“Dont Get In Cars With Strangers”…WHOOPS!

I did something a little bit nuts over Easter. Something I am not sure I would have had the guts to do had I been in my home country. As a newly arrived Aussie in a big new exciting city [London], I have an itching to explore. But because I am still trying to make my mark on this new life I have thrown myself into abroad, everything I do is fairly sporadic and played by ear.

On the Monday before Easter after weeks of job searching and un-returned emails I thought, stuff it! I started looking at little four day breaks. Editors and managers weren’t going to be checking their emails over the holidays anyway. The idea of a tour appealed, a chance to meet new people, an easy all inclusive solution to my desire for adventure. But of course, everything was pretty much booked up. So after days of looking at transport options to Ireland, Belgium, Scotland and basically every semi close European city, I pretty much gave up. The transport connections where ridiculously hiked up in price and it just didn’t seem worth it. I succumbed to another weekend in London and hopped on Facebook to distract myself.  As a scrolled mindlessly through my feed a post caught my interest. Someone had written in the London New Girl group, asking if anyone would like to fill the fourth seat in their car. She and two friends were taking an Easter road trip to Cornwall.  I paused, could I? Is that completely bizarre? To go away for the weekend and be stuck in a car for hours on end with three girls I had never met and had no idea if I would even get on with….? I sat on it for a few hours, and then in a moment of complete YOLO I thought why not, what have I got to lose? After doing the obligatory profile stalk to check for any red flags, I privately messaged the girl and expressed my interest. I nervously watched as she saw my post and then started typing back. I was in!

Friday came and I nervously sat in the train carriage headed south to meet my new forged friends. I had messaged the girls and told them to look out for my aqua travel bag. I was basically online dating friends. Would they like me? What if I didn’t like them? As I walked down the steps of the station a voice pipped up behind me “Gemma?” Sam had recognised my bag, and thank goodness, she was normal, bright eyed and smiling. I mentally sighed in relief. Before I knew it I was in the back of a little red car, introducing myself to my new travel buddies.

The weekend played out like a movie, it was crazy, spontaneous, hilarious and a whole heap of fun. A four hour trip to Cornwall turned into a nine hour crawl amongst a sea of Easter weekend traffic, all with the same idea. We stayed in a disaster hostel, giggled away nights as we ran around the streets of Newquay in the pouring rain, kissed boys, and shared secrets. It was exactly the kind of trip I needed, and the spontaneous adventure I craved.

I guess the point of sharing this experience is to encourage others. Many of my friends think I am completely bonkers they would NEVER just crash a holiday by themselves. But they’d happily turn up to a blind tinder date? We only have one life, and when the people in my current circle aren’t free to explore with me, why wouldn’t I take a risk. At the very least, it makes a bloody brilliant story…

I am so proud of the woman I have become, I take risks, I am not afraid to go for what I want, and I am certainly not afraid to make new friends and push the boundaries of my comfort zone. It can be utterly terrifying, hell I was so nervous headed into this Cornwall weekend, but look at the end result a brilliant Easter, three new friends, and memories to last a lifetime.

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