Ever since I returned from my round the world trip earlier this year, I’ve developed a bit of an obsession with going again.
I’ve spent a long time thinking about how to make that a reality and what I’m willing to give up to do it. I’m lucky enough to be in a position where I have no responsibilities – no children, no mortgage, no boyfriend and no commitments in the forseeable future. The only thing keeping me here (apart from my friends and family) is my job of over four years. Most people who quit their job to travel talk about how much they dislike it and how satisfying it will be to leave. That’s not the case with me, and that’s part of what made my decision so difficult. However, over the past few months I’ve realised that if I don’t do this now, I never will. I can’t shake that feeling of ‘is this it?’ and I know I will always regret not giving it a go if I don’t try. I’m 27 and at a stage in my life where marriage and babies are starting to become a reality amongst my friends and family. It would break my heart to miss out on wedding planning with my best friend, or the birth of a niece or nephew – it’s something I just wouldn’t do. So it has to be now – before all of those things start happening.
I’m not and never have been a natural risk taker, I’m extremely indecisive and I’m a creature of habit. I’ve had to train myself out of that and remind myself of how I felt just after my last trip. I learnt not to fear my decisions because every one will lead me to where I’m meant to be. The easiest option for me would be to stick with what I know, stay at my job and live a comfortable life and a future I can predict. But I know I would always be looking for more out of life. When I think about the past five years (since I left university) they’ve gone so fast, and some things have remained unchanged. I don’t want to look back in five years time and wonder where my life has disappeared to. That’s why I’ve chosen to venture into the unknown.
I am lucky enough (or unlucky enough depending on how you look at it) to have come into some inheritance money recently and as a big believer in things happening for a reason, I find it hard to see that as a coincidence. At a time in my life where I am literally obsessed with the idea of full time travel I have been given the financial backing to do it. I’ll write more about that at a later date, but deciding to spend part of that money on travelling was by no means an easy decision either.
In the build up to my last trip I discovered that talking about something in theory and actually making it happen are two very different things. Although I have been clear about my plans with my friends for a while and believed I was completely sure of my decision, when it came down to setting the wheels in motion I was terrified – I still am. It’s taken me a lot of guts (that I didn’t actually believe I had!) to tell the people at work what I intend to do. I agonised over the decision for weeks before I actually did it and I just couldn’t stop wondering if I was doing the right thing. I don’t think those doubts will be going away any time soon and I’m experiencing a mixture of emotions at the moment – sadness about leaving my job and Birmingham mixed with excitement and fear in equal measures. But when it comes down to it my desire to travel and belief that it will be a positive experience are a stronger feeling. Only time will tell if it is the right decision.
My biggest fear is for my career and what will happen when I return to the UK. Luckily my sister will have room for me to live with her until I get on my feet, but I do worry about that transition. I run through these fears in my head and come back to myself with answers. My answer to that one is that who knows what will happen between now and then or how my travels will change my life. For all I know I could find a career opportunity while I’m away or I could find somewhere different that I want to live. It’s all completely up in the air which is scary but also extremely liberating!
I don’t know how long I will be away, if I will work when I’m out there or when I will be back. But when it comes down to it I just don’t want to live a life of ‘what if’s’. If I go for a month, decide it’s not for me and come home then at least I will know. Without that experience I’ll always wonder and regret not trying. I’m fortunate enough to have the full support of my friends and family which is very important to me. After seeing the positive change in me after my last trip, they’ve been the ones who have really convinced me to do it. I know it can’t have been easy for them to give me their approval to leave and for that I’m extremely grateful.
I’ll write more about my travel plans and what I intend to do on the road in the future, but for now I just wanted to announce that this is happening. I’ve had to keep my thoughts secret from work (and facebook) for a while and it’s a massive relief to get it out!
Next stop…booking the flights!