I love it, when I check-in an SE Asian contry’s hostel and appear as the oldest traveller on the list. My date of birth reaches 10 years up to an average backpacker. Actually some of them were not even in plan to come to this world when I had my first cigarette!
What made me start travelling so ‘late’ and why is never too late?
1. In my 20-ties I was mostly focused on settling down, finding my place on earth and succeed in my career. You may argue that that’s very early, but I felt like it. I wanted to get out of life what I thought I should have had by then. Firstly, I moved from Poland to Italy, where I spent 3 years of my early 20-ties, then for a few months to Spain, only to end up in Colombia with a person whom I used to call ‘the love of my life’. I was 23 when that happened.
2. ‘The love of my life’ didn’t work out and I had to move out from Colombia. Returned to Poland double-broken, on heart and money level, I quickly found a new place to immigrate to. It was Scotland, where I moved two months later and started my independent life, far away from love and family! After 1.5 year I moved down to the south of England for so-called ‘better job’. For the same reason, I spent a year in Germany after that and came back to England, where I lived happily until my life ‘stopped making sense’ again.
3. When I say ‘making sense’, I mean that I need a change. The job I did was average. It was one of these jobs that you may do for the rest of your life, and nobody will kick your butt off to do otherwise. Don’t get me wrong, I did lots of other things in the meantime which kept me occupied but as far, as my paid career was concerned, I was nowhere interesting.
4. Before I ditched my happy but average life back in England and headed off to hit the world, I did a few exotic trips. I used to do work exchange when travelling so I visited Japan, Mexico, and Myanmar. My trips back then, usually lasted 3 to 4 weeks. They were rather my vacations, but also little steps to prepare me for a big move. I wasn’t aware of that yet.
5. I met a German girl in Myanmar who travelled through South East Asia. She told me stories of taking a wobbly local buse in Laos by herself and I thought: God, I could never do that! I loved my little travel projects of monthly duration, but I literally had no desire to take them even a step further.
6. Six months later I felt different. I had a number of plans regarding what to do with my life and the plan where to go next. Inspired by Tim Ferris’s book “4 hours workweek”, I decided to copy the author’s actions to my best abilities.
7. I always wanted to visit Madagascar. Why? Because I like going to all these ‘strange countries’, as my mum once said. I decided it’s the time to make it happen. Tim Ferris combines his travels with learning new skills and so do I. My new skill to learn on the beautiful island of Madagascar was French. So I arranged the trip.
8. In the meantime, my relationship was coming to the end and I could sort of feel it. Two weeks before I was boarding the plane to Madagascar I found out a rather nasty truth about my ex which could only mean one thing: I will not go back to the life I had before.
9. Madagascar was difficult at the start but soon turned out to be an amazing adventure. It was a real eye-opener and the greatest life teacher. By the time I returned to England, I knew that my life wasn’t the same, neither was I.
10. I took some time to think of where to go next. In the meantime, I began TEFL certification and worked on my eBook about ‘living a dream’ on low budget: Big Dreams on Small Incomes. And then, the next opportunity arose. I chose Vietnam as my next destination, or perhaps Vietnam chose me. Nevertheless, I began my first backpacking trip. It was so different from the one in Madagascar, yet so refreshing! I loved every minute of it and felt as it was the right thing to do. I can’t seem to stop being on the move ever since.
I have this crazy theory that you should subtract of your age all these years when you felt stuck in any area of your life.
That is to say; if you were in dead-end relationship or work which gave you nothing but frustration, you substract these years of your age because you were not truly living anyway.
You literally claim your right to feel younger.
To me, living truly is to embrace the world through travelling which with no doubt, is an utterly different experience in your 30-ties or 20-ties and when you retire.
There is no right or wrong time for ‘ditching your life’ and start living a dream. Life isn’t a set of plates in order laid on a dining table.
It’s never too late or too early for travelling.