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So here you are, you’re 32, single, in good health, have no dependants and you’re thoroughly bored shitless of the monotony that is your life. So, what the hell do you do!? Do you just keep your head down, do what’s expected and hope that one day “God” rewards you with the little happiness you deserve… Or do you decide that your life’s worth more than to be wasted in the desperate hope that maybe one-day, life might throw you a bone and go in search of adventure and fulfilment? For me, there was only one way to go about this, pull my head out of my arse, grow some stones and sell everything to travel!!
Why am I sat here writing this?
That’s a good question.
Well, from the very start of this blog the main aim was to help people. Arm people with information of cool and amazing places to visit. Try to explain the logistics of visiting those cool and amazing places. Help people avoid the many pitfalls that arise when you embark on any trip to a foreign country of which you know very little.
All that’s well and good but if everyone’s still sat at home, too afraid to go against the norm/stuck in the cycle of “one day I’ll leave all this crap behind and sell everything to travel the world”. There isn’t really anyone to help, everything else that I might write is nill and void if everyone’s still being the “armchair adventurer”.
I suppose in a round-about way, inspiring and giving people the confidence to follow their dreams is the best help anyone can give.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a fair while since I jacked in normality, sold everything and set off to Australia but I still remember the inner turmoil of “should I, shouldn’t I?”. In many ways it was the best decision I ever made but also in a weird kind of way it was the worst decision I ever made.
Why is it the best decision?
Where do I start!? Before Australia I was stuck in a career that I had hated since I was 16. Sometimes commuting 2 hours to work, working 12 hours only to get home exhausted, evening meal, shower and bed.
Why didn’t I just quit and find another job?
Ah, well this is where travelling the first time changed me as a person for the better. Since the age of 16 I was an apprentice, by the age of 21 I was qualified and earning up to £1300 per week. For some people out there, this may not seem like a lot but for me, paying only £20 per week board money, in my mind I was rich! Before I knew it, I was accustomed to nice cars, expensive clothes, expensive nights out. How do you go back from that!?
You sell everything to travel to Australia! That’s how you go back from that!
Quite a few times in Australia, I found myself flat broke and without a pot to piss in… Some of the best times of my life! The value of money has just nosedived quicker than a bitcoin in January 2018!!
Life after Australia has never been about lots of nice things or money. It’s about having time to do things that I actually like to do, rather than what I have to for money. Obviously, I’ve got to work to pay my way but 12-16 hour days to a have a BMW but no life!? Give me six hours and a moped any day!!
In a nutshell. Time is the only thing that can’t be bought, once it’s gone, it’s gone! Use it wisely!
Reasons it was the worst decision…
A bit of a double-edged sword is all this travel lark. As I’ve just stated above how travelling the first time changed my whole outlook on life for the better. Like everything in life, even that has it’s consequences!
I just don’t fit in anymore! Before travel I was well oiled cog in the corporate machine. I went to work everyday, never “pulled a sicky”, paid my taxes, conformed to society. Give me one night out every couple of weeks to let off some steam and I was, well, I can’t say content but maybe subdued!?
Since travel, I find myself always looking for something else, something’s missing. My eyes are open to different ways of life. Just because were born into a certain way of life doesn’t mean that it’s right for us. There is so much to see in the world, why spend your whole life in just one place!?
Bottom line, I just don’t want to know what is going to happen everyday of my life until the end…
Pros and cons to travelling.
As with everything in life there’s pros and cons. Why should travelling be any different!?
Freedom!!!: Above all else is freedom! Once you leave school at 16, you either go to college full time or you’re thrust into the grimness that is a 40 hour working week. For the vast majority of us, there will be no reprieve from this until we retire at 70, well, if you’re one of the lucky ones.
Taking 6 months or maybe a few years to travel will probably be the only time in your whole life where you are truly liberated.
A time when you can wake up whenever you want and decide at the drop of a hat what you’re going to do at any given moment. Are you going to stay where you are for a couple more days? Just because you love the ambience, because you’ve met someone you’d like to know for just one more day, because there’s a nice beach and cheap beers. whatever the reason… It’s the only reason that matters.
Or will you move on? Just because…
As long as you’ve a few quid rolling around in your pocket, what else matters!?
Experience different cultures: Everywhere you go in the world has its own unique customs. Even the North of England has its own quirks when compared to the South. For example; you walk into a “chippy” in the south and ask for chips and gravy… The look you’ll receive is as if you’ve just grown a second head! (for you southerners reading this, SORT YOUR SHIT OUT!!). Obviously, the further afield you venture the further away from the norm you’ll be. Can you imagine what it’s like on the other side of the planet!?
Get out of your comfort zone: Now a lot of people are all about their safety net. Just play it safe and take no risks. In all fairness, if you’re that way out and content with it, fair play to you. But me, myself, playing it safe is just too easy! I need some excitement in my life, I need to overcome hardship, I need the unknown! In all seriousness, when the brown stuff truly hits the fan, that’s when you’ll find out what you’re really made of.
Meeting new people from all different walks of life: For me this could even rank above all the sights and amazing things to do. What’s life without people!? Crap! That’s what.
Everyone’s got a story different to your own.
Before I sold everything to travel the first time, I knew that people did it but personally, I’d never met anyone who had done it so thought there were a few hippy types that were just rolling around the world aimlessly, refusing to conform to society, refusing to join the “real world”. How wrong was I!? There’s literally millions, everywhere you go, everything you do, from all over the world, people just like you, just like me, all sharing their experiences with each other.
Experiences of where they’ve been, experiences of what is good and bad in all that they have seen. The people that you meet on the road are the absolute fountain of knowledge. Don’t underestimate the opportunities that can come from fellow travellers.
There’s one thing for sure, you can travel solo but you’ll never be alone!
You’ll learn so much: At the time I left the UK on my first adventure, admittedly I couldn’t look after myself. My life consisted of living at home with the parents with pretty much everything done for me, all I had to do was drag my ass out of bed and get to work. Within 2 months I had flown to the other side of the world, set up a whole new life, bought a campervan, travelled around half a continent and was on my second job.
As I said earlier, when the “brown stuff hits the fan” that’s when you realise how capable you really are.
You’ll become more open minded: Hitting the road seriously broadens your horizon. You’ll quickly realise that what society says is the right thing to do isn’t the only path you can take. You’re in charge of your life and you can take it where ever you want! Fuck what everyone else is doing, odds are deep down they’d love a life of travel but are just too scared to have one.
Friendships dwindle: Over time, old friends have faded away to mere memories. I think part of it is natural progression, as you get older you become less dependant on friends but for the main part I’d have to put down to having less in common. While they’ve all gone off and got married, started a family, bought houses. I’ve chosen, to an extent the life of solitude.
Going to the pub every other week to talk with old friends about christenings, parent’s evenings and baby showers. In the words of a chap in met in South Australia called Bob “I’d rather be shot!”.
Don’t get me wrong, there are times where I look at these old friends and their lives and get a slight bit jealous. Not because I want what they have but because I wish I too could be content with the bog standard 2.4 children, £25k salary, 3 bed semi and maybe that BMW. I just don’t think I ever will be.
Then on the other hand, I sometimes look at them and question. Are you really happy? Is that smile on your face just for show? Are you dying inside? Is this really what you always wanted? 5-6 years ago when I knew you well, I would put everything I owned against it.
Realistically, without a doubt, some of them always wanted the life they have. But I can’t help but feel some of them have ended up where they are now for nothing more than to fit in, make others proud, or “do the right thing”.
At the end of the day who am I to judge!?
You’ll be frowned upon: Luckily for me I have an understanding family, who know who I am and respect my views and choices but not everyone is as lucky as me.
Since birth, our destiny has been written in the stars!:
- You’ll go to school, leave not knowing what to do.
- Go to college, bum around on some crappy course because your best mate is doing it.
- Go to university, still without any direction in life.
- End up in a career you hate but everyone is so proud of you.
- Buy a house and of course that BMW.
- Have children just because well, you’re at that age.
- Work to till you’re 70, if your body holds out that long.
Either that or if you’ve got a thick skin and you can see all the ridicule for exactly what it is, jealousy! Flick up the middle finger, pack your backpack and find some adventure!!
Recently, after dealing with all the inner turmoil once again I had to hand in my notice at work. I got called into the office and here’s the three responses I got….
1) “He’s having an early mid-life crisis”
2) “Aren’t you a bit old for all this? Don’t people do that in their early 20’s?”
3) “What will you do when you get back and your jobs gone?”
Those three quotes can only come from people who just don’t have the spuds to break the mould but wish they did. Not a mentality I want to be associated with.
Less time with family: Obviously one of the worst consequences. In an ideal world you’d drag everyone on your adventure around the world, but life, as cruel as it can be means this is just not a possibility, well unless you’ve picked the right 6 numbers on the lottery….
I can only imagine how bad it was before the age of the internet, no Whats app, no Skype, no Facebook. Best you could do is an odd phone call or post card/letter here and there. These days however we are now more connected than ever before. Still not the same as sitting round the dinner table chewing the fat but much better than it used to be.
I have met people that couldn’t handle the home sickness and lasted no longer than 2 weeks before being on that return flight. Everyone is different and to an extent you never know how you’ll react until you leave.
Missing birthdays, parties, births is just part of traveller life. Something you need to think about before you sell everything to travel.
You’ll never own anything: To lead a life of full time travel, there are many sacrifices that must be made. While everyone you’ve left behind are “getting on with their lives”, you’ll have your life on your back and probably not a lot of money.
Yeah fair enough they’ll progress in their careers and get promotions and be able to buy fancy things but what’s a couple of zeros on a bank statement in comparison to a life of adventure and head full of memories!?
Should everyone just scrap their lives in and sell everything to travel!?
A resounding no!!
As much of an advocate for travel as I am and believe me I am! There’s no way I would say EVERYONE should travel. I don’t believe everyone is cut out for it, you’ve got to have a certain mentality for it.
There’s one way I look at. It you’re sat on the fence and can’t decide. Seen as you’ve made it here to this article I’m guessing that’s you then I would say that you most definitely should!
Don’t be one of these people that say one day I’m going to go and see the world, odds are you probably won’t. The only way you go out and see the world is by going out and seeing the world, not by just talking about it.
Travel doesn’t have to be forever but as they say, once you’ve been bitten by the bug there’s no going back. I’m certainly not one for all this superstitious mumbo jumbo but I can vouch for that one. Once you’ve spent a while travelling (1year+) you’ll never be the same again. Priorities completely shifted!
What stops people from travelling!?
In my eyes there are three answers to this question:
Some people don’t want to: Completely understandable, those lucky content people, how some days I envy you!
Some people don’t have the chance: People have dependant family or have health conditions that mean they can’t.
Travel ain’t cheap: As with anything in life, if you want it you’ve got to work for it! Many people say they’re going to save up and go travelling but soon as Friday night comes around, the phone goes and before they know it the dancing shoes are on and £100 is spent. Self discipline is the difference between the “armchair adventurer” and the person with 30 stamps in their passport.
Just think that £100 you jus spent on that night you can’t remember could have kept you on the adventure for a week in Cambodia…
THE FEAR: Now this is the reason I have spent the last 6 hours writing this post!
The fear, the fear of what if it all goes wrong, the fear of what if you don’t like it, the fear of what if you miss out on what’s going on a home. I reckon this is what stops most people from following their dreams of exploration and adventure.
Without being too harsh, letting fear stop you doing something that you’ve always dreamt of is to let yourself down. There’s only one way to beat fear and that’s tackle it head on. No putting it off. No shying away from it. No excuses!
It’s completely natural to feel some fear when setting out on a new adventure to somewhere you’ve never been before but in all honesty start small and you’ll be fine.
The most scared I’ve ever been in my live was heading off to Australia, life on my back completely alone. Yes, at the beginning it was a complete disaster, not because everything went wrong but because of sheer anxiety and in all honesty within 2 weeks it was like I’d been travelling for years. Meeting new friends with new stories every day. Plans changing every day.
Within 3 months I was the veteran and like the people that helped me out when I first got “off the boat”, I was only too keen to help others find their feet.
As I said before, you’re never alone!
Something that has had a lasting impact on me…
After being back for a couple of years, I knew I wasn’t content, I needed more! Was I too old? Should I just conform? Is it too late for me?
Now in my early thirties, I was wondering if it really was too late. Refusing to give up on adventure, excitement and the sense of freedom that travelling brings I trawled the net looking for justification of the inevitable.
I stumbled across this article and it really struck a chord, well worth the 2 minute read… Don’t leave it too late!
And to condense it down…
I hope all of that spiel hasn’t bored you too much, I guess I’m just passionate about getting other people to experience some of the life changing things that I have and showing them that there is another way.
After all, without a doubt there’s so many people sat on the “travelling fence”, if this post entices one, just one of you to follow your dream then it will the worth the effort it has taken to write it. I’ll leave you with another quote from a friend of mine:
If you’re not happy then change your today or your tomorrow will be the same as your yesterday…
Have any of you decided to sell everything to travel!? I’d love to hear your story….