What is the Biggest Thing You've Learned Along the Way
With Flo Boniface
Introduce yourself! Who are you?
I’m Flo, 26 from London, UK and I’m a long term backpacker and a Social Media Manager. Ever since I was 18 I’ve been obsessed with travel and not a lot has ever been able to keep me at home between then and now! I’ve been to 51 countries and I’m planning to visit at least 100 before I’m 35. I quit my job and my biggest trip to date began in September 2017 when I left for Brazil. I ended up in Hawaii one year later after travelling through 16 countries by bus and now I’m in Auckland, New Zealand setting up a new life here for a while.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Someone once told me that I need to accept my present life, find peace in my current situation, and then I will be free, and all my roads will open.
I love it.
What would you say to 16 year old you?
It will all work out in the end. When I was 16 I felt like my world was continuously spiraling out of control. I didn’t know who I was, where I was going I was swallowed by depression. I would have loved to tell myself that it will all be okay in the end. You’ll find peace with people AND yourself. You’ll also find your other half, the one that will always understand you. Your missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle that will be make you feel whole again.
What is your greatest fear?
Not having children. I’ve always wanted children and have a big family that I never had growing up and I hope one day I’ll be lucky enough to have that.
I’m also terrified of going to prison and being locked up or wrongfully committed of a crime!
Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel?
I think lots of people have doubted me over the years. Especially when it comes to jobs. I’ve been turned down from jobs time and time again. There was always someone that just ‘fitted in better with the team’ which i always found really hard to accept. Perhaps I can be a little intimidating and come across as a little blunt – but truthfully i’m super caring and sensitive.
What message do you think every woman should hear?
The more you travel, the more you’ll realise how small the world really is.
What do you love most about yourself?
My honesty. I’m honest in everything I do. So much so that sometimes people tell me I’m TOO honest. But I will never apologise for living my life in an honest way. What you see is what you get.
Do you remember a specific time you overcame adversity?
I lost my Mother when I was 4 years old. I’ve never been able to put into words exactly how it has shaped my life. I’ve never known any different, I don’t remember her but I’ve always felt a huge space in my heart that has longed for her and longed to feel her arms around me. I know she is there looking over me always and would be so proud but it will never change the fact that I never got the chance to experience life alongside her. The world deserved to have her forever and so did I. I’ve come a long way- from battling severe depression over the years to the start of finding peace with myself and the situation. I always describe grief like a fine wine; it just gets better with age. We change and grow along with it and learn more each year.
I’m proud of myself for travelling all over the world, completing a degree and being a valued friend and asset to any team I’m in. It doesn’t mean that my days aren’t filled with negative thoughts – they truly are. I put so much pressure on myself that sometimes I physically combust! I always want to do better at everything. But I know I have come SO far and my mum would be so proud of everything that I’ve overcome and achieved along the way and that makes my heart smile.
What is the biggest thing you’ve learned along the way?
Stay true to yourself and that’s all that will matter in the end. Seek help when you need it. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. A problem shared is a problem halved. You don’t have to be alone in anything. A shoulder to cry on is the best medicine I could ever ask for.
Why do you love to travel?
My life has been a whirlwind of crazy events. Events that have shaped my future indefinitely. With this comes the desire to want to explore and as much as it sounds cliché, live every day as if it’s my last. I’m obsessed with seeing new and crazy things and the thrill that comes along with exploring a culture so different to my own. Also FOOD + DRINK. ‘Cos food & drink is life and I like eating anything and drinking EVERYTHING.
We used to go to France or Spain on holidays when i was a child (typical holiday from the UK) and i would get so excited about the prospect of visiting a new supermarket. To do this day i spend alot of time visiting new supermarkets in every country i go to.
When I was 12 years old I found out about a family friend’s daughter who was off to volunteer in Thailand after the Boxing Day tsunami. I was overwhelmed with jealousy. I was just so intrigued by the whole experience and it seemed so exciting to me to be able to have a real purpose like that and the independence that came with it. Even at 12 years old I felt old and mature enough to be able to do something like that. I never wanted to do ‘kid things’ I never felt 12 at all inside.
What motivates you most?
Now it’s the incredible relationship I have with my boyfriend Jack. I’m so motivated by the fabulous life we have together and the crazy plans we have for the future. He keeps me smiling every single day.
What is your favorite meal?
Basically, I love anything and everything spicy. I literally cover my food with chillies or hot sauce. Always been like that. I swear i have no taste buds left! I’d have to say my favourite cuisines are Vietnamese or Indian but I’m also a burger queen and could eat them all day long.
What is one thing people would be surprised to hear about you?
I’m actually pretty scared of flying. I travel so much but I’ve experienced terrible panic attacks on flights and I get awful anxiety that really eats me up inside. Sometimes I can sit the whole plane ride sweating. I’ve got a lot better recently though which has been a huge leap forward in my life.
What is something on your bucket list?
A huge adventure on my bucket list has got to be the Trans-Siberian railway, China, Mongolia and all of central Asia along the Silk Road. It will definitely be happening soon.
Have you ever had an extraordinary experience? Describe it!
Feeling aftershocks in Nepal! I was there working after the earthquake in 2015 and feeling those aftershocks was one of the most surreal experiences of my life!!! I can’t even begin to imagine what it was like for people suffering during the actual earthquake.
Also SKYDIVING. The worst and most terrifying yet most thrilling thing i have ever done.
More About Flo
Flo Boniface is a long term backpacker and a Social Media Manager. She is 26 years old from London, UK and ever since she was 18 she’s been obsessed with travel. Flo’s been to 51 countries and is planning to visit at least 100 before she’s 35.