It was in September 2014 while planning a trip to Malta that my sister convinced me that it was not at all dorky and totally ok to be billy no-mates and to travel alone. Previously, ‘travel holidays’ for me had always been in big groups or as a twosome. It didn’t take long for my concerns to evaporate as I experienced hostel life, not for the first time, but for the first time on my own. I played safe and went for a hostel which could have just as well have been an upmarket B&B. It had a chique boutique style about it, comfortable beds and monsoon shower wet rooms along with a superb kitchen and dinning area which soon became our shared communal hang out. At 22 Euros a night I was more than happy. It didn’t take long to make friends, we cooked, drank, danced and explored the island mostly together. Never did I feel like I was alone and the best bit, I met some great people who I am still in regular contact with to this day.
Malta September 2014: www.twopillowsmalta.com
The next year in May 2015 I made a longer trip with my good friend Matt to Peru. 3 weeks following the Inca trails and learning about the accent Inca cultures in an old overland truck filled with 18 people. Complete strangers from all over the world in a spectrum of different age groups, life stages and financial backgrounds. Out of all the trips, this trip and the people I met inspired me the most that work and travel could be a thing for me.
Peru May 2015 Dragoman Overland Tours: www.dragoman.com
But could something long term work? It was something I had always thought about, I talked about it many times, but was it something I could really do? Did I have the courage to jack it all in, change my career and lifestyle and say farewell to my comfort zones. At this time I was 35, I wasn’t yet totally convinced and besides I had moved to Germany in 2012 and I was loving my new life there.
However world travel stayed forever on my mind. With each following trip I was reawoken with that sudden eyes wide open feeling one gets as soon as they step off an airplane. In 2016 I put myself out there in different countries from Turkey to Spain, these ‘tester’ trips were always on my own, mixed in with other trips in the year with friends.
Antalya Turkey May 2016: www.hostelworld.com/hosteldetails.php/Role-Street/Antalya/100342
El Palmar Spain October 2016: http://mambobeachhousecom.ipage.com
After spending 5 years living in Germany and building my career to a level where I wasn’t quite sure where to take it next I booked one last trip. A surf and yoga retreat on the temperate West coast of Portugal. In part it is thanks to my two inspirational hosts and yoga teachers @Cecilie and @Carmen who I hold in dearest regard that I was able to make my final and last decision. Here life was simple. It was focussed on health, on wellbeing, understanding and togetherness. We went surfing and practiced yoga every day. Sometimes we’d just sit and talk, other days we’d run along the beaches, through the forests and along the cliffs, we’d swim, sunbathe, eat, drink, sing at the top of our lungs and dance into the next day. We spoke of our pasts, of heartaches gone and of our dreams of the future. Stories of travel were always there, but more importantly for me stories of a more simple life began to dominate.
The theme soon started to draw its own conclusion, with each trip I was awakened, meeting inspiring people with their own stories to tell. I became like a sponge, soaking up energy from experiences, my surroundings, taking note of the emotions those experiences generated and the respect for the people I met along the way. These people, these places and the energy it created were my inspiration to trigger change.
Baleal Portugal April 2017: www.balilihouse.com
After my time in Baleal I returned to Germany and handed in my 3 months notice the next day. That part wasn’t easy, it was an emotional day, both for myself and my boss who I respected highly. It had taken many experiences and many encounters to come this far, however my decision was now made, I was committed to see it through despite persuasions of reconsideration. I was ready, it was time to take the next step, to walk the walk and start a new story, not just another trip, but to make a life change. A new journey was about to begin…
Top Tip: spend some time alone and with others to think about what most brings you joy, identify your core beliefs, hone them, then action them.
What has been your trigger to create change?