I was first introduced to the idea of long-term travel a couple of years ago. I had really taken interest in the work of Tim Ferris who wrote, among other things, the 4-Hour Workweek and the 4-Hour Body. I learned that he had traveled the world for a year and a half before he wrote the 4-Hour Workweek and that his travel experience had a considerable influence on the book. Tim had started his trip with only two books, one of which was Vagabonding by Rolf Potts. At the time, I was not aware that this book would have such a profound impact on me; but its message changed my perspective on life. The lessons taught by Rolf in the book were easy to grasp and he removed the fear of vagabonding for me with his inspiring outlook and practical advice.
It was in November 2014 that I mustered the courage to go on my first long-term trip. I had five weeks off work and I was going to travel to Australia. I had decided to start in Melbourne and work my way up the east coast. At this time in my life, I was still very conservative in my thinking. Was it really worth it for me to take five weeks away from work and spend thousands of dollars going to Australia? Although I had thoughts of saving the money and vacation time, I continued with my plan.
This was the start of something big for me. I had never left my comfort zone like this before. I had never done solo travel or been away for that long. I can definitively say that as soon as I was dropped off at the airport for my departure, I was overwhelmed with happiness and thoughts of the unknown. Over the course of five weeks I had the opportunity to meet some amazing people and to visit some beautiful locations. Australia is a beautiful country and I had no regrets. All I could think about during my flight home was when would I be able to leave again and where would I go. Many of the people I had encountered while away had been traveling for months if not years; I felt that same wanderlust.
From the time I landed at the Toronto airport I was on a mission. Within a week of being back I had purchased a home and had formulated a long-term plan that would enable me to leave the work a day world and to travel for longer periods. It took nearly a year but, during that time, I purchased, renovated and rented out two homes and left my job. I was about to hit the road again and the feeling of deciding where to go was exhilarating.
This time, I was able to arrange ten weeks of travel before I had to come home and start working on my goals and aspirations. This journey would take me to Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, and the Philippines. Most people seem interested in the one or two-week all-inclusive vacations in the Caribbean. I never had a strong desire to participate in this form of travel so, when I found out a friend would be in Vietnam at roughly the same time as my departure, I quickly booked a one-way flight to Hanoi. Visiting Asia and experiencing the different cultures in these regions was absolutely amazing and opened my mind to new ways of thinking. When I speak with people about my travels, I have a hard time trying to describe what it has meant to me. Unless you have experienced it for yourself, it can be hard to fully grasp the diversity and contrast from the life to which we are accustomed in North America.
Being able to travel to far off regions of the world with just a backpack is such a liberating feeling. The routine and familiarity of the life you’re used to in the western world no longer applies. You have the freedom to follow your hearts desire and to seek adventure as you wish. The ability to move freely and go where the wind takes you is a refreshing and enriching experience. The people you meet along the way always seem to be at peace with themselves and happy that they are living life on their own terms. I often reflect on my two trips and get lost in my own thoughts of where and what I want to do next. It’s a great feeling to know that you have the courage and desire to travel the world and truly embrace all that life has to offer. I have a close friend who is leaving on a trip to Asia. Knowing the excitement she is experiencing for such a trip really makes me happy for her and kindles my own desire to hit the road again. She is inspiring me to work harder on my goals so I can soon venture off and rediscover parts of myself that I have lost or neglected over the years. Long-term travel isn’t for everyone, but for me personally, it has helped me evolve and see the world in a new light.
I feel a strong desire to travel and experience the world and highly recommend it to anyone who wants to fill their life with wonderful memories. If you could go anywhere, where would you go? My next vagabonding experience will be Colombia or Morocco.
- Vagabonding by Rolf Potts is a must read.
- Tim Ferris is an incredible writer and has amazing podcasts. Check him out!
- Cover photo is Kawasan Falls just outside of MoalBoal, Cebu, Philippines.