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  >  Travel   >  Foreign Travel   >  How did I decide to go travelling?
Image by Andrew Smith

Image by Andrew Smith

I write this with incredibly sore arms after starting a course of jabs ahead of next year’s travels, and I felt it was about time for another post about my plans. This one is about a question I’ve been asked a lot since making my decision and starting to plan my getaway for next year. It’s strange, because it doesn’t seem a big deal to me – just a natural choice, but it is a pretty huge decision to pack your life up, move to the other side of the world, give up your job and take a chance. It’s not something that comes easy to all of us, and for me, this decision was a long time coming. So, for those who are having those niggling thoughts, who catch themselves daydreaming about the life they wish they had, this post is all about how I made one of the biggest decisions of my life.

It happened over Christmas 2013. For the first time since finishing university, I had a full two weeks off work for Christmas and after just a week, I knew I didn’t want to go back. I’d had these thoughts in the back of my mind for a long time that my job was no longer what I wanted it to be, and it was just a case of working out if I wanted to move to a big city like London and start afresh, or whether to follow my dreams of travelling the world. This was more a daydreaming stage and I never thought I would actually make my travelling dreams a reality. I’d been stuck in a sort of limbo for the past few months, the previous summer had been amazing and I’d been so busy having fun that my job had become just that, a job. But when the summer drew to a close, I realised without all those fun distractions, I was a bit bored and wanted to escape.

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Image by Dennis Skley

Image by Dennis Skley

I don’t want to sound ungrateful, I love my job and it has given me huge opportunities and a great basis for a career, but it had become stale for me after three years of working in the same office and I was ready for a change. I plodded on, not really thinking about it as other distractions popped up, but that voice in the back of my head grew louder and louder. My relationship was going through a bit of a rough patch and so I threw myself into a family Christmas and loved every second. But early January, something happened. Something that I’m still not really ready to talk about, but it suddenly threw everything into place for me. Something snapped inside of me and I realised that there was nothing holding me to my town, that actually, at that point, there was more driving me away than pinning me down. You’ve all had those moments when life gets a bit much and you have to get away? Well I couldn’t escape it all, so I started to plan and I made a decision. I decided to travel.

You might worry I was running away, but actually my problems at the time were just a catalyst for something much bigger that was already in motion. This was the answer to my melancholy, to my feelings of being trapped inside my own body. I told a few people, close friends and family about my decision, but I’m not sure they really took me seriously, they just thought I had an idea but wouldn’t actually end up going. Of course there are many who make the plans and never end up going, many who talk about it but never find the courage to up sticks and travel. But I was determined. So what did I do?

Image by Daniel Panev

Image by Daniel Panev

  • I started researching online and found a great travel guide for the first country I wanted to go to. I poured over it like my life depended on it and read countless travel blogs about how to plan a trip.
  • I started saving and made a savings plan for how much I would need and how long I would need to work for before I could go.

It was as easy as that, once I snapped everything just started to slot into place and suddenly it all made sense. I felt so free to have made the choice and to have a plan, a goal to work towards and that has seen me through the last nine months where I have been saving and working. I had several commitments that meant I couldn’t leave any earlier in the year, which was hard for me for a while as circumstances had me wanting to up and leave straight away. But I’m glad I waited as I wouldn’t have been in the right mindset to really enjoy my travels at that point. Plus the time I’ve had has given me the chance to save at a realistic rate, and to enjoy spending time with all my loved ones before leaving, which makes me feel less guilty in case I decide to stay longer.

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For me it was slightly easier as I was living with my parents, which meant I had no ties to a mortgage or home, plus I was working in a job that I had already milked clean of all experiences and potential.

I totally understand for others it might be more complicated, but I genuinely believe that making the initial decision to jump is the hardest part and after that it all starts to fall into place.

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What sparked your decision to give up life as you knew it and travel? Did you have a similar experience to me?

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Comments:

  • VickyFlipFlop

    October 8, 2014

    Brilliant idea! I also had something happen to make me go travelling and I’m SO glad I did. I’m currently lying on a beach in San Pancho, Mexico, absolutely loving life!

    Love your blog too. I think it’s a good idea to take your time over planning, so you can be sure of your plans. So you’re heading to Indonesia next year? Me too!

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      • October 23, 2014

        Vietnam is absolutely amazing, definitely try to do a tour of the Mekong Delta (you can do a tour that combines that with a transfer by river boat to Cambodia), and travelling by the Reunification Express is a must.

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          • October 24, 2014

            There’s a few blogs on my photography site about our Vietnam trip, might be some good tips in there, we were travelling with our 3 year old, so slightly different, but I don’t think it changed how we’d have traveled around.

            We booked a few things before we went as we were limited by time. But things like the train tickets are easy to do by yourself, and buy them from the stations, don’t get an agent to do it for you as they’ll hike the price.

            You can buy train tickets in advance, but, you have to be *at* the starting station to buy them. So we had to buy tickets from Saigon – Nha Trang, but could only buy our ticket onward once we got to Nha Trang. The best tickets are A/C Soft Sleeper, 4 quite nice beds in a room. Hard Sleepers are the next option, they’re not as bad as they sound, but there’s 6 in a room, we managed it no problem though, everyone was incredibly friendly.

            We did Saigon – Nha Trang – Da Nang – Hoi An – Hue – Hanoi – Halong Bay – Hanoi

            We flew from Hue to Hanoi, it was only £100 for all 3 of us and an hours flight, rather than 13 hour train. We’d have done the train if it’d just been me and Lizzie, but too much to have a 3yo on for that long.

  • October 14, 2014

    Excellent ,, saying to get it out of your system is not mean to be negative it is to say life will pass you by very fast and having no major obligations at this time makes it easier. I know your family and that man will follow your every update as you travel.. A workmate did those countries on a bike or such years ago and he was in his fifties. As he said the people in places like Cambodia and Laos were so friendly and the meals were inexpensive. Certainly watch out for where you are in some of those areas and especially if someone you do not know offers a free drink out of the blue or as Derek said the best water is sometimes a bottled cool beer or warm one.
    Ok,, I know I sound like your Dad,, sorry about that .
    As to Aus and Kiwi land,,, choose the right visa else they can cause you not to come back for a few years ,, if you want to stay longer then the visa you normally only have to fly to New Zealand and then come back with a new one. Australia is a beautiful country , so lovely and great people, wine yards are great , no swimming with crocs though they would consider you a major treat . 🙂
    My grandchildren and dog and all await so I will leave you and you know darn well I wish the best for you in flowing your dreams Lucy..
    Cheers / Rob ( your groupie 🙂 )

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  • October 22, 2014

    Aahhh this is JUST what I needed! Thank you so much for going into detail, I am feeling exactly the same way. Just finished uni, moved home, working as an Elf over christmas (lol) and writing my blog, which I could do anywhere with an internet connection. I am just gathering bits of inspiration (and money) before booking that plane ticket. I am so nervous about possibly going solo, but reading lots of blogs about other experience has really made me a lot more confident that SO many people do it, as you end up meeting a bunch of amazing people when you get there! 🙂 2015 is going to be a good one fo’sho. Immy X

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  • October 28, 2014

    Super motivational! I never went travelling but am about to embark on another big adventure – moving to the other side of the world. Im trying to feel the fear and do it anyway, but its crazy exciting and super scary all at the same time!

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