It has been five years since I left my job and began full time travel. And today I leave my home I have lived in for the last three months. I go with mixed feelings as I am happy here. I’ve enjoyed living on a tropical island and becoming a part of local life. I don’t want to leave yet, but it’s time to create new adventures. And to see somewhere new. But mostly, the Thai visa has run out!
Reflections on the Travel Bug
Meanwhile, I reflect on my first overseas road trip. The epic 22 state road trip in North America was an exciting place for two teenage Australian girls. My sister and I rushed from city to city to see as much as we could in 3 months.
After that, the travel bug bit hard and I never stopped travelling. First I travelled solo across Europe and the Middle East. And later, in Asia, where I met my partner and travel companion.
Over the 20 years together, we have travelled as much as we could. Though from 2007 – 2014, we became serious about saving and worked full-time. We often worked 12 hour days and 60 hour weeks. During these years, we received four weeks a year for ourselves. We chose to holiday in our favourite places in Thailand. It was not enough! And we were not happy with the way we were living to work, and not living our passions.
Therefore, we saved hard for that moment in mid-2014 when we were able to say “No Thanks!” to the life that society wanted us to live. Instead, we began to live a life of full time travel and waking up to do what we pleased each day.
Leaving our jobs to travel didn’t take winning Lotto or imply we were rich. It meant that we had worked hard and saved harder, and now we were willing to sacrifice a paycheck to find happiness. And believe me, it was with trepidation that I quit my job. But the fear of not living my life to its full potential or living my dreams was even stronger.
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Living My Dreams
Up until 2014, I had visited 20 countries around the world. Now I found myself in the Instagram and digital nomad revolution, an era where travel is much more possible than ever before. The bucket list had grown, and there was a lot of catching up to do! And being fresh from eight years full-time, well-paid work, there were savings to be spent, on memories.
So we spent the last five years exploring thirty new countries and the places on my bucket list. We also travelled to some of the countries we had previously visited.
And I’ve realised it’s enjoyable seeing new places, but it’s also fun going back somewhere for the 2nd time. There’s no pressure to run around to the highlights of the area that you have already seen. And you get to see the things you didn’t have time to do the last time you were there. Also, when you go back the 3rd time, you start feeling like a local. You have your local must-visit haunts and things you love to do. Plus the bonus is that this kind of travel is more budget-friendly too.
Reflecting on our Choices and Celebrating
So today we reflect on the fact that we have managed to keep travelling for five years. It is more than I envisioned when we left our jobs. I had pledged never to work for anyone else again except ourselves. There have been odd jobs and enterprising ventures along the way, strategising to travel smarter and cheaper, and there have been sacrifices. But mostly, the last five years have been about doing what we want, when we want! And today we celebrate this!
And now, after five years of full time travel including many trips around Australia, New Zealand, Asia and thirty new countries visited over eight months in Europe, it’s time to slow down and revisit all the places we have fallen in love with and spend longer there.
I would be lying if I didn’t declare that this was a budgetary decision. Who wouldn’t want to jet set from a cruise to Antarctica to expensive countries such as Vanuatu, Japan & Norway? But it is also about quality and doing what you know you love. It is why I always lecture that one should start travelling as young as possible, so you have time to learn what you love the most. However, it is never too late!
Today is the Present!
Therefore, today brings me to here in Koh Phangan, Thailand, where I have been 19 times before. Sitting here in a beachfront bungalow, in the same room, I have been in many times before. In this place I love, I sit pondering the past and considering the future.
And I realise, here I was thinking about how much Koh Phangan has changed. But in fact, I now understand that it is not only Koh Phangan that has changed but the whole planet. Ten years ago, we were playing on Facebook for the first time and didn’t know what Twitter was. Now the entire world is connected online. We see the locals in remote villages playing on Facebook and Youtube. They dream about their chance to travel too.
I have changed too. And the last five years have shown me that if you have a dream and a strong enough desire, you can do it! However, it will take sacrifices, willpower and may take years to achieve it. I won’t go back to work in that office! And I’m here to show you, if you truly want it, Anything is possible!
I am beyond pleased I did not wait till the age of 65 or wait till decades in an office had given me a sore back. I’m thrilled I am still young enough to party at the Full Moon Party in Thailand, walk 15 km touring Rome or tramp 30 km in The Alps (well, I still need to work on my fitness to achieve that last one).
I’m pleased with my decision to take up full time travel and go see the world while I still can. But more important than seeing the world is to live in the world. When you have time, there is no need to rush.
We are not here forever. Today we celebrate Life and Travel!
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The Future is Now
And now back to the Thai visa running out. We’ve decided to go on an overland road trip through Asia. A trip where we roam unplanned. We will not worry about seeing bucket-list destinations. But if we pass them and we want to see them, then we will. We want to see how places we have visited over the last twenty years have changed. But mostly we want to admire the scenery, live in the moment and embrace the experience before us. It is the life we dreamed of, and now we are living it!
Read Next – Our Travels in Laos – A Return Road Trip 20 years on
Resources for living a life of full time travel
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