Follow your dreams – one year on from graduation

issy gaulSo it was official, after three long, hard years of studying Outdoor Adventure Education at Marjon University, I had finally submitted my last assignment and was ready to start my life in the big-wide world – literally. The first question you ask yourself when you are about to leave university is ‘what now?’… for me, this was simple. The chains had finally been released, no more deadlines and no more priorities… It was time to start travelling again. Something I had greatly missed whilst at University.  

Before I began University, I thought I knew the person I was and anyone who tried telling me differently, I would argue with. Yet after studying these past three years at Marjon, I was able to discover my passions in life and also realised that life is too short to do the things you don’t enjoy. After studying adventure, it was only natural to crave something extremely adventurous… What better way than to cycle like a nomad with my camping gear around Europe?  

I decided not to waste any time, with a one-way flight booked to Romania, leaving in just two weeks after my final essay deadline. My best friend Nathan and I had made the decision a few months ago to cycle from Romania back to London with fold-up bikes and camping equipment. It was an exciting prospect and a summer full of adventure.  

The two weeks passed by quickly and the closer it got to the 2nd of June, the more nervous I began to feel about the trip… Was I ready to live in a tent for three months? Will cycling around Europe with a fold-up bike be too difficult? I wonder how often and where we will shower? Are we going to get drenched by rain? Are we going to want to kill each other? These were all questions that sparked to my mind and kept me awake at night. We had travelled a lot in the past before, but never had we done a cycle tour this large or slept in a tent this long.  

camping gear

University had prepared us well for this trip. We knew a great deal about the type of equipment we should buy, how to read a map, how to survive in the wild and also about the importance of the natural landscape for the mind, body and soul. One thing I had learnt throughout the degree was the importance of reflection. I had purchased my diary and was prepared to document the entire trip – reflecting on the day and jotting down my angry feelings – if necessary.  

During those three and a half months, we cycled Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and finally France ( watch the journey here). It was perhaps one of the biggest tests we had ever endured. We were constantly tired, but high on life and adventure. There were days when we cycled in 45-degree heat, wondering if we were going to die from dehydration and there were days when it was freezing, the rain never stopped and we thought we were going to die of hypothermia. There were times when we completely misjudged the distance and got stuck in the mountains with no food or water and there were definitely times when we wanted to kill each other. Despite the trip having its ups and down, another aspect we had learnt at university is you always learn something from experience. We came back from the trip, feeling like we had completed one of the biggest adventure challenges of our life…  

What is next you may wonder? Well that would be pursuing my dreams further and a lifetime full of even more adventure. After returning I began looking at ways at how to make money constantly and still travel. I worked hard on my travel blog (currently now on 11,000 followers and increasing) and I applied for a TEFL course.

The following winter I travelled South East Asia as a solo budget traveller and then made the conscious decision to travel and work in Australia. During this time, I realised you never stop learning things about yourself and you never really know what life is going to throw at you – good and bad.

The advice I would give to future students or graduating students is to follow your dreams and what your heart tells you. Don’t be a sheep and follow the crowd. You only have one life to make the right decision in life. The truth is, if you truly want something, then you can achieve it. Nothing is too ambitious. Money doesn’t make you happy (unless that is your dream), following your dreams is what makes you happy.

If you fancy following my adventures and seeing whereabouts I am in the world. You can visit my website, many of my social media platforms and watch my videos on YouTube – Just type in Nissy Adventure, AKA Non-stop Issy Adventure and you will find me or just click this link to arrive straight to my homepage.

issy and nathan

About the guest blogger: Issy Kuhle graduated in 2017 and runs the successful Nissy Adventure budget travel blog.

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