I keep having people message me about making the leap into travelling but just can’t. They have money saved, a life they’re not happy with and they want to see the world, but they’re still in their home country and no closer to travelling.
That was me late last year. I felt in a massive rut and knew I had to travel now as it may be a case of now or never for me. When else would I have no mortgage, partner, kids etc?
So how I did I go about this? By my usual method, which is where I write notes to myself in my phone and set a reminder one month later to look at the note. I then look at the note and see how I feel, if anything has changed in that time. Think of it as benchmark, a checkpoint to see if you’re happier or sadder within the last month. I’ve done this with jobs, girlfriends and just life in general. It may seem strange and surreal to some but it works for me. It helps you work out what needs to change and what YOU need to do.
Now back in September I really wanted to travel and had done for months, but just couldn’t muster up the courage to quit my job, move out of my flat and the rest. I’d had a shit week for various reasons and then one Sunday morning very hungover, sad, upset about life and on a train that broke down I began to write a note in my phone. The train was stationary for around 90 mins. Maybe the timeout I needed to reevaluate my life and it was meant to be? My moment of clarity shall we say. Or maybe just the shit train system we have in England? We’ll never know. However since then, unlike the train I was on, I’ve been full steam ahead with the aim of going travelling. This moment, this note was the benchmark to when I decided that I was going travelling and did not want to change my mind on that.
So once I wrote the note on my stationary train, I then sent it to the couple of friends I was about to see in a group message and told them “if I start bottling travelling in the next few weeks and months, then send me this note back as a reminder to whatI have said to myself”.
They never had to. I surprised myself. I thought there would be times that I would stumble and have doubts about quitting my life, selling everything and travelling. Maybe just a sign I was doing the right thing and writing this note had put everything into perspective, of why I really should travel now.
So here is the note. Unedited (well apart from a bit of swearing). Reading it again now I’d change a few things but fundamentally everything back then was true and why I’m so happy travelling now:
Craig, this is for your future self. Either the one in the next few weeks or months that starts to bottle it about travelling or the one who looks back on life when you’re 40 and questions why they’re working minimum wage or having to jack off a guy called Malcolm at 3am on Monday night in some random car park just to make ends meet. YOU ARE NOT HAPPY. JUST FUCKING TRAVEL YOU PIECE OF SHITE. Plus stop being negative, who is to say what the fuck I’ll be doing when I’m at a car park at 3am on a Monday.
Seriously why not travel? Stop being the “yeah but…” guy. What is scarier? Just ticking over, longing for a change in life, going from random job to job until you retire at 70/75. or actually exploring the world? You need to find a career but you don’t have a clue what. You have money but where would you even buy a house right now?….SO TRAVEL.
Enthusiasm for life (god you’re going to cringe at this when you read it back but you know it’s true. Too many people just don’t care.)
No debt (well apart from student but who the fuck doesn’t?! Oh yeah people on a decent wage)
You’ve tried for the “normal” life. Settle down, find a girl, buy a house, work your way up through your job. How did that end up for you? You found out the girl you loved was a ****. You then had massive ballache and heartache to close joint bank accounts, various paperwork and years of hassle to sell the house with that said **** and oh also your company went into administration (violin time!).
Be the corny “find yourself” person. If not and you come back after a year, what have you lost? Not much! You can start again. Choose where you want to start over. Look at what you did in Cambridge, Lincoln and Hull. All of those places you settled, met people and made friends. You can do it anywhere. Don’t be scared. Move closer to your family. You’re one of the few that love yours and can stand them and want to see them, so move closer you fucking twat.
So the above is just the logistics but really what matters is how I’m feeling right now. Basically I’m not happy. Looking at those words makes me sound like a depressed piece of shit. I’m not. I just know that’s the path I’m heading towards if changes aren’t made. That I will start to lose my enthusiasm for life. Do I want that? Of course not. So this is my chance to change that. To take control and do something about it.
However why are you asking yourself what have you lost from a year of travel??? Be positive. What will you gain from travelling? Fuck loads. You will hate yourself if you do not seize this opportunity. This moment in your life. Seize it now. Don’t put off. Don’t wait. Just do.
Everything happens for a reason. That is you. That’s your positive outlook on life. Look at travelling the same way.
Life is what YOU make of it.
If in doubt, just listen to the suncreen song. The most interesting people you know still don’t know what they’re doing when they 40 years old. There’s no shame in that. More so in fact in settling for a life you’re not happy with.
SO JUST FUCKING TRAVEL YOU PIECE OF SHITE
So there we go. In black and white that’s the moment captured where from then on in I decided to go travelling. Still on the fence about going travelling? Write a note to yourself and see if you feel the same in a month or so. If you do, then start deciding what YOU are going to do about it. It may sound stupid, I know, what difference can a note make right? However I’m typing this from Kuala Lumpur, so it definitely works for some.