People always put off travelling for many reasons – whether it be a weekend away, or a gap year across the other side of the world. I think a lot of people thought we were crazy when we told them what we planned on doing. The amount of times people told me I was brave, or that they wished they could do the same, was surprising. I know its a scary thing to think about doing; but when you really break down all the things going on in everyday life, there isn’t really much holding you back from pursuing a life of travel.
Putting a personal spin on this, I am a very indecisive person, and don’t very much enjoy change. I’m also extremely anxious, very socially awkward, and freak-out over every single small detail; planning for every worst case scenario. So all of these things combined made it very hard for me to decide that this decision was the best thing for my life right now.
To help get through all the mess of fears and emotions running through my head I put everything I could think of down on paper and highlighted what I thought were the biggest things convincing me to stay; and the biggest motivators to just say “F*ck it. We’re going to Europe.”
Number One: leaving my current job
And this was one of the biggest reasons for me to stay. I love my job; I actually do, and I think not many people can say that. This job has given me so much more than anyone could ever imagine. Before I started I was lost and didn’t know what to with my life. And not your average “stuck between high school and adulting” sort of lost, but more “almost stepping over to the wrong side of the tracks” sort of lost. My current job has given me motivation, and purpose, and taught me to love learning again – something I lost back in early high school when a certain massive life changing event occurred. I’ve been with this company almost as long as I’ve been with Luke, so making the decision to leave was a hard one.
Number Two: buying our dream home
The amount of happy snaps I see on Facebook of old school friends joyfully standing in front of a ‘For Sale’ sign with the big SOLD plastered across sideways, is sickening. Okay – maybe the word sickening is a bit too strong, but it’s only because I’m jealous. Where’s my dream house! Why haven’t Luke and I bought our first home yet?! We talked about it, at length, a few years ago – when the property market was at its best for buyers and it’s something we’re both actually really looking forward too. Ah homeowners, sounds good doesn’t it. But at that point in time, we both hadn’t gone overseas so we always promised ourselves that we would travel first, and then buy a house.
Number Three: losing stability
You’re a creature of habit Alicia. Why change that? Every time I would think about going overseas long term, the little voice in my head would remind me that I’m not a very strong person and get anxious easily, and freak out all the time, and need structure in my life. You’re weak Alicia. What makes you think you’re going to last overseas. What are you going to do if you can’t get a job – Cry? – of course you will, cause you’re a sad insecure stupid idiot. Wow- my inner voice is a bitch. Well you know what inner voice, I’ve been through some shit in my life some real hard shit. And I’ve managed to somehow overcome every hurdle life has thrown at me and come out the other side a better, wiser, and more mature person. So with that in mind – yes I know I’m going to freak out, and probably have more panic attacks than I’ve ever had in my life, but in the end it will be worth it because seeing the world is more important to me than being ‘safe’ my whole life.
Number Four: saying Au revoir to the people we love
It’s a big thing – moving away. It’s massive. I think the biggest impact on anyone when moving is leaving behind all the people that aren’t moving with them, and this can be applied to any situation in life; leaving primary school, flying the nest, changing jobs; the list goes on. And for Luke and I, I think this will be a really hard one. We are both very family oriented – even if we don’t think about it all the time. People are surprised when I tell them we have dinner as a family EVERY Sunday night without fail (followed by Game of Thrones night on Mondays at the moment #winteriscoming). We’ve even recently moved back into his mums and dads place to help save some extra cash, so the family closeness is currently at an all-time high. And my sister and I have gone through quite a few rough patches over the years, but at the moment we’re closer than ever so it will be really hard to be away from her for so long.
God I’ll miss my family.
Number Five: but I’m poor. Please sir, can I have more?
When we first talked about going to Europe years ago, we never started making any serious plans because we said we would always wait until we have enough money; and we never thought we had enough money. But how much exactly is ‘enough’? When you take into account all the usual expenses: a plane ticket, accommodation, eating and drinking, tours / sightseeing, transport, travel insurance, vaccinations- and now add to that the cost to get a working VISA; the end price-tag is huge. For a long time we never thought we could afford to go on a holiday – let alone live in Europe.
Geez. I’m really no good at this whole short and to-the-point posts thing.
Summarise Alicia! Summarise!
Okay lets just move on and try to get through this as fast as possible….
Number One: job / schmob
Luke and I had toyed with the idea of going overseas permanently for a while, but my job was still something that was holding me back from fully accepting the idea. When I first approached my boss about the possibility of a long term stay in Europe – she was ecstatic; which was a relief because to be completely honest, I had already decided I was leaving when I first talked to her. (Sorry Lisa). I just didn’t want to give her the wrong impression, looking like I didn’t care about my job. because I do. Deeply. I still remember writing my resignation letter; teary eyed and full of sadness with a huge lump in my throat. I don’t know why it felt like such a relief that it was finally official, but a huge part of me felt like I was letting a lot of people down. She was the one who made me realise though how amazing of an opportunity this is, especially that I had someone who wanted to do this with me; and that I shouldn’t let anything (even an amazing job) hold me back.
Number Two: we don’t own a house
Well, well, well… turned out not being organised and failing to enter the property market paid out well for us. Imagine trying to organise a life changing trip such as this and juggle trying to pay a mortgage – no thanks. It just wouldn’t happen. Now I’m not saying anyone who owns a house can’t do what we’re doing – by all means, if you own a house and decide tomorrow that you want to Nomad – go for it, kudos to you my friend. But I’m just saying, that in our lives, with our financial situation (or lack thereof really), it just wouldn’t be possible. So thank you kosmos for keeping us poor, ensuring we didn’t spend all our pennies on a house deposit – because if we did, there would be no way in hell we could ever do this trip right now.
Number Three: we haven’t travelled very much
And by not very much, I mean practically not at all. There’s a lovely quote that goes:
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page” – well if that’s got any truth to it, Chris hasn’t even properly looked over the cover and Luke and I are still stuck on the contents page. Morons. Our first (and only) holiday together as a couple was to Thailand in 2014; and before that my first time overseas was with my sister to Fiji the year before. Chris has had his passport for about 7 years and it’s still yet to receive its first stamp! To say the three of us are beginners is an understatement. And I think the beautiful thing about that is we’re throwing ourselves into this situation with no real experience, and I think we’ll love it a whole lot more.
Number Four: we’re almost 30
And in terms of travelling, that’s not a problem. But when you look at wanting the option to get a working visa to try and find work overseas when funds get a bit stretched, then yes there’s definitely a deadline with a lot of countries that needs to be taken into account.
Plus, and this is something that’s popped into my head a few times – I don’t not want to grow up. I want a house, I want kids, I want the boring grown up life – but I want to see the world too. I always thought when I was younger I would have kids by the time I turned 30… but no, here I am quitting my job and packing my bag with a one-way ticket to Europe. I’m not trying to say the sooner we go on this trip and get this over with, the sooner I’m going to start popping them out; but we’re not getting any younger and I feel like this trip is helping us take the next step there, not pushing us further away from it.
Number Five: who needs money anyway?!
Everybody loves free stuff – and there’s a whole lot of it out there in the travelling world. Only after we started to really look into what we wanted to get out of this trip did we realise how cheap we can make it. For starters, there’s this awesome online community called Workaway which has been “set up to promote fair exchange between budget travellers, language learners or culture seekers”, which come to think of it we really need to set up profiles for before we leave. And then there’s couch-surfing, WWOOF-ing, Bla Bla Car; and so many more online communities dedicated to helping travellers see and experience the world on the cheap, or for free. And going back to my point from before about how much is enough? – Once the main initial things like flights and travel insurance are bought and paid for, it’s almost cheaper to be travelling than living locally! Instead of paying rent, we can couchsurf or do Workaway. Instead of phone plans and paying for internet, we can use free wi-fi. And instead of eating and drinking we can just starve! No. Not really. I love food too much.
So with all of this in mind – and this is really just a snapshot of all the different reasons to stay or go. HA! A snapshot I say. A 2000+ word snapshot. What a joke – but yes, keeping this in mind, it’s time to say……..
SAYONARA FAMILY AND FRIENDS!
AUF WIEDERSEHEN NORMAL BORING LIFE!
AND HEEEEEEELLLLLOOOOO BIG WIDE WORLD WAITING TO BE EXPLORED!!!