Erica Batstone

29 Mar 2013

“We all have fears, but when we have the opportunity to face them, THAT is when the real magic happens!”

Hello, my name is Erica Batstone, I’m 27 years old from the USA and I am currently traveling in New Zealand! My past travels have taken me to South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Canada, England, and Vanuatu. If you would like to contact me, you may do so here. I hope you enjoy reading some of what I’ve learned while on my journey!

If you would like to read more about my adventures, check out my personal travel blog at Discover the Unknown. Cheers!

What stage of life are you in?

Post-College, between Careers (whatever that word means!) 🙂

Why embark on your journey?

To experience a new culture, check out new scenery, to challenge myself, to meet new people and learn something new.

What are some of your goals while traveling?

My goals while traveling are to challenge myself, discover what drives me, connect with travelers and locals, and practice fully trusting God. I have consciously not planned many of the steps I have taken as a way to surrender my plans to God and allow Him to work in my life. I have found that by doing that, my experiences have been much more fulfilling than I could’ve ever imagined. Another goal has been to discover what it is that I want to pursue in my life; where I want to focus my energy. From event planning to teaching dance, I have lots of aspirations in different areas of life, but for now, I am most content exploring this beautifully connected world.

What were some of your fears about traveling before you left?

Being alone/loneliness, missing loved ones, fear of the unknown, and sleeping in unfamiliar places.

How do you feel you have faced those fears during your trip?

Now that I am 9 months into my travel through New Zealand, I have faced many of my fears. I used to fear that I would have difficulty sleeping in hostels and in sharing rooms with multiple males and females, but I have overcome that with experience. I no longer experience anxiety about not sleeping well because I trust that no matter how much sleep I get, I will be able to function the next day and be OK. Traveling has given me so much more confidence and I am now able to see what I am capable of when put in challenging situations. When I first started my trip, I had no idea what I was doing, where I was going to go and how I was going to get there. Now I have a car, have worked multiple jobs, am well connected around the country, and I have made amazing friends along the way. I now feel like I can get into my car and go wherever, whenever I want! It’s such a liberating feeling that took time, but I am now experiencing great freedom in it! We all have fears, but when we have the opportunity to face them, THAT is when the real magic happens and we discover our true selves!

Have you dreams of what you might do with your live changed as a result of traveling?

I am an entrepreneur at heart and have been inspired by people and the NZ culture to create certain ideas for businesses I could bring to the world. Some of my dreams have remained the same while others have changed.
The biggest change has come with my confidence. Since being on this solo trip, I have really begun to sink into my passions and have built more confidence to pursue my dreams personally and professionally.

What are 3 significant things you have learned while being on your adventure?

1. The secret is in trusting the process especially as a solo traveler. Consciously not over planning and letting your interactions with others help inspire your next move or job is one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned while traveling.

2. You will get used to it. No matter how uncomfortable something may seem initially, with time and patience, you will get comfortable and adjust to the environment. This is important to remember because your environment will change frequently if you plan to travel around any given country. Remain calm and flexible.

3. Embrace YOUR Journey. When you are constantly traveling and meeting new people in hostels and around town, you will hear lots of different stories about adventures and all the wonderful places each person has been. I find that I sometimes would start comparing my life and journey to theirs and it would usually leave me questioning the path I was taking and reevaluating it. This is a feeling I did not enjoy and I had to continually remind myself that we are all on unique journeys and we are all exactly where we are meant to be. Through these interactions, I have added a few more countries onto my list to experience, but besides that, I have decided to be at peace with where I’ve been, where I’m at, and where the future may lead me.

What advice could you give others who are considering taking some time off to explore themselves and the world?

Just do it. For years, I waited around for that friend or man to come into my life to share an overseas adventure with. As I began to realize that my 20’s were slowly approaching, I decided there was no better time than NOW. I set my focus on New Zealand and spent the next 6 months stewing up ideas for my trip. At the same time, I was entering a career path that I have been wanting for years in event management/planning. I went through many feelings of uncertainty as I thought out my dream trip, but in the end I went with where my heart was leading me; to New Zealand!
Everyone creates their own unique story, some of you may be settled into a career or a house or even have a growing family. At this point in my life, I had none of this. I was completely free of any huge commitments and I knew I wanted to break out of the norm and fulfill my dreams of travel before I settled down. On the other hand, if you are in any of these situations and you have the travel itch that just won’t go away, there is no doubt that you can still pursue these dreams. You just have to get creative. If you find yourself to be one of these people, contact me and I’d love to get your wheels spinning!

Were there any quotes that motivated you along the way?

The quote the kept me motivated before my trip was:
“It is in all of us to defy expectations, to go into the world and to be brave and to want, to need, to hunger for adventures; to embrace change and chance and risk so that we may breathe and know what it is to be free.” Mae Chevrette
Now that I am on the adventure, one of my favorite quotes is:
“Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”-Helen Keller
I love this! It keeps me motivated and wanting to explore more and more!

What are the top three countries you would like to travel to next?

India, Thailand, Italy