A TRIP INTO MY HEAD
Let’s be honest: most people don’t just get up and leave without some planning, a good idea of the why, where and how, or without having settled everything back home. I kind of did.
It took me about a week to decide, “plan”, and book my RTW flights. Within another week, I had gone to the bank and emptied my savings account, had given my notice to the landlord and all round tied up loose ends back in London: I was ready to leave.
You might think I am insane, but let me reassure you: I didn’t actually leave straight away. Firstly, I had to graduate from my Masters, secondly, I had previously booked a trip to Japan as a birthday present to my mum. So I went down to Paris, then headed over to Japan before the “real” travelling was to take place. The trip to Japan is, in my head, included within my long-term travel. After all, everyone thought it was, and I didn’t even have two weeks between coming back to Europe and flying to Hawai’i. On top of which, my entire life was packed, I had left London, and I had no idea when I was to come back.
Before leaving, my life was what you would expect from a recent graduate. I had a job that paid the rent, some savings, drinks with flatmates, a local pub where I spent too much time and a Chinese takeaway on speed dial. But when everyone around me at the office was checking out Facebook whenever things were slow, I was checking out flights, making lists of places I hadn’t been, pulling maps of the world to figure out routes, and daydreaming about the travelling I had done. When I got an email about round the world fares, it was an easy sell. My work contract was ending, I had managed to save a good amount of money, and I was getting sick of London and the same old, same old routine I found myself in. It was time to go explore.
The reason(s) I left are no different from the reasons most people decide to go travelling. The difference is that I had the means, nothing to tie me down to one place, and most importantly, I really, really, wanted to.
I believe most people question themselves so much when about to make a decision like that, they never end up doing anything. I didn’t ask questions. That’s what my friends were for: what are you going to do, where are you going to go, what about when you come back, BUT ARE YOU SURE?! I never worried about any of it. The last couple of weeks in London, I was, to all intent and purposes, already gone. It was all minutiae, admin work, getting things sorted and fighting with boxes full of stuff (and I have many). Once I had made the decision, everything else was just ticking items off a list. And because the decision was easy, everything else seemed to be, too.
Because I never doubted my decision to leave, I didn’t question what I was doing once I hit the road. It just all… happened. The only moment I really wondered about my situation was when I got to the airport in Singapore. The scariest part was not leaving, it was coming back.
If you are wondering what it is like to come back from a good long while on the road, check this out. But whilst my job hunting might not be going that great, everything else eventually fell into some kind of place. I might not be where I was before I left, but it isn’t that much of an issue: after all, I am used to dealing with the unexpected, that is all you get on the road. I never thought I would start a blog, but here I am. Maybe I have changed, as everyone told me before I left: “you are going to be so different when you come back”. Did I really change? That would have been a more relevant question 10 years ago when I left Europe long term for the first time. This time around, apart from this blog, I’m still the same old me.
One of the reasons it was so easy to backpack around the world was probably my outlook on the whole experience. I didn’t think of it as travelling for months so much as checking out each and every spot I found myself at. It was a sum of travels that added up to 8 months. It was actually a shock to come back and realise it had been that long I’d been gone. Time flies when you’re doing what you were meant to.