Follow me as I blog my way through 12 months of travel, 20 countries, 2 volunteer programs, 44,000 miles, over 20 flights, countless chicken bus rides and 365 wonderful work-free days.

Posts tagged ‘Latin America’

Irresponsible, selfish and a struggling pensioner… yeah that’s me.

The day has come.. the day I’ve been counting down to now for about 6 months.

I QUIT MY JOB

And what a weight off my shoulders. Finally being able to tell people about my plans, where I’m going, what I’m doing – my great adventure. It feels good.

But there’s always one isn’t there? That one person who can knock you so far off that happiness cloud and bring you back down to earth with a big fat thud.

Enter.. bitchface… aka a work colleague.

The conversation went a little like this:

Bitchface: “So are you really going travelling or is that just an excuse?”

Me: “Yeah of course I’m going travelling”

Bitchface: “What are you doing? where are you going? for how long etc?”

Me: “Africa, Mexico etc etc, going for a year etc etc.”

Bitchface: You know I think it’s all well and good to be going travelling and GOOD ON YOU (**fuck off**), but I really think it’s time you started to settle down. You’re getting older and the longer you wait to buy a house the harder it will be on you when you’re retired.

Me: In disbelief muttered something along the lines of “I’m 28, not 78 and I don’t need to buy a house to make me happy or feel secure”

Bitchface: “I think it’s irresponsible and (as she walks out the door) I’m going to be the one paying for you with my taxes when you retire, because you haven’t paid your house off in time and you won’t be able to afford to eat.”

Me: Gets up, tackles bitchface to the ground and….  no not really but I wanted to.

Who says stuff like that?

So here I am, still super happy and still feel awesome that I’ve finally resigned and am on the final countdown. But I can’t help but think about what she said.

Am I really irresponsible and selfish?

And more importantly, god forbid, will I really have to live off baked beans for the remainder of my years, selfishly bludging off tax payers who have worked their whole lives just to support me? I think not.

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Solo Travel… it’s not that scary

Having gotten somewhat used to the “what the hell for?” and the “are you insane?” comments when telling people about my upcoming adventures, every so often someone will catch me off guard and tell me how inspirational I am and how excited they are for me. Thank you. These comments help to ease any doubts or insecurities that may rear their ugly heads from time to time.

What surprises me the most however, is the number of people that tell me I’m brave and that they wished they had the courage to do what I do.

I don’t understand this. I don’t know what people are so afraid of.  So below I have listed a couple of things that people have touched on and hopefully it may encourage some of you to take that leap of faith, and just DO IT. It’s not scary.

  • Safety

Don’t put your life on hold for the ‘what ifs’.

Of course you have to be careful and use your common sense. Don’t walk around at night alone, don’t accept a lift from someone you don’t know, don’t leave your drink unattended in a bar etc. Basically just take the same precautions as you would at home and be alert.

Information is power.. or so they say…DO YOUR RESEARCH. There are so many websites that you can check out regarding safety, and I list some here on my planning page.

If you’re a first time traveller or really worried about safety, think about doing an organised tour. They are great for meeting new people and you’re never alone (if you don’t want to be). One of the things I love most about organised tours is that you’ll often be taken somewhere you would have never considered going, and you’ll end up falling in love with the place. Some companies that I can recommend are:

www.intrepidtravel.com

www.kumuka.com

www.contiki.com

For me, safety has never really been a big concern. I live in Australia which is a pretty safe country and yet you still hear stories of people getting shot, murdered, kidnapped etc. I pay about as much attention to these stories as I would about stories in Mexico or Brazil. Am I naive? Probably. But I’m a big believer that if something bad is going to happen, it will happen, and that you shouldn’t put your life on hold for the ‘what ifs’.

  • Leaving it all behind

Do you stay for them or do you go for yourself?

Some of you may have more to leave behind than I do, or have had to in the past, and you have to consider each aspect of your life and decide, when all is said and done, can you leave it behind?

Whether it’s your job, your house or your family and friends that are holding you back, you have decide what’s more important to you. If the desire to travel means more to you than everything else.. I think you have your answer.

I have a wonderful, loving mother and father, two awesome sisters and some amazing friends. While I’m overseas I miss them everyday. To make it even harder I have 3 beautiful nieces who even now as I write this, bring tears to my eyes just thinking about not seeing them for a year. I’m afraid they’ll forget me or that we’ll lose our close bond with each other. But there came a time when I had to decide, do I stay here for them, or do I go for myself?

  • Being lonely

You’ll get lonely, no doubt about it, but it will pass.

What I love so much about travelling is the incredible people who you meet along the way.  Before every trip I worry about the same thing. What if I don’t meet anyone? What if no one likes me? and it usually takes about 30 seconds after arriving or meeting a new group that those thoughts are gone out the window. I’ve made lifelong friends throughout my travels.

Yes you will miss your family and friends. I think every traveller has that problem somewhere along the line. But it passes. You’re sad for a day or two and then you remember where you are and what an incredible opportunity this is, and you gradually forget about being sad.

  • Not knowing where to go/getting lost

I think it’s all part of the adventure.

I’ve gotten lost and stranded many times but I’ve never come across a local who isn’t happy to help you, and I’ve always been able to find my way. Open your mouth, speak to people, ask questions. Even in countries where you don’t speak the language there’s always an option. Look at the signs, ask taxi or bus drivers. Ask enough people and you’ll eventually find someone who speaks your language. Or my strategy – just keep walking until you see something that looks familiar.

Don’t be put off by the thought that you may get lost. Who cares??? you’re travelling so chances are you’re not late for anything. Enjoy the adventure. And hey, you may even end up stumbling across something wonderful that you wouldn’t have otherwise seen.

Is there anything I’m missing?

I’d love to hear what else worries you when thinking about travelling solo. Let me know by leaving a comment below.