I’ve hit the road with the intention of being away for a good few years if possible this time and people keep asking me how I feel about ditching home for that period of time, and to be honest I’m still unsure how I fully feel about the matter – so how do you mentally prepare yourself for long term travel?!
The easiest way to get your head around it is to plan. You don’t need an exact plan, just a rough outline of where you might head, or maybe a couple of things booked into the first couple of months.
I don’t care what any other bloggers say about “just winging it” in my opinion it’s bloody stupid and I think most of them are lying! If you want to make your money work it’s hardest then you’ll always be sensible enough to have a rough plan, a guideline for your trip.
Don’t get me wrong it can be flexible and change heaps too, but at least you have something to fall back on.
I booked my flights but made sure they were flexible – which is handy as within a month of being in Thailand I’ve extended my trip, added in some extra countries and changed part of my routing as opportunities have arisen and funds have been acquired.
Having a plan is also pretty reassuring and makes you feel less in limbo too!
Bite sized chunks
To a large degree I’ve split down my travels into segments and tackle them each individually. At the moment that’s Asia, Oz and NZ.
Although they’re inextricably linked together and my actions within each has a knock on effect it’s heaps easier for me to deal with money, time and plans by breaking it down. Is less daunting that way and you can imagine where you will be (both financially no geographically) much easier than simply trying to gauge things in terms of time.
I have no idea where I’ll actually be in 4months but as far as I’m concerned at the moment I’ll be in Australia unless anything else comes up or changes!
One of the main things people ask me about is how I’ll deal being away from my family and friends for so long.
Let’s face it we live in the age of digital communication and laptops and iPhones mean we’re armed to the teeth with ways to stay in touch.
Facebook, twitter, blogs, email, heytell, what’s app, Skype…take your pick!
My mum always jokes that she speaks to me more and has more idea of what I’m up too when I’m on the other side of the world than when I’m living under her roof!
There’s also the fact that backpacking is a massive holiday. When I travel I’m not really inclined to worry about what my buddies are up too in their 9-5 jobs or if they’re heading to the pub in the evening because I’m so busy exploring beautiful countries and meeting new people!
Sounds selfish but its pretty true!
I’ve quickly learnt that as a backpacker you change quickly and life is fast paced – but you’ll always return to your old life and it will have barely moved. People are in the same jobs, the same relationships, the same places.
Its just how it works.
Worry less about what’s going on and enjoy yourself!
With my trip at the moment I’ve basically gone into it with the mindset of creating a whole new life. I have no ties, a new career path to focus on, I’m single and I have no real reason to return to the UK anytime soon.
As far as I’m concerned the main goal of this trip is to set my self up to immigrate abroad. Currently that goal is New Zealand based, so on arrival I shall jump in two feet first, sort job, find a town to live in and start from scratch making friends and establishing myself.
It might well go tits up!
I could well hate New Zealand.
But what’s the worst that could happen…
…I go back to my life in sunny Devon and carry on surfing British waves?!
Currently my train of thought is less about me travelling and putting my life on pause in the UK, more about actually starting a life, finding my place and settling down.
So how do you prepare for long term travel?
Well it’s all down to you really – everyone handles it in a different way.
I feel comfortable with the prospect of living out of a rucksack and being nomadic until I get to NZ. Some people have to have the safety of a return flight or a weekly email update to home or worry about getting homesick.
The best single piece of advice I can give you? Simply to relax and have blind faith in the fact everything will pan out nicely, there’s no point worrying, you’ve done your best to control what you can everything else is out of your hands!
However you deal with it make sure you enjoy every moment of your time on the road – it’ll produce some of the best experiences of your life and introduce you to some of the most diverse and fun people you’ll be lucky enough to meet.