It’s been 5 years since I left home and started traveling the world. I had never planned to become a full-time traveler. Yet 5 years later, I’m in Turkey writing this post and reflecting on how all these years of adventures have affected my life and work career.
Let’s rewind a little bit.
When I was younger, I didn’t know what I wanted to do for work. Like everybody else, I was asked to choose what I wanted to do for the rest of my life when I was only a teenager. I was 14 and had literally no life experience whatsoever. Really, how was I supposed to know what I wanted to do for the next 45 years? I was just a kid.
By the time I turned 18, I decided to enter college, in the hope that I could study abroad. I wanted to be somewhere else, I wanted something new and exciting. So on my 3rd year of college, I left to study in Germany. This was my first time living on my own. I was only 20 years old, in a foreign country and I didn’t speak the language. As a result, I felt terribly homesick, and I desperately wanted to go home. But I stayed anyway, and that was the best decision I had ever made. A few weeks later, I was going on city trips every chance I had, visiting old castles, historical buildings, and Christmas markets. This year abroad only fueled my wanderlust, and I wanted more. I couldn’t imagine going back home and living in my home country.
I’ve dreamt of traveling and living abroad for as long as I can remember.
Actually, my first decision was to live abroad. Not so much to travel. London was my dream destination, the most beautiful city in the world in my eyes. So I went there, thinking I would get a full-time job and become successful in the hospitality industry. But when I started working, I realized how messed up our society is. I felt terribly stressed, I was getting sick of everybody’s bad mood and bullshit, and I was sick of not having any time for myself. To make it clear, I was in a very bad place. This wasn’t only because of my job. I also had some personal issues at that time, but having a shitty job didn’t help.
I wasn’t happy, and I knew something wasn’t right.
I wasn’t sure what it was, but after working only 6 months I was ready to give up my job. I felt that working brought me a lot of stress and anxiety. I became scared of failure and focused my energy on meeting other people’s expectations. I was living abroad, but yet I felt miserable every day. I wanted to do something that made me happy, I wanted to feel good in my body and in my mind.
In short, I needed to switch my priorities.
I left London and decided to try Ireland for a while. I’ve always loved animals, so I decided to work as a “horse groom” for an entire year. It was a completely different experience, and yet it was one of the best years of my life. I felt totally out of place, but in a good way. I’ve learned a lot about myself, and what I wanted to do with my life. I realized I wanted to travel the world and work only a few months per year to pay for more travels. So I left Ireland to travel to South East Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.
Exploring the world was now my life goal.
After 2 and a half years spent on the other side of the world, I quickly realized the consequences of full-time traveling on my work career. I simply couldn’t build a career when I was employed only 3 months per year. I’ve had people ask me countless times: “what do you do for work”. And my answer was simple: “I travel, I don’t work too much”. As a result, they would just stare at me blankly. That was my reality, not theirs.
After a while, I completely forgot the idea of having a career. Deep down, I knew I would never have made it anyway. Simply because it has never really been high in my list of priorities. Traveling had given me this new feeling of total freedom, and I didn’t want to give it up. I think that ’s why most people love and enjoy traveling. Because you become open to new opportunities, and you feel like everything is possible.
Traveling made me realize what’s really important.
I travel to learn about countries, the world, cultures, and history. My reality consists of climbing mountains in New Zealand, swinging in hammocks in Fiji, visiting castles in Belgium and eating bugs in Thailand. I cherish these memories, and I feel that these experiences are so much more valuable to me than knowing how our f*cked up economic system works.
Not having a career was a personal choice, and even though I don’t regret it, I know I will never get validation from other people. Our society is all about appearances and success. Since I don’t own anything of value, and work only a few months per year, for most people I might be considered a “failure”. But yet, I’m the one chilling in Turkey right now. And I feel so much richer than anyone who has had a successful career.
All these experiences abroad, and all the miles I’ve traveled taught me a lot, and they made me grow as a person. I wouldn’t trade my life with anyone, to be honest. Travel has given me the chance to be free from the hassle of “real life”. I’m just living the life I want to, instead of living the life society wants me to.
For the past 5 years, I’ve spent all my time and money into traveling.
The world is a beautiful place, and I feel like exploring its endless possibilities should be my priority. Settling down and working isn’t my goal for now, and I think traveling has made me a simpler person. Money and success don’t make me dream. Instead, I’m grateful for the little things like having food on the table every day and being with someone who loves me.
Traveling just changes the way you see things and people. I’m not materialistic, I collect moments rather than things, which is why I don’t need a full-time job and loads of money. Having the latest computer or phone won’t make me happy. But trekking a volcano on the other side of the world will be a life changing experience and a long-lasting memory.
I made the choice to travel full-time, to live out of a suitcase, to chase waterfalls and rainbows, instead of staying stuck in an office. I know this isn’t everybody’s life, and I’m grateful I get to live the life that I’ve chosen for myself. There are so many places that are so astonishing and inspiring, that I just don’t see myself being stuck somewhere. The world has endless possibilities, opportunities, and chances. You just don’t know them yet. The world is a big place, and there are many ways to live your life.
So, here’s my advice to you. Do what makes you happy. And you’ll be just fine.
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