I’m not in a position to tell anyone how they should live their life - indeed it would be wise to avoid the more hedonistic aspects of my lifestyle - but there is one aspect of my life which I hope will provide inspiration to others, my love of travelling. And so this is a message to anyone who has never travelled for an extended period of time or lived in a foreign country; do it, as soon as possible.
The first section of my current trip, travelling from Rio De Janeiro to Cancun, then catching up with some friends in California before arriving in Australia, is complete. It’s surpassed everything I could’ve expected. It has reconfirmed, and further increased my love of being on the road, free to explore wherever I please, backpack nestling uncomfortably upon my shoulders. I appreciate that backpacking may not be everyone’s preferred method of travel, but you’ll never know until you try it, and I’d do it soon, before humans nullify the fascinating intricacies that this beautiful planet offers.
According to conventional thinking in our closed-minded Western society, I should be in the midst of a headlong charge towards making it in life, towards achieving the American Dream. Seeing as I don’t own a flat, a car, a computer, a television, have any kind of life plan or even a job, I have a long way to go.
However, I can honestly say that this is the happiest I’ve ever been in my whole life. I owe this innate happiness to the amazing people that I’ve encountered in my life, and the fortunate circumstances that I find myself in which allow me to explore our magical planet. But it’s not all luck. Anyone can walk the wondrous, see the spectacular, smell the sublime, taste the tantalising, and listen to life as I have, you just need to stop coming up with excuses not to.
Money, or lack of, is a common excuse. My advice; life a more frugal lifestyle, cut down on buying material goods that you’ll never use, and you’ll be amazed how much spare money you have. I spend a lot less travelling the world than I did living the London life, and apart from the great friends that I made there, I don’t miss it at all.
Work, or falling behind others on the never-ending career treadmill, is another excuse. I’m 26 years old – and starting to look it – and realistically I’m going to have to work for the next 40 years of my life whether I like it or not. Therefore, I’m no longer worried about taking a few years out to live out my dreams, and hopefully travelling with always be a part of my life, but if not then mundane life will always be there as a backup.
Fear. You will be out of your comfort zone. You will get ripped off arriving into every country you visit. You will lose or break most of what you’ve crammed into your backpack. And you will get a dodgy stomach, multiple times. But all of these are temporary drawbacks to what will be the time of your life. The sights you see, the memories you gain, the experiences you share, and the great friends you make will last a lifetime.
My past 4 days provide the perfect example of why you should travel. When in Bolivia, I met and travelled with two Australians, Joe Bailey and Sam Posetti. We had a ball, and when Joe found out I’d be in Australia for Christmas, I was cordially invited to join the Bailey family for the festivities. Even though I was a complete stranger, I’ve been made to feel like one of the family. I’ve been provided with mountains of excellent food, an endless supply of ice-cold beers, they’ve even bought me Christmas presents, and have never asked for anything in return. It won’t surprise you to hear that they’ve all done a lot of travelling, and they’re perfect examples of my favourite aspect of travelling; the people that you meet. I owe them a great debt of gratitude, and wherever I end up they’ll always be more than welcome to visit. A huge thank you to Mark, Cathy, Sam, Joe and Max Bailey for taking 'Pommy Tommy' in, I promise I'll leave soon!
So I hope that this blog inspires at least one of you that you could, and should, do what I’ve been lucky enough to have done during this trip. Turn your dreams into reality, you won’t regret it. As for me, I’ll soon be wandering out West, to bring in the New Year with a great friend who I didn’t even know existed 6 months ago. Have a great 2013 everyone!