Until about 2 1/2 years ago I’d never heard of long term travel, I knew people who jetted off the travel Europe for 5-6 weeks when they could take time off work but I didn’t know anyone who had travelled longer. In 2014 I’d visited Australia, Dubai and Thailand for one month with friends, but I considered it just a holiday and budgets, dorms and the like didn’t cross my mind.
So how did I end up finding out? It was actually through a Muay Thai blog I follow and the post I was reading was about teaching English in Bangkok. I was curious about how to go about doing this and that’s when this whole new world,which was previously alien to me, was discovered.
After doing some Google searches about teaching English abroad I stumbled upon a travelling blog (Nomadic Matt) and I spent hours reading his website and being amazed by all these places he had been to. I then found other travel blogs and discovered that women were also travelling solo around the world. I spent months reading and the more I read the more this desire to travel was ignited. At the time I thought there was no way I could do this and I dismissed the idea, how could I break away from my current routine?
In 2015 I was on a two week trip in Koh Samui for Muay Thai training and I found myself in a situation where I ended spending the last week of the holiday alone for reasons that no longer matter. So I had two choices, I could either spend the next week in my hotel room or explore the island myself and have some great experiences. I chose the latter and had a great time exploring Koh Samui by scooter in between training twice a day at Lamai Muay Thai. Having time alone gave me lots of time to think and the idea of travelling was on my mind. It was perhaps a week or so after returning from Koh Samui that I knew that I had to start travelling. None of this came of a shock to my Mum or my manager when I told them my plans which I found funny.
My company allows me to take up to one year off unpaid so I bit the bullet and arranged it and then came the year of saving (this will be covered under a separate post). On 2nd Janaury 2016 I booked my one way ticket to Indonesia and that made things seem more real.
I spent the months up til leaving making itineraries, researching different places and figuring out what I needed to take even down to the bag I was going to use which was to become my life for 12 months. There was also months of doubts and wondering if I had the capability of traveling solo, and questionning if this will just be 12 month trip or if I will carry on after and find work somewhere,.
Now I am just over 3 months into travelling and I have no regrets about taking this leap of faith. I now feel silly for doubting myself and have already proven I am more than capable of getting myself from A to B and making decisions about where I want to go and when. It’s very liberating to decide if I want to stay somewhere for longer or if I’ve had enough time and want to move on. I don’t have to answer to anyone about anything such as what time to get up, which place to see or what to eat.
The question still looms as to whether this will only be a 12 month trip and it’s something I was constantly thinking about, however, it was causing me more stress so I tend not to think too much and try to be in the present moment as much as possible. I spent too many mornings working overtime at stupid hours to worry about what’s going to happen in a few months time.
I would definitely recommend taking the leap of faith and experiencing a long-term travel trip, there are tons of resources available to help and the world is definitely not as scary as it’s made out to be.