Why do you travel so much? What are you escaping from? Why are you so obsessed with travelling to other countries? Why do you spend ALL your money on travel? Are some questions people usually ask me.
I guess the short answer is that I want to be happy.
For the long answer, I guess you will need to read on.
When I was 16, I had always wanted to go abroad, but I had never even left the country I live in. My mum was absolutely terrified of flying and point blank refused to get on a plane. I had just gone through 12 depressing years of school – with the message “go to school, get a job, get a mortgage” constantly being drilled into my head. I was actually so afraid to finish high school because I didn’t have one clue what I wanted to do once it was over, and when it was – I had never felt so lost in my life. I started college and took Business Studies and Computing, as at the time I thought that these subjects would get me the furthest in life. How wrong I was. All I felt was pressure and more pressure.
Anyway, my time in College lasted a whole two weeks before I gave up and dropped out. I was very, very clever and always got high grades, but I guess my heart wasn’t in it and I knew deep down that I wasn’t cut out for the “go to school, get a job, get a mortgage” kind of life. I spent a few years slaving away in McDonald’s whilst trying to figure out what to do with my life – but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. I was stuck in a rut and I literally couldn’t see any way out – I wanted to work in travel, but I just couldn’t find a way into it, and I definitely did not want to go back to college.
By this time, I had been abroad a couple of times, and I had a blast visiting various places in Spain with my best friend – and I couldn’t get enough of it. Any chance we got, we would go abroad to escape our daily lives and have the time of our lives – but after it was over I would always return home, depressed and drinking a bottle of wine every evening to make myself feel better. It was on one of these tipsy evenings that I decided that I was gonna get a travel job no matter what it takes.
The next day, I applied for every job in travel I could find – I had no experience, but I was determined not to work in McDonald’s for the rest of my life. I eventually ended up getting a job as an Apprentice Travel Agent in the not-so-lovely town of Bolton that I now call home – fair enough the pay wasn’t the best, but I was happy that things were finally looking up. I had been waiting all year for my first long haul trip abroad to Thailand, and about 3 months after I started my new job it was FINALLY time to go.
I remember arriving into Bangkok after being awake nearly 24 hours – being on a packed sky train with my best friend and two massive bags, the gridlocked traffic on the taxi ride to our hotel – the the sound of honking horns, the distinct smell of the city – the sheer difference to my life at home in England. It was at that exact moment that I became hooked on travel. I had finally come to realize, after years of uncertainty, what I wanted to do with my life – and it was staring me in the face all along.
I see other travel bloggers claim they are not trying to escape from anything when they travel, but for me, travel is ALL about escaping. Escaping the work, eat, sleep, repeat routine which I have never ever wanted, escaping from the stresses of day to life, escaping from the constant pressure of people saying you should go to university – you should chase the paper, get a better job, get a mortgage blah blah blah. The list is endless.
I am so obsessed with travel because it taught to see my own problems in a different way. You will realize how small you are in the grand scheme of the world, and all your issues at home seem to fade into insignificance. I love the sense of acceptance I get from fellow travellers. I love making new friends, I love trying (and failing) new languages, and I love the confidence I get to talk to new people who I wouldn’t usually talk to at home. I love sightseeing, and I love laying like a starfish on the beach, I love the new food. I love it all. I cant believe it took me so long to understand the phrase “do what makes you happy”.
I now finally have some kind of idea what I want to do with my life. OK, so my plan isn’t perfect, but what plan ever is?
I want to finish saving money, I want to quit my job (although I do love it), I want to sell everything I own, and I want to see the world. It might last a year, it might last 2, I might even be begging for a boring 9-5 life and a mortgage eventually, but for now – travel makes me happy – and that is why I am so obsessed.
What is it about travel that you love the most? Leave a comment below.