A traveller’s thoughts on trust

Authenticity, Health and Wellness Travel, Life Lessons, mindfulness, Self-discovery

I trust people far too easily. It’s something I’m working on right now. Being vulnerable and honest are skills that come natural to me. Actually, I think they’re both traits that attract a lot of good people into my life. But at the same time, they tend to invite a lot of selfish asshats into my life as well.

These leechy people are ones that seem to be drawn to individuals that shine a bright light, simply because theirs is so dim. Us light shiners and energy providers give far too much of ourselves to these people because it’s naturally what we do. We want everyone to be smiling, to feel good and to be their best selves, and we trust that we won’t get taken advantage of while offering up so much of our souls to others.

After travelling more and more, I’m getting better at weeding out the leeches and offering trust and vulnerability to those who’ve earned it and will happily extend it back to me. Trust should be reciprocal.

I’m not perfect though. I’m still learning. Within the last few months, I’ve let my wisdom slip and have fallen back on old patterns, catching myself only after feeling betrayed. But that’s okay. It’s all in the name of learning and self-discovery. It takes time to break old habits, but recognition is key, isn’t it?

The thing about trust is, it’s not as cut and dry as the old adage makes it out to be.

“Trust should be earned.”

From what my short life has taught me thus far, that’s not always true. Like my most recent slip up, when the person in question did take time to earn my trust but still broke it quite harshly regardless.

Or, in a good way, when friends of friends of friends I’ve never met have opened their homes to me, trusting a total stranger. These are some of the most valuable friendships I have, and we put trust in each other without every even having really spoken.

I think what I’m learning about trust is, more importantly than allowing someone to earn your trust, you should always trust your gut. Every single time my insides have told me something, they’ve been 100% right.

“Don’t go out with this group, they’re weird.” They did turn out to be weird.

“Leave this party NOW. It’s not your scene.” It did very much turn out to not be my scene.

“This chick seems manipulative and toxic.” That chick did turn out to be both those things.

And then all the times I did listen to it, even when I was scared shitless and unsure:

“Move to Scotland. You’re scared, but it will save you.” It was the single best decision I ever made.

“Quit this job. You can do better, I promise.” And I did. Much better.

“Write that story about your STI for the world to read. You’re going to feel great.” It is still, to this day, what I deem to be my greatest accomplishment and continues to be helpful for people who find it. Not to mention, it launched my writing career and set me on my path now.

So back to trust. If you’re going to trust one thing I write, trust me when I say you should always trust your instincts. Sometimes it’s scary to trust your gut, but thus far, it has kept me safe and presented some pretty fucking incredible opportunities.   

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

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

Health and Wellness Travel, Hiking, Life Lessons, mindfulness, Scotland, United States

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!