Well at first it starts with a burning desire and then it snowballs into something that might just, only just, become a possibility. Then you start to dream….you could leave the stressful 9 to 5 (ish), you could never have to deal with that tricky client call ever again, you could visit all the places on your “do before you die list” and have the time of your life!
Where to go, what to do, how to pay for it, what to pack, how will you manage by yourself? What do actually do when you “go travelling?” For many months beforehand all these questions seem a distance distraction and you can get excited about that beach in Thailand or walking along the Great Wall of China.
Inspired after purchasing a copy of travellers bibles The Practical Nomad and The Rough Guide’s First Time Round the World (as bit of light reading!)…you begin to work hard, start saving, mention it to friends and family, meet with a travel agent, spend hours vaguely surfing the virtual world and start signing up to random international newsletters.
A few months pass and you bore all those close to you talking about it. It’s a great pub conversation, gives you “an edge” and you really start to believe that it could actually happen.
Then one idle Saturday afternoon, you go and book it! Where would you like to start? Oooh always fancied Russia and read in a book somewhere about the Trans Siberian Railway – that always pricked my interest. Oh and the Great Wall of China is a must. Yes, Mongolia, of course – how cool would it be to actually go to “Outer Mongolia” rather than just using it as a euphemism for getting completely lost! And, I have mates in Australia, but don’t want to fly straight there, so why not have a mooch around South East Asia for a few months…maybe a spot of volunteering and why not fit in a TEFL qualification to boot (at least I’ll have something in the bank to get work as a new age hippy pensioner!).
So then you start telling everyone again – and in the words of Peter Kay booked it, packed it and ****ing off in Feb 2011. The parents take it badly (understandably), some pension-secure, married family types find it incomprehensible, close friends start getting closer, the times you have with the people you love become more cherished and you wonder if you’ve done the right thing.
You move out of the city pad and into a rented room of a mate’s brother’s house in the less salubrious part of town. Saving money, getting gee’d up by the prospect of a bright new future by a new found friend and very jealous housemate…all guns blazing!
Then after a couple of months of tactical consideration, you are obliged to give in your notice at the great job which drives you to distraction, has taken over your life for longer than it should and was a deal breaker in “should I stay or should I go”. And what happens…you break down in floods of tears! Go figure!
In case you were wondering, I quit my job today to go travelling round the world this year. The sense of excitement, adventure, fear, elation, loneliness, more excitement and the reality of it all has caught up with me and proper knocked the wind right out of my sails! Don’t get me wrong, I can count on fingers and toes how many people think they would like to trade places with me right now and after a good night’s sleep and one more pay cheque in the bank I’ll get right back on it and be able to blog with some answers to the questions above. But, for today, packing all your belongings into your shiny new kit bag and leaving all your troubles behind you is one hell of a scary ride!