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“Before you judge, make sure you’re perfect – Clint Eastwood”

I recently went to Peru to walk the Inca Trail. In the quant little town of Cusco, our group visited a primary school that provides education to girls from very low socio-economic backgrounds. Some of their stories were horrific – they’d been beaten, raped, neglected and shown no love at all. It was heartbreaking.

The girls performed a dance that they’d rehearsed, and then invited us to come up and dance. A little girl ran up to me to take my hand and when she saw my badly burned hand, she recoiled and ran away.

To be honest, I was hurt. Another little girl ran up to me and I danced with her, but I was still thinking about it for the rest of the day.

It’s a lot harder for me to travel internationally then domestically – I guess maybe because I’m not as recognisable. Some cultures are generally more accepting (for example in Tahiti, people didn’t even blink an eye) but others aren’t so generous. Kids are different – I know they just stare because they’re curious and because they haven’t seen anyone like me before.

I guess I could just stay in Australia where it’s “safe” but I want to explore the world!

I want to go to climb Kilimanjaro. Surf in Morocco. Dive in the Galápagos Islands. I love travel because it satisfies the adventurous side of me.

So here’s what I do when I’m overseas (actually, I do it in Australia too).

I stand tall. Walk with confidence. Smile. Look people in the eye. I say hello and ask how they’re going (in their language). And if they still have an issue with me? That’s their problem, not mine.

If you can do one thing today, make it this: stand tall, smile, embody confidence. I bet you’ll feel instantly stronger.

Turia xx

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