Say YES to new adventures
Why did I decide to travel the world? What makes someone make that decision for themselves? Is it influences from friends or family, or perhaps an article that they recently read prompting them to get out, live & explore.
There are SO many reasons why people make the decision to travel long term. For me, travel was always something that inspired me. I knew deep down that I would eventually travel, but mustering up the strength to go it alone as a female solo traveller, took some time - 6 years to be exact.
See after my stint working in Paradise, aka The Maldives, I'd returned to London and settled into a "normal" life. The years rolled by, and so did so many incredible experiences with my family and friends. Promotions at work, countless birthday celebrations, trips to amazing festivals, and even more amazing holidays overseas to places like Ibiza, Miami and LA.
Back then I was the ultimate party girl - proven by the number of times I have been to Ibiza alone!! Well not alone, but you know what I mean! I loved nights out, getting drunk, partying and staying up late - even when I knew I'd have to wake up at 6am for work the next day. I experienced dating life, a couple of serious relationships, but nothing remotely satisfying or fulfilling - things always ended and as I've gotten older, and wiser its obvious why. The universe was leading me towards travel, towards adventure, helping me to manifest dreams, that lay dormant and untouched for many years. Dream's for myself, for my own happiness, and not the happiness of others. All of this led me to finally make the big decision to board that life changing flight in June 2013.
My earliest memory of wonder and my own imagination about travel, was when I was at University in Bournemouth, a beautiful coastal town in the south of England. Looking back I remember being young, although at the time I felt like I was an adult! Ha! Little did I know. But what I did know was that I wanted more, more than Bournemouth, more than London and more than England.
I remember I used to head down to the beach, a mere 15 minute walk away from my student accommodation, find a relatively comfy looking bench, pop my headphones in, press play & listen and stare out to the horizon. I would always be lost in the song I was listening to, in the beauty of the ocean, the rippling waves, the clouds moving overhead. A sea of colours, with the crispness of the air pressing against my young cheeks, I'd just sit and stare and wonder....What was on the other side of the ocean I was looking at, of the horizon I was memorised by? I remember that question always being at the forefront of my mind. Dreaming of worlds away that I was yet to explore, but knew existed - although I didn't know they existed to the level of beauty that I later went on to see with my very own eyes.
The Maldives was that moment for me! Seeing the beauty that existed there, is something that I don't think I could have ever imagined or dreamt for myself. Before moving there in 2006, I'd only ever been to Europe, and only a few countries at that - so this was something entirely different in terms of a life experience for myself. The beauty of discovering places I'd only ever seen in photo's grew massively for me, when I decided to buy that round the world ticket.
My Aunty had passed away suddenly in 2010, which was a very sad moment in my life, and the first time I really experienced or felt any real sense of grief. She was young, and incredibly important to my family, completing loving in every way to her nephews and nieces, as she had decided not to have any children of her own. My Aunty had championed everything that I had done up until that moment and I know was incredibly proud of what I had achieved, so I decided with her extremely generous gift left to me when she passed away, that I was going to use it to do the thing that I loved and that I dreamed about most. Travel.
I was at a point in my life where I'd been living with my best friend in a great flat in islington, and we'd had some seriously great times, but she was moving out to move in with her then boyfriend and I was at a bit of a cross roads about what to do. I decided to bring in another flatmate, but after 6 months, I knew that I had to really commit to saving a little more money, than my Aunty had left me, to really fulfill my dream of travelling the world for an entire year. So I moved home. About 30 minutes further north of where I'd been living in London, and as a result was saving almost £1000 a month, and being spoilt rotten by my Mum cleaning my room and cooking my meals. I felt like I'd gone back in time. I hadn't lived at home since moving out when I was 18 to go to University 200 miles away. 10 years had passed but not much had changed. I'm incredibly lucky in that I get on very well with my family, and my childhood bedroom remains my bedroom to this day. Being back home gave me a sense of structure and focus to really achieve my goal of saving for my big trip. Previously Id been totally rubbish with money. I'd easily spend £1000 on a holiday to Ibiza for a week, and then another £1500 on top of that whilst I was out there. I look back on those times and cringe, especially as I am a budget traveller, and know how far that money could get me in places like South America or South East Asia.
My savings soon mounted up, and every month I'd see my balance increase and get closer to where I needed it to be. My goal was £15,000 (British pounds), based on how long I was planning to be away for and where I wanted to visit. I knew that by spending 3 months travelling across the U.S.A at the beginning of my trip would mean that I'd need my budget to be a little higher, although still cheaper for me once I converted my British pounds into dollars. (Thankfully)!
My plans to save were sorted, and my living situation was happy and comfortable. Now all I needed to tackle was the matter of a one year sabbatical from my job as a Business Relationship Manager for one of the UK's biggest banks. Yep - I was a banker (for my sins). A career I sort of fell into after doing a Business Management degree at Uni, but one that I never saw as my long term choice. The funny thing about that thought, is that time passes SO damm quickly. You realise you're good at something, you work hard, you get promoted and you start to get used to a certain salary every month. And with that, 8 years had passed and I was still with the same bank, in the same industry, which if I'm totally honest I had lost all respect for (theres only so many shady things that an industry can be involved in before you do)!
Luckily for me my boss at the time agreed it, and I was due back in June 2014 - I had a whole year of freedom, to travel, to see, to smell, to dream, to live, to grow, to experience. Adventure waited for me, and the excitement on booking my round the world ticket just after the celebration of the New Year in 2013 was monumental! Blissful, marvellous and magical. That ultimate feeling of happiness and excitement. I'd finally done it; only took me a good few years to get there. But it didn't matter I had, and that was what was important.
I'd mustered the courage, the confidence, the knowledge and the focus to achieve my dream of embarking on my round the world trip. I was 29, I was female, I was travelling solo, but none of that mattered. I knew it was what I wanted and I knew it would change my life, and it has, in so many incredible amazing ways!
Its funny looking back and realising your earliest memories of wonder, of travel, of imagination - dreaming of what you now know, is how you want your life to be, but this time with my partner by my side.