I have bags under my eyes and blisters on my feet, routine is not a word in my dictionary and my credit card is maxed out; travel is taking its toll on me and I wonder what impact flying through different time zones so regularly has on my health. I barely get enough sleep and sometimes my nutrition is questionable. I live each day with no plans and I honestly have no idea where I will be this time next month. I live a life of uncertainty, of risks and chances.
But if you gave me the time, and you were genuinely interested I could tell you about times swimming in the Amazon river, rock climbing through caves, scuba diving with sharks, running from volcano eruptions and hurtling out of the sky from a plane.
You see I collect memories not things. My passport boasts more stamps than pages and I could tell you a lifetime worth of stories.
It has been 4 years now since I quit my ‘proper’ job and rented out my flat, since then I have travelled to 6 continents, worked in 7 countries and never been so skint. Yet, I have never felt so free of stress, so happy waking up each day and so positive towards life.
A life of a long term traveller is one immediately desired by many, and rightfully so, I still think I’m the luckiest person I know. But it doesn't just happen, god no, it doesn't just happen. You really have to make it, stick with it and ride the lows along with the highs.
Writing this I have been travelling for 27 hours from Hong Kong to the UK (May 2015). It only happens once every 10 years but my passport was about to expire. While writing this, I was on the verge of thinking it was the most stupid decision I had ever made.
I am incredibly fed up with flying, with being uncomfortable, hungry, tired and grumpy. I was only in the UK for 2 days and then I had to do it all over again. I could have sent my passport off from Hong Kong, but that would have seen me lose work opportunities and hanging around with no passport for 2 months.
I sat there on the 8th flight I’d been on in the 4 months of this year and wondered what effect all this travel has on my mental and physical health. I don't always eat my 5 a day, don't drink nearly enough water and have caught numerous amount of parasites while living in poorly sanitized countries.
I wonder if I will age quicker than those that don’t travel as much.
Then I think how much I laugh when I travel, how much I smile and how genuinely happy I feel. No ageing cream needed. Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain. If that doesn't sound healthy I don't know what does.
Only being on UK soil for 2 days was tough. I even considered not telling anyone, just going to renew my passport and then coming back. I feel selfish and intrusive with my last minute plans and really don't expect anyone to have to change there's just to fit into my crazy lifestyle. However I want to see them, I want to catch up, to share stories and make more memories. It really requires the effort to keep friendships from home going while you are constantly travelling, and I think this is one of the hardest parts of always being away.
On the plus side I can't even begin to describe some of the amazing people I have met from all over the world in the last few years. Learning and forming relationships with people from different backgrounds from your's is one of life's simplest joys. I treasure the friendships I have made on the road very much.
Cheap long term travel insurance
Or should I say lack of it. Money loses its worth to some extent. It feels more like an object of exchange, which of course, that IS what it is, however, it was always more to me before I travelled. People ask me how I afford it, and the answer is pretty straight forward; just like you do. You afford your life by earning and not spending more than you earn. And that's what I do too. But I spend a lot less, I save my money careful and rarely use it on objects. My credit card is maxed, but I pay the minimum off each month. That doesn't bother me one bit. I earn through my freelance writing or advertising on this blog as well as through normal jobs. But I never HAVE money. I don’t think so anyway, as I said I see it as an exchange.
Something I don’t look into… I mean, really, what's the point? It’s so unpredictable and there's no way of even guessing what could happen. Currently, I am single, I’m 26, I no longer own a house and I am exploring the world alone. But that wasn't always so and I am all too aware that it could completely 360 anytime soon. NO, I don’t have A CLLUUEE what I will be doing next week, month or year. Sorry (mainly to my family who it really frustrates that I can’t give them an answer) but I am also not sorry. Life is for living not planning how to live. I can’t quite explain the freedom I feel by not trying to predict what will happen next. I have no expectations therefore never set myself up for disappointment. I am excited to ride the roller coaster of life with whatever it has in store for me.
A life of constant travel was never the one I knew I wanted. Honestly, a few years ago I would have said I like home comforts and friendly faces. But now I have seen how much richer I am in happiness through travelling the world and discovering something that has been put here for us to do exactly that, I could never have it any other way.
Who's with me?