28 Sep Why Travel?
Stupid question, right – I mean, who doesn’t love to travel? Who wouldn’t swap the daily confines of work, family obligations and familiar surroundings for the freedom to go where you please and fill your days with adventure? It’s a no-brainer. However, as our trip draws closer I’ve realised the answer to the question is more complicated than that.
Why Travel the World?
There are many obvious reasons to travel – the fun and adventure, the chance to see how other people live and the freedom to indulge your own interests. Travel benefits people in all kinds of ways; it gives you the chance to reflect on how small your life is and to realise what’s important to you. Many of us live on one tiny speck of the planet and forget that there’s a whole world of people, all living out their lives in different ways.
However, like many people, we haven’t always had the means to do much more than spend a couple of weeks a year on holiday. We both know people who took the chance to travel before starting University or getting a full-time job but for me, that never seemed possible. I was focused on getting my degree, then my masters, then on trying to find a job – any job – that would allow me to write for a living.
Then, three years ago, Andrew and I spent a month backpacking round Thailand. It was then that we realised just how much we love travel and decided to plan our round the world trip – even if we had to save for years to make it happen.
I Love Travel, But…
Leaving behind the lives we have now will be difficult. We have good, relatively well-paid jobs that we worked and studied hard for and I’ve already written about how much we love our lives in London. Achieving all this hasn’t been easy, it’s taken a long time, many disappointments and a lot of effort. So admitting that everything we’ve worked so hard to achieve and wanted for so long isn’t enough anymore feels ungrateful and spoilt.
Some days I can’t help thinking; why aren’t we interested in planning a wedding, spending our savings on a mortgage deposit, setting up a pension or having children; like so many other people we know? Why instead are we obsessed with travelling? I mean, aren’t we too old to go off backpacking – shouldn’t we have done this years ago while there wasn’t so much at stake? What if we run out of money or can’t find a job later on?
What I’ve come to realise is that this trip this isn’t just a holiday for us. It’s not a ‘gap year’ or a final taste of freedom before we settle down into the conventional, responsible world of mortgages, family and a long-term career. This trip is meant to be a complete lifestyle change; a way to transform the way we live and work forever.
We want to construct our lives so that they’re full of the things we love most; being together as much as possible, seeing new places and learning new things. I want to take back my time, to write about the things I want to write about, to work in the way I want to, to swim and walk and visit new places, to see Andrew for more than a few hours each evening after work before we go to bed exhausted, ready to start the whole same cycle again in the morning. I want to feel tired from walking and exploring, not from staring at a screen all day, I want my muscles to ache from carrying a backpack or hiking up a mountain, not from sitting awkwardly in a dodgy swivel office chair. I want to meet and talk to people who don’t speak the same language, who don’t come from the same background, whose lives are infinitely different from ours.
That, I think, is what travel will do for us – it’ll give us the chance to create the kind of life we really want to live.
“With everything ahead of us we left everything behind,
But nothing that we needed at least, not at this time
And now, this feeling that I’m feeling, well –
I’m feeling like my life is finally mine.”