I was very pleased recently to see a good friend I hadn’t spoken too for quite a while. He’s just come back from Russia after spending a few months over there as part of his university degree.
We got chatting about travelling. Nearly 5 years ago now, just before we started college, me, him and a group of others spent a month in Cambodia and Thailand. We worked in an orphanage in a place called Battambang in Cambodia and then spent some time trekking in the jungles of Thailand in the Chiang Rai region. It was all part of a World Challenge Expedition, a company that take youngsters to different parts of the world to engage in project work. They gave me the big old travel bug!
I keep in touch with the majority of team, some of them are my closest friends. I’m the only full-time worker though. The rest of them now are in their last years of university, or indeed their masters year, if they’re insane enough. 3 of them are studying languages, and as a result must spend a year abroad. One of them spend 09/10 in Catalonia, Spain, another is currently somewhere in France and the other spent 2 months in Prague, Czech Repulic then 5 months in Yarsolavl, Russia and in February is off to somewhere in Nicaragua, Central America.
I get insanely jealous. After his time in Nicaragua he’s going to spend 2 months travelling around Argentina and Chile and that chap that studied in Catalonia is going to spend some time out in Chile with him. They tell me all their crazy, mad travel stories, and it really gets to me. I’m missing out, majorly.
I made a call earlier this year though. I had a weeks leave booked with nothing planned. Everyone else was at university and other friends weren’t available. I was going to do something. I hadn’t travelled alone before though. Sod it, I thought. Onto the EasyJet website it was and before I had the chance to think about what I was doing I had flights to and from Rome.
I had forced myself out of my comfort zone. Turned out to be a great decision. I planned ahead, what to do, where to go etc. 2 weeks later I had an itinerary (Yes, I have ‘mild’ OCD so need everything planned!) I’d spend a few days in Rome, go see the Vatican, Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain and whatnot before travelling on the train to Naples to visit Pompeii, Mt Vesuvius and the Almafi Coast. Then on the train again, this time to Catania in Sciliy to see and explore Mt Etna. My best week this year definitely. I met some great people, shared great stories and never travelled alone once. The people I met were so nice we’d all go out for a meal and find out we had the same plans the next day and all do it together.
I know, not quite as exciting as the others, but I’m going to have the last laugh. They’re all racking up an unhealthy amount of debt. I’m taking in quite a decent amount of money. See where I’m going? I put away quite a bit each month, and 5 years from now, maybe 6 I’m going to leave my job and go wandering around the globe. Not quite sure where yet, perhaps over to the USA, buy a car or camper van and drive around for a year. Do a bit of South America, I need to go the Falklands with my dad at some point too (he was in the war) then head over to Australia and New Zealand. I’ve always wanted to explore Kazakhstan too (don’t ask why).
That’s the plan anyway. I’ll let you know in 7ish years time how its gone…