I‘m currently in Toronto at the tail end of a week-long “prelim trip”, to stretch the ol’ legs, say “farewell” to some Canadian friends and figure out some of the travel basics.
While here, I received a message from a friend of mine that I hadn’t heard from in quite a few years, James, after he saw my recent post.
James reached out when he read about my plans because it turns out he’s been on a similar journey, and he wanted to share his experience.
The reason I wanted to share his message is because it really struck a chord. He put into words a lot of the vibe I’ve been feeling (and receiving) from this whole thing, as I’ve been telling people about my plans.
Check it out:
When your post popped up on my newsfeed, I’d figured A. that you’d gone a bit soft, B. that you were doing some kind of weird social experiment and we’re gonna spend the next 5 years sitting on a bench drinking cider from a brown bag, or C. A combination of both…….but either way, you had my attention and I wanted in!
Ya see, I embarked on something similar last year, albeit without as cool a name, in fact no name at all – I just called it my ‘almost mid-life crisis but I don’t actually think it’s a crisis at all, and people simply don’t understand what I’m talking about, or what I’m about, so it’s easier if I just label it something that people can relate to and help them to move on from looking at me all confused’…….yeah, the title needs work.
But this time last year I decided to pack up life at home, leave my job of 7 years, my ‘good solid life’ at home and hit the road……and to date, it’s cost me nothing – nothing in the sense that I’m neither up nor down in cash since.
I wanted to do cool things, see cool places – more importantly see places that I loved, or had things that I love doing, and spend time there, live there. My philosophy was that people live everywhere, so therefore I can live there too, no matter where. I don’t need to save up for it, then travel for a holiday only and blow a few grand in the process…..and like you said, living places gives you such a different perspective to just seeing places AKA ‘travelling’ or the so-called ‘doing a country’.
My first port of call was the French Alps, I lived there for 5 months, worked in an easy job, snowboarded every single day and loved it, came home for a few weeks, and then went to Vietnam and lived in Saigon. I only left last week but will go back again, I’m not finished with Vietnam yet, I love it…..I worked as a kindergarten teacher there – I know!
I came home for a wedding last week, but am heading to Korea from here next, and have 3 months to spend on the road until Christmas, at which point I’ll either go back to Saigon or find a Dive resort somewhere and set up shop there – hopefully Bali – dive every day and live the beach life until it’s time to go again.
What’s mad is that people just don’t get it. I get a few responses – people are usually jealous, then say things like they would love to do it but ‘that type of thing isn’t for them’ or ‘it’s just not practical’. The thing is, that people get into a routine, and humans love routine. The notion of breaking it for anything other than a week or two is terrifying….but the way I see it is – I had a job, and like everyone else, I worked hard earned my money, then spent more than I earned. I did this primarily to compensate myself for how much I was working to make the money that I then was spending – nice trips away, skiing, a new bike, just things….a cycle that left me at zero (or worse) every single year.
So this year (which is not yet complete) I’m also at zero – but I’ve lived in the Alps & Vietnam, been through countless countries, had more holidays than before, worked WAY less than I had before, and am the most content that I’ve ever been.
I was floored when I read James’s message because it seems I’m not the only one feeling this way!
And based on all the responses I received this week, there seems to be 3 things at play:
- Most people want to spend as much time traveling as possible, but feel it’s not realistic.
- I’m not the only one that feels that grinding it out in a 9-5 job for years, just to blow your wages on material shit, is a bad idea.
- The traditional model of travel, which requires you to blow your holidays, your savings, and your energy levels (as you blitz the planet) is kind of broken. More often than not it leaves people exhausted and lamenting returning to “the real world”, which is not an ideal way to live.
I’ve heard a lot of people say, “I wish I could travel for that long!”
Or, “you’re so lucky to be able to do that!”
And they’re both such interesting sentences to hear.
It makes me wonder, “Why can’t you?”
Obviously, holding down a job and other such commitments play a big role in developing that mindset.
But, just look at James. That didn’t stop him. And he’s never been happier.
That said, let’s consider his case exceptional for the moment.
I understand the problem seems real to most people. So what I aim to do with this blog is cover exactly how you can manage your “life anchors”, and stop them being perceived as a mobility burden.
More on that soon…
For now, I gotta get out of Toronto and dash for my train back to Montreal.
The final leg of my Canadian journey begins.
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