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This Week’s Wandering Soul: Victoria Watts, 28, Surrey

Victoria and her boyfriend Steve zoomed into Mariano’s house in Puerto Madryn while he, his girlfriend and I were watching Hostel.  As we were in the process of screaming like despots at the TV and occasionally peeking at the gore through clasped hands, they scared us to pieces by their sudden entrance.  Victoria and Steve are digital nomads trekking and tasting their way around the world in the beginning of what will be a trip without a known end.  We met at the house of our mutual Couchsurf host on Argentina’s east coast and enjoyed time together whale watching and wishing we could play the guitar proficiently.  Later, we ate our body weight in deliciousness in north Argentina and were wowed by Bolivia.  The couple is currently based in Mexico; Steve editing movies and Victoria teaching yoga and writing at Bridges and Balloons.

Girl in Candlelit Restaurant
Being transported to another world by music and candlelight at Salta’s Casona El Molino…

 How has being English left its mark on you?

With a few quite different things.  England is a rich country which means greater opportunities.  I don’t always realise that and possibly only think about it when I’m traveling.  Also when traveling, I feel the stereotypes to a greater extent – like that we’re polite and quite reserved.  In England, I wouldn’t feel this way.  I wouldn’t say that it’s left a mark on me, but certainly from living in the UK I have a skepticism and cynicism of the media and the government.  But also a lot of opportunities and freedom.  God, I sound American, don’t I?? (laughs)

What would your 13-year-old self think about you if they met you?

She’d be really impressed that I’ve written for a magazine but she might be confused by the folk route I’ve taken.  But no, I think she’d be pleased that I’m traveling.  Although she’d be disappointed that I still don’t know what’s what.  There’d be a mixture of hope and dismay as well.

If you could meet your 13-year-old self, what would you say to her?

I’d give my 13-year-old self a huge hug, tell her not to be afraid, and that everything will be okay. My Dad, although a wonderful man, was also an alcoholic, which made for some very tricky times around that age.  I probably wouldn’t tell her to do anything differently as although there are things I wish I hadn’t done when I was younger, they’ve all helped me to get where I am today and I wouldn’t change that for anything. Saying that, I may be tempted to tell her these three things: learn the guitar, start practicing yoga and don’t be afraid to be yourself. They are things it seems to have taken me another 15 years to learn.

How do you make decisions?

I’m far more of a planner than I’d like to be.  I think about every option and the future.  I’m trying to live in the moment and to trust my instincts more.

Do you think you’re on the right path?  How do you know?

(laughs) I’m excited!  I asked myself this same question five weeks ago and felt panicked by our decision to up and leave.  I couldn’t see what I’d enjoy doing but that was just me being stuck in habits.  Now, God, I’m excited, there are so many things happening, I have no idea what’s going to happen.

How do you feel when you think about your future?

I’m lucky to have Steve so I’m happy about the future.  Of course, loving someone is tinged with a fear of loss so you have to keep faith as there’s always a danger that something can happen. Which is frightening and wonderful.  I’m very pleased to have found my companion and think about our future.

What fascinates you about people?

When someone finds and does what makes them happy.

About England?

Similarly, that the English are able to fill their time with shopping, working for a job that they don’t like but seem content to continue this way.

About yourself?

That it’s impossible for me to see myself the way other people do.

What scares you about people?

When someone has a dead look in their eyes, when they seem glazed over like they’ve given up.  You can sometimes trace that back to their childhood and it’s rarely their fault, how it all began.  It’s really scary.  It’s very frightening that life can do that to someone.

About your country?

I’m scared that people aren’t going to take responsibility for themselves and are so ready to blame others.  Many people don’t see that the way we believe and think has an impact, they just don’t see the connection.  Apathy worries me.  I’m worried that England is becoming an increasingly apathetic country.

About yourself?

I don’t like not feeling in control of myself.  I don’t like the idea that I might not be mindful and might do things that I could regret for the rest of my life.

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