Real Recognises Real: Sully (Part 1)

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Taken by me

Everyone that I spoken to about Sully, has come to regard her as ‘my gypsy friend that travels the world and lives a pretty sweet life.’ Well I’m here to tell you..that it’s all very real, and decided that it was time that more people knew about the amazing places, people and things she has experienced over the past few years. Of course there is more to the story than just her perpetual wanderlusting, and it’s these kinds of details I want to get into. Because what I love about RRR, is that its about appreciating that we all have the ability to inspire, even if the person doing the inspiring isn’t famous on social media. So brace yourself, this girl has done some amazing things. Where have you travelled so far?

Sully: *looks at couchsurfing profile* 44.

Which surprised you the most?

Difficult one, would have to say a few here. Myanmar was and still is by a fairly high margin my favourite country, so I guess that was a surprise (enjoying it so much).  I basically just went there because a boy I met in Vietnam told me ‘go, and go as soon as you can’, so I didn’t really have any expectations or anything. It was just such a beautiful place, the people, the food the culture, just everything was amazing.

The same goes for the Philippines, I loved it there without knowing much about the place.

I guess one of the biggest surprises would have been Israel. I am actually typing this reply from a friends couch on my second visit here. I was expecting quite a conservative, very old school, possibly even slightly dangerous country but it’s the exact opposite. Tel Aviv could be in Australia (yes other cities like Jerusalem are certainly more conservative and have been dangerous in the past, but present day is safe). I have many Israeli friends and travel with them a lot.

Carrying on from that, Palestine was also a big surprise. I asked the friend I was meeting there if I should wear a headscarf. He laughed.

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Sully in Old Jaffa, Israel

“Don’t dress how you would in Tel Aviv, but no you certainly don’t need to wear a headscarf”.

I visited Ramallah and Nablus. I was almost expecting some kind of war torn cities with homeless people everywhere and extreme oppression. Whilst the Palestinians certainly don’t live an enviable lifestyle compared to many, and my friends really do have some terrible stories, I was surprised by how ‘normal’ everyday life was there. This is not to say that there are not huge problems in the country and with the Israel/Palestine conflict, I am well aware of this.

I was with local men the whole time of my stay, but even if I wasn’t I don’t feel like it would have felt ‘dangerous’ in any way. I am a white, blonde female and get stared at in a lot of places and I was expecting it to be quite intense here (comparable to India etc) but really no-one seemed to even notice me. There were girls walking around in tight jeans, t-shirts and high heels. Lingerie shops next to clothing stores of traditional, very conservative, Muslim attire. People out having dinner, drinking tea and just generally socialising in the streets at midnight. Everyone was super friendly and helpful and it was an amazing, interesting, special and unexpected experience.

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Nablus in the Northern West Bank

Can you mention anyone in particular that has taught you something valuable or interesting about life?

Too many. I feel that a lot of things are from getting to know people and just small things in conversation that you pick up, rather than ‘life advice’ type things. I suppose I take most of my ‘taught me things’ from my older friends. Everyone our age is just still trying to figure shit out (I know this never ends but at least you get more wisdom with age). I have a lot of older friends, and just listening to them speak about things it kind of just puts everything in perspective. Everything always seems so big and scary all of the time, you wonder if you are doing the right thing (especially doing things like blowing all your money on travel etc). But then you see these people who you look up to and they have either a) done those things and still managed to have the lifestyle that you think you want for your future self or b) wish they had done those things and regret not having done so when they were younger. I guess it’s just a kind of confirmation that everything will be good in the end.

I was also told a little thing by a couchsurf host in Bordeaux also that I will always remember: we were walking in the sand dune with his dog and he tells me:

‘There is this French poem about the ships leaving the harbour, and how everyone watching them go is so envious of the adventure they are going on and the amazing lands that they will visit. But you have to remember, for every ship that leaves there is someone watching another ship sail to arrive where you are.”

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Hampi, India.

Another thing from a hippie I met in Nicaragua when someone started talking about how this day was better than another day or something like this:

‘A lot of people see life as a mountain, and that experiences or people or things have to be ranked on that mountain: this has to be better or worse than this. I like to see it as a Plateau, you don’t have to rank things above other things and constantly be comparing. You can have many things to be the ‘best’ things’.

‘It is, so it is perfect’ – Someone who drove me from Kelowna to Vancouver

And the friends I have from less advantaged countries (Nigeria, Colombia, Palestine… even countries we would not consider to be ‘poor’ eg Hungary) taught me just how lucky I am to be born where I was but also how to be happy with so little. I lived with some traffic light jugglers on a farm in the mountains outside of Medellin, Colombia for a while and these people owned almost nothing. Literally just what was in their backpacks making a few dollars a day working on the streets but some of just the most content people I have ever met. Also my Palestinian friend … you know my body is healthy and I am safe (at least for now), what more can you ask for. I am happy.

And that’s it for Part 1. Pretty freakin’ enlightening isn’t it? Well keep reading, because she has more stories to tell that will make you wish you were travelling instead of working right now. But like also remember that story about the ship..and that  your life is interesting wherever you are. Right, Sully? Right?

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Sully’s original caption- ”You want I braid your hair?’ ‘No I can do my own, see?’ ‘AH you make very nice braid, you can do for me?”


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