WHW is no big deal.

What do I have to do to prepare?

In short, A LOT. But what would I have to write about for the next seven months if I gave it all away right now? Some blog posts to come: fitness prep, buying a new backpack, figuring out how to filter water, hesitations with shitting in the ground, and more. Be sure to check back soon!