2017 was a roller coaster of a year for me. I had some huge changes in both my work and personal life, all of which led me to question the path I was going down.
Having rushed through school and university, I’d gone straight into work in London without much thought. It was great! I was finally earning a living, I’d achieved some of my childhood goals and was enjoying the wonders of London.
Fast-forward five years and there I was. Work had become monotonous, the tube a nightmare, Sundays were filled with dread and I’d lost my sense of adventure. I was getting older but I wasn’t sure that this was how I wanted to live the rest of my life. I decided I was going to change jobs and try to travel a little bit in between.
But who would I want to work for? Would I want to try one of the big tech giants? Maybe a cool little start-up? I had certainly had enough of the corporate, finance tech environment for now. After 5 years of working in finance I’d realised that I didn’t have fancy tastes, wasn’t interested in having a more expensive watch than the next guy and couldn’t give two fucks if you’re a “Vice President”. It wasn’t me and I wasn’t going to live the lie any more. I decided I was going to work on something more meaningful and not just for money and “success”.
I started thinking more about travelling before joining another company. And then I really started focussing on the travelling. Why take a measly two weeks off, when I could take a year? Why save all my money for retirement when I could travel the world in my youth? I’d even heard I could “find myself” if I went away for long enough.
Laos visa photos. About as corporate as I’ve ever felt.
Having been fortunate enough to spend three months previously with my best friends travelling around South-East Asia and Australia, I knew travelling had been the happiest few months of my life. The thought of never being able to backpack like that again was truly crushing. How far could I really get on 25 days of annual leave? And then it struck me… what’s stopping me going away again? The jobs in London are still going to be here when I get back and even if it means I have to wait a bit longer to buy a house then so be it. So I decided, I was going to leave London, book a one-way ticket and say goodbye to the 9-5 corporate lifestyle. I’d never been so excited in my life.
Driving across Australia in a campervan
The research began. Which countries did I want to visit? When would be best to visit them? I wanted to see them all! In true programmer-style, I took the problem a bit too seriously and built an app to try and optimise a route around the world that would always remain in Summer. I was to start in South America, continue up into Central America and drive across North America, starting in Florida and finishing in Vancouver. Where next? I was going to hop across the Pacific to New Zealand, hoping to check out the Cook Islands en route. From there I planned to take a mini-tour of Asia, across The Philippines, Sri Lanka, India and Nepal. If I had any remaining time I would fly to Africa and then make it home to England for Christmas. The reality was starting to set in (even writing this I’m not sure it fully has).
When it comes to travelling around the world, it turns out there’s a lot to plan. Who’d have thought? Flights, injections, bags, cameras, insurance… the list goes on and I’ve spent the last few months preparing. In terms of the destinations, I’d rather not plan every minute detail, as I think the unpredictability is part of the fun of travelling, so the rough route would suffice for now. I managed to convince my two best friends to come with me and we’ve all booked a one way ticket to start in Argentina. Aside from the planning of our trip, we would have to quit our jobs, leave our flats and say goodbye to family and friends.
So here we are, January 2018, just one month away from leaving the UK for the rest of the year. Nervous? Slightly. Excited? Very. If I don’t do this now, it’ll be something I regret for the rest of my life. In fact, I’m sure it’s going to have some effect on the way I choose to lead the rest of my life. This blog may go quiet for a few months, but don’t worry about me, I’ll be thinking of you on those dark Sunday evenings. Peace.