I, myself, read a lot about blogs on how people made the decision to leave behind their life to travel or follow their dreams to get some inspiration. When I decided it would be my turn I also got a lot of questions and thought it would be good to share my experience. This is my story.
It’s always been a dream of mine to pack my bag and travel the world │I remember the first time I flew to Lisbon in Portugal for 15 Euros with Ryanair and the sense of freedom, I was 23. From then on, I would save every penny and pay myself a city break every now and again, always having on the back of my mind that one day I will go for a big tour around the world.
When the reality kicks in │ Growing up, traveling was not the norm and our culture in France is very much about getting a 9 to 5 job, a family, a dog, one or two (or more) cars and a mortgage for a nice home. Ok this is very cliché ! But youngsters don’t take time off to travel. Although it is changing now, still is not as well perceived as in other countries like UK, Australia or US.
After my graduation, moving to the UK, I got a job and settled. I got promoted, went back to School to study part time an Executive MBA, took a new job and got promoted again. All of the sudden it was 10 years later, I was 34, and travelled mostly for my work. True ! I had a nice lifestyle, going out, buying any clothes I like, jet setting to places for the weekend or a short vacation with friends. But really something was missing, I was not entirely satisfied with having a career and the life I had.
Then, a few months later, I met my partner unexpectedly, our paths should have never crossed. We got together and constantly talked about our travel experiences and how it would be crazy but good to travel together for a year. After a couple of years together and few vacations on the clock, he eventually convinced me we should go for it, and with no hesitation we made the jump not knowing what would be next. It was certain that I needed to have this experience to clear it off from my mind and not have regrets about choices I have made in life.
We gave ourselves as little as three months to plan it all │ Travelling on a budget, we already had the financial sorted (we have been working and saving for the past 10 years at least). As a sabbatical year was not an option with the company I worked for, I simply resigned and worked my notice. During this time, we had long nights of planning our routing, sold furniture, clothes, car and all the rest of it on Facebook, moved to a temporary shared accommodation (every penny counts), organised doctor appointments for getting our jabs done and finalised paperwork for our travel (insurance, etc). We finally bought our first leg flight to Armenia. We went to France to say goodbye to family, relax a bite after these hectic months and off we went.
No, it surely is not an easy step to take │ Whatever your dream is, the best thing you can do is to line yourself up for it. Not everyone around me understand why I did this but everyone kept encouraging me, even today, so surround yourself with the right people. Trust your guts. Believe in your strengths in overcoming obstacles in the way. Work hard to prove yourself but work for the right company. Gear yourself up with the right skills for what you want to achieve. Build yourself a little financial safety net. Take the risk. What can go wrong ?
It is never too late │I came to terms with the fact that I would have to leave behind my cosy little life in the UK if I wanted to experience what travelling for a year was about and set aside some career and family life aspirations. We have met such amazing people on the way with even more extraordinary stories than ours. A family with kids of 3 and 5 crossing a continent with bicycles, best mates going around the planet with motorbikes, youngsters travelling hitchhiking for 2 years, a family on their second trip around the world with disabled kids, travel influencers, lucky ones who got 2 years sabbatical from their workplace, people whom changed their lives moving abroad to the most remote places you can think of. We all had different backgrounds and we ALL have never regretted to have taken the chance. There is no right time to get your dream come true and never will.
What will change upon my return │ Let’s be pragmatic, such experience will radically change the life of a few people ( who became travel bloggers or travel influencers). For my part, I will be down by a few thousands euros on my bank account and I will probably have to apply quickly to a few jobs I have experience in, and search for a new flat. This year on the road is maybe just a parenthesis in my life, unless it makes me realise that something more exciting is waiting for me out there. In any case what matters the most is the journey and I already know this experience has changed me as a person (for the better) and it will for any of you.
So what about you ? when are you crossing over ?