Today marks 1,000 days since I boarded my flight to Ecuador on a journey that would soon spiral into the best decision I’ve ever made. Time to reflect on my highlights and things I’ve learnt on the road…
Today is a pretty big milestone in my adventures – if you take a quick glance to the top right of the blog you’ll notice my “Days On The Road” counter has hit 1,000 DAYS!
1,000 days – that’s mental!
A New Life
All those days, weeks and months ago I boarded a plane to Ecuador to follow my dream job of becoming a surf instructor.
I’d left behind an awesome job at STA Travel and finished a long term relationship to jump on a plane and chased what I wanted to do with my life.
I had no idea where it would lead me, what would happen or if it was a good decision, all I knew was that after my year living and working in Australia travel was something that I loved doing and that I’d never be content in the UK again.
I had about £5k saved in the bank and a rough 7 month plan which included 3 months working in Montanita, Ecuador and a month exploring Peru before heading back for a week to shoot my buddies wedding in the UK and then heading to Asia with my buddy Weatherly to take on Thailand and Laos for a month.
After that I was going solo for an extra month before flying to New Zealand to begin a 2 year working holiday visa.
Yup – I was actually meant to be living and working in Kiwi land from about August 2011!
With the blog going from strength to strength though my plans soon spiralled into something much bigger and I soon found myself booking flight to Indonesia and cancelling my onward flight from Singapore to Auckland.
The rest…well the rest of the story is a heaps big blur of awesomeness that has seen my zig zag across the globe in search of warm water waves and epic adventures!
So what are my highlights from the last 1,000 days? There’s so much to choose from! After much thought and deliberation I’ve narrowed it down to some of my favourite experiences and realisations…in no particular order!
Discovering Cambodia – I’d never really thought about travelling around Cambodia, but after joining a buddy from home for a few weeks there I instantly fell in love with the place. It’s got heaps of culture, history and amazing people, not to mention it’s super cheap to travel there!
Getting Back Into Diving – Having completed my PADI Open Water in Cairns, Australia during my first trip I hadn’t really gone diving much. After bouncing around Thailand I randomly ended up getting hooked back into it and scuba diving now fills up almost as much time on my trips as surfing does! I’ve donned a tank and reg in heaps of countries including Indo, Thailand, Iceland, South Africa and there’s more to come!
Growing As A Person – travelling has taught me so much about myself and over the last 1,000 days I’ve become a much more confident and self sufficient person. I’m happy being alone with my own company as much as I am mingling with a room full of strangers from all over the world.
Surfing…ALOT! Surfing has always been the major drive of my travels and becoming a surf instructor was one of the reasons I left England in the first place. I like nothing more than paddling out in boar dies amongst lineups fellow surfers and sharing some waves. I’m still as stoked paddling out now as I was when I started and I’ve ticked heaps of amazing surf destinations off my bucket list.
Hiking The Inca Trail – to this day hiking the Inca Trail in Peru was one of the hardest but most rewarding things I’ve done on my travels, if you’re heading to Peru make sure you do the hike rather than take the train if you can – it’s worth and the blood, sweat and tears!
Random Opportunities – as my plans become more and more AWOL I’ve embraced some really random opportunities which have opened up even more doors. I flew from Asia on a whim to work a season in Morocco surf coaching which in turn lead to getting a job in Portugal and then ultimately lead to me flying to South Africa this month!
Friendly Faces – for me travel is becoming less about the destination and more about the people. I’ve smoked shisha with Berberes in Morocco, salsa danced with Ecuadorians, glacier hiked with Kiwis and eaten fondue with the Swiss. But it’s not just the locals, I’ve met heaps of incredible people from across the globe, many of whom I now consider good friends. We cross paths from time to time and I know there’s heaps of open offers for sofas to crash on when I landed in places!
Life Rich, Cash Poor – one of the biggest things I’ve taken away from travel is the fact money isn’t everything. I know that sounds heaps hippie of me but it’s true. I don’t earn a huge amount on the road, but it’s enough to sustain myself and keep me on the road – in fact it’s less than the average office job in the UK. Everything I need is in my backpack (bar the random stuff still clogging up my parents place!) and I’ve realise that you really don’t need much to get by, it’s an incredibly freeing realisation to have.
Creativity – travel has also allowed me the free time to tap into my creative side. I’ve taking thousands of photos along the way (finally making use of my degree!) and launched 2 online businesses, the latest being Epic Gap Year. Being on the road means my time is dictated by me and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed freeing up a lot of time to pursue new creative and business challenges.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to give a huge thanks and shout out to everyone that’s been a part of my adventures so far. To my parents and family for putting up with my constant change of plans, to the people I’ve worked with along the way and most of all the the heaps of amazing backpackers and world nomads who have inspired me to keep travelling and who have made those travels so incredible.
And of course to all you guys that read the blog and send me awesome emails! I enjoy writing about my adventures almost as much as I enjoy throwing myself into them and I’m glad you’re all stoked to read about it all!
Here’s to the next 1,000 days!
…now to go celebrate with a mojito overlooking the ocean!