111In 2014 before I quit my job to travel the world, I wrote this article.
Back then I had a mind full of questions. I still don’t have all the answers but I’m making progress. And I’m happy.
This is a response to that earlier article, sort of.
Married on the Road
Getting along with your travel partner is obviously hugely important. Navi and I don’t have a fiery relationship. We tended not to argue back home in the UK. We’d also travelled together before in 2006, so I wasn’t that worried about us killing each other on the road. This time around though something was different straight away.
I’ve had quite a bit of time to think it over and I’ve come to realise that our relationship depends on countless more factors than whether or not we can stand to be in the same room together for extended periods.
The strange thing is, a little bit of unrest is actually making our marriage better. It was so easy back home in London to simply muddle through and ignore problems.
On the road, we are forced to confront them or lose our sanity.
Spending 24/7 with anyone is a challenge. We had lots of rows initially. Slowly though, those arguments turned into frank discussions. Eventually new systems began to establish themselves. New boundaries were drawn up in our minds. We clawed back some personal space and everything began to “click”.
It’s still a work in progress as we adjust to our new life on the road. For the first time however, I believe I’m really taking responsibility for the health of my relationship with my wife. I think before we went away, I was just being nice and leaving the rest up to the universe. Actively doing stuff to make it better feels pretty positive.
Family and Friends, the Reason I Can’t Travel Forever
This might be the most difficult aspect of travel when you are our age (39). I miss friends and family so much.
When I was dreaming of travel from my office cubicle I seriously thought I could travel forever. The first few Skype calls home showed me that was bullshit.
It sounds awful but I didn’t miss anyone when I travelled before. I think I was just young and wrapped up in my own thoughts and feelings. Now that I’m older something has changed.
My close circle of friends and family is a tight one. I can’t bear the thought of being apart from them for the rest of my life.
More than any single thing, I think this has forced me to re-evaluate my plans. Coming home at key holidays or meeting up with friends and family on the road has become an absolute priority.
Thoughts on the Nine to Five
Strangely I do miss work. Not the rainy Monday mornings or the mundane aspects but I miss feeling valued and relied upon. I miss knuckling down and creating something that I’m proud of. I miss the times when everything is going wrong and everyone is stressed and then suddenly… we fixed it.
I’m not sure this happens outside of the world if IT, but I’m sure every job has its version of that kind of elation in the face of adversity. That was cool. I really did love my job. I was pretty lucky.
I’ve tried to fill the void left by my career with this website. All in all it’s been a pretty good substitute.
backtotravel.com has been such an important part of my life. I’m so pleased I started a blog.
Travel Blogging for Cash, the Lame Idea Every Backpacker Has
Travel blogging has to be the single most congested marketplace for talented hipsters trying to earn an income online, ever! After seeing behind the curtain of this world, it’s my opinion that there is absolutely no way to “make it” in 2016 and maintain any kind of originality or dignity.
The route to success has been so clearly defined and refined that there must be 100,000 people doing the exact same thing right now.
It’s so liberating not to have to play that game.
Any early dreams I had of becoming a top travel blogger are dead… and I couldn’t be happier.
The Next 6 Months and Beyond
In 2016 I want to do more volunteering. Not many things teach you more about a place and its people than working with them. I think backpacking has been corrupted a little since its humble beginnings. Most regular destinations are overrun with tourists these days.
Working and volunteering abroad has become a kind of new frontier for intrepid travellers. A way to step off the beaten path and connect with locals outside of the tourist trade.
I also want to become an environmental activist. Not the radical militant kind. I simply mean I want to take action instead of just talking about stuff. I meet so many people that say they care about the environment but so few that actually do anything to protect it. I want to get involved in some conservation work somewhere along the road. If anyone has any suggestions I’d be happy to take them on board.
One thing I must also do is practice my dog persona. Feral dog attacks are a frequent feature of low budget travel. I’ve always been scared of dogs and I think they know it. If I don’t do something to combat my fears it’s only going to get worse. I need to be more like this dude.
If any backpackers are reading this and want to offer me some tips and/or training, I’d be very happy to compensate you with a beer or two.
So, did I make the right choice to hit the road and leave my comfortable life behind?
That’s the question that plagued me for the first few months of my travels. Now I realise it doesn’t matter.
I made a choice. There is no going back to how things were before, so what’s the point in mulling it over. I have to look forward. I have to make it work today.
Fact is, whether I’m happy or not is mostly in my control and has little to do with where I am or what I’m doing.
Has travel changed me?
Yeah, for sure. I’m learning what’s important to me. Without the financial pressures of the last 20 years I’m falling in love with the world again like I did when I was a child.
I despair at how badly we are treating this planet and the wonderful beings that live on it. I’ll never harm an animal again by eating it, nor contribute to their suffering by consuming any animal products. That’s a pretty big change for me I guess.
My diet is way better than it was back home and I’m trying to exercise properly. I feel much healthier and I’m excited for the first time about getting older and the new experiences it will bring. Weird huh?
Travel has afforded me the luxury of time to contemplate my beliefs and principles.
I’m learning to re-evaluate stuff and make meaningful change.
I suppose this illustrates better than anything the difference between having money and having time.
Of course money is important, but it distracts us from things that are more important, in my view.
Thanks to Everyone
Thank-you to you all for following along with us for the past 6 months. Without your encouragement and support the hard times would have been a lot harder and it would have been a lonely road indeed.
Please keep reading the blog and chatting to us online.
We love you all and we’ll see you all soon!