Change is the only constant we have, we can run in fear from it or embrace it when it comes or better still we can positively chase it. Drastic changes are the things that make us feel alive. This second post in my mini-series looks at why and how we quit our jobs and travelled around the world on a shoestring budget.
Addicted to Security
Living Is Cheap, Time is Precious
Reasons why you wouldn’t travel.
- “I don’t have the money to travel”. For most of us living in a western society it would be more accurate to say, “I’ve chosen to spend money on a lot of other things, so now I don’t have money to travel.” When Sofie and I decided to go on our round the world surf trip we gave ourselves 6 months to save up enough money to do it. We packed our house with lodgers so that our accommodation didn’t cost anything, we didn’t go to any festivals that summer or go out on many ‘big’ nights out – if you think that you could travel for a month for what it costs to go to festival for a weekend, all-in, it’s easy, we re-wore the clothes we had more often rather than buying new stuff, we cooked at home, avoided take-aways, took our own lunch in to work, made our own tea & coffees and generally lived life a little bit simpler. To be honest we hardly noticed the difference, we stayed in and had fun, we ate & drank well at home, we went surfing, we did the usual things in a slightly different way and generated enough money to go away for a year and not work.
- “I’ll do this kind of stuff when I retire” (or at some other distant point in the future). This is such an out-dated and illogical view-point. Why on earth would you wait until you reach retirement age to have meaningful, exciting, challenging experiences. Why not pepper your life with a series of mini-retirements? Do the things you’ve always wanted to do now, then do them again in a few more years and then again later on. The reality for most of us these days is that through redundancy or losing your job you may be forced to have these mini-retirements anyway. Why not be the one in charge of how, when and where? I can pretty much guarantee you that you will not look back on your life when you are retired and say “I wished I’d stayed in the office more”.
- “I’m a responsible grown-up with a family, it’s not just about me”. True, it’s not just about you, but that’s not to say your partner and your kids would not benefit from an amazing family adventure. Ask them, they might say “yes, please!” My friends have 2 sons, aged 8 and 11, and have just decided to go away for a year to Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Mongolia and beyond to see what might happen next. Maybe they’ll come back to the UK and do the jobs they used to do, maybe not. The kids are fizzing with excitement and so are their parents. The boys are at an age where they will benefit so much from an open-minded view of the world and a shared adventure with their parents. They will go to some schools along the ay and go back to school when they reach their destination, wherever that may be.
- “I don’t want to go away, I like it at home”. I like it at home too. Travelling re-affirmed that for me. I love Brighton, I love my family, I love my friends. But going away from all of that for a while only strengthened that love.
Reasons why you should travel.
- You can live amazingly well on under £10 a day. That was our budget and aside from a few treats when I got paid from the odd freelance writing gig we stuck to it and stayed in amazing locations and ate incredible food and had the most memorable experiences.
- It’s cheaper to travel than to stay at home so the risk of trying new things, starting new businesses, learning new skills is lowered because you have ‘bought’ yourself more time to experiment.
- Once you realise that you can live on much less than you thought you could the possibilities of what else you might do with your life really open up.
- The risk of starting new ventures is greatly reduced because you know that if it all goes wrong you can live a good life cheaply.
- Experience. We ticked off alot of the things on our ‘Dreamline’. Surfed daily, had time for daily yoga, lived a well-balanced healthy lifestyle, learned to meditate, published some travel writing in national newspapers…
- Time. With an extra 40-60 hours a week available to us because we weren’t at work we had time for ourselves, time for each other, time to meet new people, time to learn new skills, time to read, to practice, to think.
- Perspective. By getting away from our lives back home, away from any social pressures to act or be or do things in a certain way, to be away from small-minded cynicism, to spend time in cultures that value family and friendship above material possessions, to meet and spend time with people who live in ‘so-called’ poverty but smile way more often than our rich neighbours at home do, by stepping outside of our ‘normal’ we learned a lot.
- Inspiration. We saw amazing places, we did exciting and scary things and we met loads of interesting people along the road, from around the world and from all age groups. If they were travellers too often they were at different stages of a similar life adventure to the one we were having. We talked about our ideas, about their ideas and came up with loads of new ideas.
- Realisation. When any outcome is possible in terms of work, lifestyle and your location you begin to genuinely realise what’s important to you, stuff that we often take for granted. We realised we didn’t want to live somewhere exotic full time, that being close to friends and family is as important to us as spending time away. But extended time away from work and business confirmed that we didn’t miss the jobs we did before which had been a worry prior to leaving.
- Fun. If this is beginning to sound a bit too worthy and serious we shouldn’t forget the primary focus of the trip was to surf in beautiful places around the world. It was kinda fun.