Interview with Wandering Everywhere

People love a bullshit quote – as Joe Lycett calls them. Those random and meaningless sayings that pop up on your stories and make you wonder: ‘What the hell does that mean?’ Well, there are a handful of quotes that are not bullshit, that pop into my own head in a moment of need. For example, ‘Be naive enough to start, stubborn enough to finish’ or ‘Travel is a privilege’. This is one of my favourites to mull over; especially when you’re about to be interrogated by a gloved Kyrgyz police officer, or get punched by a drug lord in El Salvador, or get mistreated by an infatuated buffalo. It’s never a bad thing to remind yourself of how fortunate you are to be there in the first place, and most of us are very lucky indeed.

A few weeks ago, I came across the blog of a compatriot called Amy, who runs Wandering Everywhere. She was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2014, an incurable and lifelong illness that causes the inflammation of the digestive system. This manifests itself in a many number of symptoms which could have discouraged her from travelling altogether. Instead, she’s doing the exact opposite. Travelling to every corner of the world and inspiring people, who may or may not be in a similar situation, to do the same. When I read her story, I asked if she would be willing to partake in the briefest of interviews. Fortunately, she said yes. Here are the results…

Hello Amy! Thanks for taking the time to do this – I really appreciate it! Could you start by explaining how important travelling and exploring the world is to your life?

Hello! Well when I was fifteen, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. For the next year, I fell into a great depression and found myself unable to leave the house, or do anything that I loved to do. When I was eventually put on the right medication and was able to properly live again, I made a vow that I would never let my disease control my life. I felt as though I had missed so much of life within that year, that now I do everything I can to never miss a single second again. Travelling is my main motivation, as it shows me so much of the world that I would otherwise miss.

What is the single most important thing you have learnt about yourself whilst on the road?

That I’m not invincible! I often travel into dangerous situations with little regard for my own life – be it by following black bears in the wild, or entering the houses of strangers for a meal just because they offered it on the street. I have always been oblivious to those dangers, until a recent trip to Morocco where I was grabbed on the street and very nearly stabbed with a dirty needle. The second the woman grabbed me, I finally felt fear – something which I often travel without. It was a lesson that I’m not always safe, and that bad things can happen.

When was your Walter Mitty moment? When you decided that a safe existence was not for you?

Back when I was diagnosed with Crohn’s. I spent every waking hour of every day reading travelogues and watching travel movies, and I realised that so many people were missing out on so much. Healthy people my age were getting pregnant and living on council money, and I knew that I would do absolutely anything I could to avoid living a drear existence. I think that’s when it all came together.

If you had the choice to turn off the wandering bug inside your brain – and be sure that you wouldn’t miss it – would you do it?

Absolutely not! Who would want to turn away from the ability to really see the world, truly and personally, for what it really is?

Many of your posts have been written to help others better understand Crohn’s disease. Myself included. What question do you get asked the most, and what do you wish people understood better?

“Have you tried…?” It is quite honestly the most infuriating question on the planet. Yes, I have tried green tea, yes, I have tried cutting out meat, yes, I have tried cross-fit. My disease has absolutely nothing to do with these tiny remedies – I will always have it, and no matter what I do, I will not be able to cure it. People that suggest that I can eradicate such a debilitating part of my life by doing something which they don’t understand is extremely aggravating.

Facing and overcoming resistance (the force that stops you from writing your blog or following your dreams) is very difficult for a lot of people who don’t have to contend with Crohn’s. How much of a battle do you have with inner resistance and how did you overcome it?

I have no resistance – there is no other way to live my life. When someone wants to see everything and experience everything and will do whatever they can to reach those goals, nothing will stop them. I am very stubborn, and I greatly enjoy travelling and being able to get paid for doing it, so regardless of Crohn’s, I will do it.

You have lost the group on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, what song would you listen to in a time of crises like this?

I’m not going to lie to you, I hardly ever listen to music whilst travelling. I often find that it is distracting, and cuts me off from what’s happening around me. Why would I be on Spotify when I could be there listening to the call of birds, the shifting of grass beneath a llama’s feet, the distant yell of the tour group trying to locate me?

Very good point! Finally, what is the key to talking about your travels to friends without sounding condescending? The true holy grail!

This is not something I have ever, or will ever master. I like to take people on my trips, as a lot of them are sponsored and can cover me and at least one other person. I love to share these experiences with others, and then talk with them after. When I return from a long trip and talk to those who haven’t shared it with me, however, we factor in a quick half-hour for me to indulge in the best bits – if they want to know more, they can always read the blog!

And a very compelling and inspiring blog it is too! Thank you so much!

You can read Amy’s tales on her blog: Wandering Everywhere or follow her on IG: @wandering_everywhere


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