Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” – Ray Bradbury
How many times a day, week, month or year do you dream of packing it all in?
Giving up that job, walking out, going home and packing a bag, turning up at the airport check in desk – after playing a game of ‘duck duck goose’ with destination choices – buying that ticket – to anywhere. Anywhere but here – stepping onto that plane for a magical adventure which will only lead to good things.
We all dream it, rarely we do it and that’s okay. Maybe you just had a bad day?
But what happens when you do decide to do it? Maybe not in such an extreme fashion as simple ‘quitting life’ as I call it – even though it would be pretty awesome to do so – for the average joe it will take a lot more time to get on that plane, sadly we don’t all have a limitless bank account.
Over a year ago I made the decision to travel the world full-time (you can read more about that here). It took me over a year to get everything ready for heading off.
The internet is filled with tantalising and beautiful articles on how we should all ‘quit our jobs and travel the world’ but some (if not most) don’t explain the real cost of making the decision to travel full-time – and I’m not just talking about money.
So, here’s what happened when I decided to leave and travel the world full-time:
Let’s get the worst one out the way….
People Disappeared out of my life before I even stepped on the plane…
I’m taking off to travel around the world while many of my other friends are focusing on careers, long-term relationships, getting married, having babies etc.. To some, just making the decision seemed to change me as a person, I was no longer invited out – I probably would have turned them down anyway, saving money after all for traveling – plans fell through, phone calls became rare and awkward and texting dwindled out.
I have no idea why this happened.
I can now count my good friends on one hand and that’s ok. They have been there when I freaked out about leaving, cried worrying about money and got excited with me, helping me plan, create and execute my dream.
Looking back, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Debt I once thought would take me years to pay off, I paid off in months…
When I moved home and decided to travel after quitting University, I had a pretty hefty minus in my bank account. It was kind of scary but I made it my goal to have no debt travelling with me when I went.
It is amazing what you can actually achieve when you put your mind to it. Within months I had paid it off, had more money than I bargained for and was well on my way of putting my trip together. I didn’t work crazy hours (at this point), I don’t have a high-flying fancy job, I didn’t win the lottery – although, I did win a fiver once or twice, success! – the secret? Budgeting….
You learn very quickly how much material wealth you don’t need….
Budgeting pretty much leads you to breaking habits you once clung to. No more pay-day splurges on clothes I’d never wear, no more gadgets just because they’re the new model, that christmas coffee special? nope I’m good with instant (well, not really but I’ll cope).
Months down the line and I sold most things I owned, gave away clothes I didn’t wear (if I couldn’t sell them) and realised that I actually felt better without having so much ‘stuff’, not feeling the pressure to buy new ‘stuff’ and the disappointment when I didn’t have it was almost liberating (almost, you can not crave shopping sometime).
You learn that saying ‘No’ doesn’t make you a bad person…
Before deciding to travel and finalising budgets I found it almost impossible to say ‘No’ to people.
I went out when I didn’t feel like it because I was too sacred to let people down, I would go to the expensive restaurant, nights out, I’d buy that expensive purse, go to places I hated, hang out with you when I wanted to be alone you name it. I couldn’t stop myself.
I was so scared of letting people down, I never wanted to be someone who you couldn’t rely on. But being this way doesn’t make you appreciated, or respected.
When I started to say No to things I would justify them to people with alternative excuses, eventually moving to the ‘I’m going to travel I need to save money, sorry’ then to eventually, just saying No. I became a stronger person, happier too believe it or not.
Saying ‘No’ made me appreciate the time I did go and do things. I did what I wanted to do rather than feeling obliged to do something. It saved me a heck of a lot of money too! Saying ‘No’ kind of liberates you a little.
You’ll like this one….
I was questioned (more than once) if I had any Maternal Instincts at all…
Hold. The. Phone. Are you serious!?
Yes I am, believe it or not this is a question I was asked a few times before taking off….
Never for a second did I think that making the decision to travel the world solo at 24 meant that I had to justify a life I hadn’t even began to think of. A pretty personal question which all of sudden became open for conversation. At 23/24 I can’t say the whole marriage and babies part of life was anywhere near being open for conversation.
My Pets had to find a New Forever Home…
This was the hardest decision to make. Sadly my family were in no position to take care of my two kitties while I hopped on a one way ticket to the other side of the world, with no return date.
A month before I left I managed to find them a home, I can’t begin to explain how much I was beginning to worry that I would have to make the guilty trip to the Rescue Centre and drop them off.
Thankfully, an old colleague of mine took them in. I can’t begin to express how grateful I was…. even though I was (and am) completely heartbroken to have to give them away.
I Became the Best Version of Myself I Had Ever Known…
Yes it is true. When I made the decision to travel I had debt, was unhappy with where I was in life, had no long-term goals and only knew that I didn’t want to just drift through life.
Once I had firmly decided to travel I had a very BIG goal to work toward, I worked hard and even took on an extra job at one point – hello 60+ hour weeks, I hate you – but I was happy. I paid off all my debt but had no money to play with, but I was richer than I had been in years. I began to say ‘no’ to people and put myself and my needs first for a change, it was liberating. I wore old clothes and outfits over again but I really didn’t care – and quickly realised, no one else did either.
It is an amazing feeling to take control of your own life and this is what I had to do to travel the world. A lot of sacrifices were made a long the way. Would I go back and do anything differently? No I would not.