Alex- The little cat that decided to throw in a desk job and leave her home town of Sydney to snowboard in Japan. She’s a writer and adventurer that seeks steep mountains, deep waters, rowdy nights and friendly cats.

Alex has been chasing the wilderness since 2014 and has no plans on stopping.

She has recently gone on a 2 week road trip along the coast of Australia with three friends who also spend their time chasing the snow and all met during the past winter season at Thredbo Resort, NSW. As they were sitting around the campsite one night, the question “Why travel?” was brought up in conversation. 

They came up with 5 reasons that are so incredibly true. Here’s the story:

When my friends come to me with their troubles I often give them the same advice: travel.

Sick of your current situation? Move cities.

Dog died? Take a road trip.

Broke up with your boyfriend? Find a new one in Norway.

Hungry? Book a plane ticket. Or, you know, eat a doughnut and then book a plane ticket.

Basically just get out and go, stat.

But why? How would this help anyone? Well I know it helped me.

Little Cat’s Story in a Nutshell

In 2014 I quit my clever, ‘career’ job, packed up my things and said goodbye to my cat before getting on a plane to Japan. I didn’t know how long I was going for but I knew I could no longer exist with a regular 9-6 life. Instead, I moved to the place I always daydreamed about – Nozawa Onsen.

I spent 9 months in a remote village where few people spoke English and I was one of only two foreigners for 3 months until the snow fell. Here, I survived changing jobs, moving houses, being sick and injured, getting lost and generally having no idea what was going on. It wasn’t easy. But it made me realise I could do it.

So now I tell my friends to travel because you discover just how autonomous you are. You can strike out on your own and you’ll do just fine. And that’s a powerful, and empowering, thing.

But this isn’t the only reason why you should travel. And you shouldn’t just take a random street cat’s word for it. I decided to ask some fellow travellers why they are always on the move.

Accessories to Adventure

Some of you know I recently returned from two weeks of road tripping and camping up the east coast of Australia. Camping in tight quarters with four people, often without showering for days, always on the go, regularly short on money and in the car for long periods…you’d think we’d get pretty sick of each other’s company. But no.

I was with three equally odd and adventurous compadres. Before we get their advice, let me introduce our characters:

  1. Mark “bread loaf” Pettit (so named because he once smelt like bread). The youngest, and perhaps most reckless (and that’s saying something) member of the team. Camping and sport extraordinaire with a military background and strange love of fire and coffee.
  2. Mel “smelly cat” Campbell (she’s not really smelly, it’s from the Friends song). A truly confusing character who is sensible and organising our camp sites one minute, then tripping over things and forgetting where she left her wallet the next. Pole dancing femme fatale who is frequently without a top or pants. Or both.
  3. Scott “alien” Beacom (he never farts and thus must be extraterrestrial). Horrifically loud and hilarious person that suggests most dangerous activities, like surfing, skim boarding and sky diving. Terrible combination with Mark. Kept in check by Mel. Often engaged in verbal and physical confrontation with myself. His expertise in skating and wood chopping is the only reason we keep him around.
  4. Alex “the cat” Parsons. Yours truly, the ever-meowing offspring of cats and dragons that is just as likely to kick you in the face as curl up in your lap. Always hungry, with a terrible habit of staring at the sky before wandering off and falling asleep in a tree.

So one day I was sitting with my fellows in a campsite at Broken Head (between Ballina and Byron Bay), and I asked them,

“Why travel?”

Here’s what they said:

1.BIG WORLD, SMALL PROBLEMS

riverwash-e1446360873534-300x300“The longer I’m in my home town,” Mel said, “the smaller the world seems. When you’re home you’re like, ‘I have nothing to wear!’ but when you travel you don’t care. Or you think you have too many clothes!”

Like looking at the stars, travel makes you realise how big the universe is and just how small you and your problems are in comparison. You’ll see so many people along the way, all with their own lives and concerns. So why sweat the small stuff?

2. LONER TIME

Some people travel to make new friends from all over the world. Some people don’t. I asked an alien why he travels:

“To be alone,” Scott offered.

Scott spent a lot of alone time in Singapore when he worked there as an 18 year old engineer for almost a year, and later in Abu Dhabi for 8 months.

He explained that being alone made him realise what it washe wanted, rather than trying to keep anyone else happy.

I can understand that. When I moved to Nozawa Onsen I only had one English-speaking person to talk to for three months. And he wasn’t very talkative. Yet I revelled in that time and learned a lot about myself, the habits of my body and mind, when there weren’t others around to deal with. I believe being alone is how we find our true selves.

3. WHAT EVERYBODY WANTS- TO BE FREE

Mark walked over to the tents from the shower block while we discussed.

“Why travel?” I asked him.

And without a moment of hesitation he said, “Freedom. I can do what I want.”

Travel makes you feel like you can go anywhere and do anything. You don’t have anything tying you down. No kids, no house, often no solid job to drag you back. It’s both liberating and a little terrifying. But true travellers love it.

4. ADVENTURE CALLS

Why do I travel? All of these reasons, but more than anything it’s for adventure. I am at my happiest when I’m on the go, experiencing new things and using my body to run around and see all the beauty in the world.

I do terribly when I’m at home, seeing the same things every day. Stagnating. I’ve recognised this pattern in my life – stop me moving, keep me in the same place with the same routine (school, work, suburban life), and my mental health suffers. Let me choose my own path, and I’ll skip along it with the biggest grin on my face.

totheocean-300x3005. APPRECIATE WHAT YOU’VE GOT

Of course, constant travel is not for everybody. You have to be ok with instability, with chaos, with being poor and making do. You will miss your family and friends and pets. You’ll miss having a room to call your own, a comfy bed and regular meals. You will not get everything you want. But then you’ll realize what you really need.

When you return home (if you have one) or have access to the small luxuries of life, you really appreciate it. During our road trip we’d sometimes camp in remote areas with no facilities, without access to a shower or running water for a few days. We were salty from ocean swims, with feet that could never get clean. But when it finally came time for a hot shower, (even in a dingy, public shower block) it felt like Christmas.

Travel makes you realise what you’ve got. What you’ve taken for granted all this time. What us humans made you think you needed or deserved. But we’ve created all these life indulgences.

“All you really need is food and shelter,” said Mel. “So why stress?”

Keep travelling,

Little Cat

Like stories from Little Cat? Check out her blog here: http://www.bigworldlittlecat.com/