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Libby's Adventure

I have travelled the globe & seen countless breathtaking sights, but the most beautiful things I've seen were those sometimes brief but everlasting moments of truth & beauty exchanged between friends & lovers

 One of my favourite pictures from the trip: my travel companion Ashlee and I sharing a moment while aimlessly wandering and exploring the quiet backstreets of Montevideo, Uruguay.

One of my favourite pictures from the trip: my travel companion Ashlee and I sharing a moment while aimlessly wandering and exploring the quiet backstreets of Montevideo, Uruguay.

 

it began as a Daydream…
 

 Henry and I in our home, The Granite Palace.

Henry and I in our home, The Granite Palace.

 

If there were ever a time in my life that a symbolic white rabbit led me astray to the wonderland of my own imagination, this particular event comes to mind..

It was mid 2013, and what I recall as one of the happiest periods of my life. I was healthy, had a job I loved, great friends, was in a romantic relationship with someone I adored, was dancing and meditating regularly; everyone knew me as that girl who is always "fabulous".

But my life hadn't always been so fabulous. My life had been transformed after I began attending a weekly meditation circle that was run by my first spiritual mentor, who, after some rather freaky happenings, I was introduced to for a past life regression in late 2012. It turned out to be one of the biggest turning points of my life, but that's a story for another time.  

 

Despite the fact life was better than ever, something was missing.

Now that I seemed to have everything I should want, it was as if a long lost part of me was now whispering to me that there was something else I needed to do… and that the time had come. Adventure was calling my name.

 

It was just an average late afternoon on my usual peak hour train ride home from work, until, as I sat daydreaming out the window, delightful crystal-clear visions of happy summer days and nights spent barefoot wild and carefree in exotic places, came parading into my mind. Moments later they were translated themselves into lyrical words so definitive that I felt I had no other choice but to grab my phone from my bag as quickly as I could to capture them: ‘'I want to get messy, dirty, sticky…climbing, jumping, swinging, dizzy….’'

The words were naughty, but oh so innocent too. And as each line seemed to effortlessly reveal itself to me, I wondered... where was this poetic vision coming from? Nothing like this had ever happened to me before. 

Was I just so sick of seeing the same boring things every day? Sick of walking down the same streets, seeing the same people, catching the same trains and eating the same food? Sick of feeling ordinary, dull, and unexpressed in my work uniform… Tired of feeling confined and borderline imprisoned by regular daily life…

I couldn’t remember the last time I felt truly alive on a regular basis.

I couldn't recall the last time I spent all night watching shooting stars or the last time I merrily ran down a beach in uncontrollable laughter. The magic, mystery and ecstasy I knew the world had to offer seemed long lost to me. 

And now I needed to feel it.

Suppressed feelings of boredom and confinement were now rising to the surface and bubbling over, uncontrollably, releasing and expressing itself as poetry. 

 

As soon as I got home I carefully copied it into my diary like I had just channeled a divine prophecy. I was so proud; my first organic poem (not forced during school), one that reflected my burning desire for adventure, freedom, lightheartedness, playfulness, joy, intimacy and to live in the present moment.

 
 

I was already in the process of devising a one way ticket round-the-world travel adventure, but this new poetic vision had just added fuel to the fire: my distant and uncertain adventure now felt imminent and real. And my poem would be my unofficial checklist of must-have experiences, my subconscious wish-list to the universe.  

Quitting my job, packing a suitcase and adventuring solo into the big wide world was something I'd fantasied about since I was a teenager, but I didn't see this trip as just the usual gap year break or "holiday" before going "back to reality". It was intended to be the beginning of a complete lifestyle change. The beginning an exciting new era of freedom and fulfilment. Something had awoken in me and now I was determined to fulfil my deepest purpose. I just had to figure out that that was.

I was also feeling rebellious to "the system". I'd begun questioning everything I was raised to believe: everything my parents taught me, everything I learned in school and from pop culture, movies, magazines and television. 

'Surely there is another way to live', I thought.

For many years after I’d finished high school I tried playing by the rules, doing things the "right way": working as an Executive Assistant at a Stockbroking Firm, I desperately wanted to be able to walk down the street in my suit and feel respectable, sophisticated, educated and worthy. But the truth was, I felt like a fraud. Although to others it appeared as though I had my shit together, deep down I knew that I didn’t belong there.

I soon came to see that money, power, nice things and social status don't necessarily create happiness or fulfilment, and that being really busy isn't actually cool. I started caring less about pleasing my parents and impressing my peers, and more about what would actually make me feel alive. I wanted to do something that I truly believed in. Something that excites and thrills me. Something that will make the world a better place.

I didn't want my passion and enthusiasm for life to keep diminishing as the years rolled by. I didn't want to become just another depressed zombie who fills peak hour trains every day and robotically distracts themselves with news feeds and mindless games. I didn't want to become so stuck in the rat race that I forgot who I really was. I didn't want to sell my soul for money or social status and wind up becoming that sad chick who brags about her designer goods to make other sad chicks jealous. I knew that I’d have nothing to my name at the end of my travel adventure, but I didn't care: I trusted the immeasurable value of travel, free time and self-discovery

 I spent over a year saving money and researching the places and events I wanted to explore and experience. The plan was to spend a summer in Europe and just before the Autumn became too cold for comfort, I would fly to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to begin my journey through South and Central America, all the way up to California.

 Mr brother David & I chill between flights on our way to London in the 1990s.

Mr brother David & I chill between flights on our way to London in the 1990s.

I started taking Latin dance classes, completed a TESOL qualification (teaching English to speakers of other languages), and renewed my Swiss passport: giving me a world of options. I wanted to be open to all possibilities and if I fell in love with any place or person, I was prepared to stay and never return.

I wanted to feel as free as possible, with no commitments, no responsibilities and no expectations. And most of all, I wanted time. Lots of it. Time to lose and find myself. I was ready to be challenged, tested and changed. 

 Sampson and I, days before leaving for our big adventure.

Sampson and I, days before leaving for our big adventure.

 

Having practically grown up on a plane, I considered myself to be well travelled. But I'd never travelled on a solo one-way adventure just going going with the flow. Nor had I ever stayed in a hostel.

Thinking I was a total travel pro, I bought an expensive Samponsite suitcase and packed it full of the most ridiculously useless things like a complete amateur.  And so, armed with dozens of hair ribbons and accessories, twenty sets of fake eyelashes (I never used one pair), and a preposterous amount of impractical clothes and beauty products, I naively headed on my glittery quest for love, truth and beauty, like a fool.

 Danielle and I on the first day of our trip in Istanbul by the beautiful Phosphorus river.

Danielle and I on the first day of our trip in Istanbul by the beautiful Phosphorus river.

The first 6 weeks were planned in advance since I would be visiting the most touristic places in Europe during peak season. The rest was left open to all possibilities. Starting off in Istanbul, for five weeks I travelled through Turkey, Greece, Hungary, Croatia and Italy with my friend Danielle. She then returned home while I continued solo up to Amsterdam for a Brazilian Zouk Dance Congress. 

I then met up with my friend Brad and spent the next two months adventuring in Amsterdam and London until the European winter became too close for comfort and I bought a last minute ticket to Buenos Aires to begin "round two" of my trip, alone. 

Travelling South America was incredible rollercoaster of emotions and experiences, that I will always remember fondly. Overall, the thing that I will most remember it for, was “finding my purpose”.

It was not a smooth process. And in a sense, I both lost and found myself in South America, for the more that I seemed to “lose” my sense of self, the more space there was for something else to rise to the surface.

 At the Dutch Zouk Congress 2014 in Breda with new friends Tessa & Angela Argentina, who I met in my hostel dorm room.

At the Dutch Zouk Congress 2014 in Breda with new friends Tessa & Angela Argentina, who I met in my hostel dorm room.

Also, different environments bring out different aspects of us. Especially when you have all the time and freedom in the world: this allows previously unexpressed parts of yourself (the good, bad and the ugly) to show themselves.

Not to mention, when nobody knows who you are, who knows who you may become. 

Of course, this statement doesn’t apply to everyone. Some people just know who they are. And they are the same no matter where they go or what they do. But for everyone else… you just never know what is lurking just below the surface.

For me personally, facing and pushing through my fears (of travelling alone) started to make me feel like I could do anything. I no longer felt so crippled by self doubts or fear of other people's opinions, which was incredibly liberating. Life became surprisingly and delightfully simple; if I felt like saying something, I said it, if I felt like singing, I’d sing, if I felt like stretching, Id stretch, if I felt like skipping down the road, I’d skip and if I felt like dancing... oh, I’d dance. 

Yet, in this curiously paradoxical world, on the other side of the coin I began to see very clearly all the ways that I was still not free. I began to notice how I was paralysed by my unconscious patterns of behaviour. I began to see that true freedom is actually a state of mind. 

When I arrived in South America, I was motivated by my desire for adventure, to discover new places, meet new friends, and party. After a couple of months it all began to lose it’s appeal, and I began feeling more and more lost, until eventually I had no idea which direction to step in. 

I needed more. Something deeper and more meaningful than just a good time.

So I began digging. I began asking new questions. 

 Waiting for a ferry in Hvar, Croatia.

Waiting for a ferry in Hvar, Croatia.

And soon, I began receiving the answers. The gems I'd been looking for. New clues to the puzzle of Libby Griffin. 

And with them a new dream was born within me; a new reason to get out of bed in the morning. I now had a vision that would never fade. A mission I would never quit. A destiny I was born to fulfil. 

But there was a catch. For as I collected the lost pieces of myself, I realised many of them were tarnished: I would need much nursing back to health.

But it didn't worry me: I had found the treasures I'd set out to find. And now I had a light to guide me that would never go out. One that would be there to guide me through the darkness of the rabbit hole.. for what I did not know at the time… was that my journey down to wonderland had only just begun.

Shortly after arriving back in Perth to get started on my new mission, something happened. Something highly controversial.. that would change my world forever and take me down to the deepest and darkest corners of my psyche.

My initiation to wonderland had begun.

And there was no turning back. For we must take the good with the bad and remember: the darker the sky, the brighter the stars.

And besides, it’s going to make one hell of a story.

 

 

 

“Do you feel that?” She asked as we watched the stars and moon illuminate the sea before us. “Tell me you feel it? That longing to not just exist, but to live and to live beautifully?” I, with a smile filled with so much truth it could move the clouds, replied; “of course I feel it… the heart in you is the heart in me”

- Christopher Poindexter

 

 

Want more? Follow me on Instagram: @libbysadventure