A new year is traditionally the time for new beginnings and new starts, make this year the on where you finally change your life for the better and follow your dreams of travel.
As the festive season quickly becomes a distant memory, the decorations are pulled down and the last of the oversized turkey finally gets polished off, the New Year looms over us all like some domineering force of peer pressure, filling us with sincere desires to revamp, transform and better ourselves.
So as we start to come out of the stupor from the end of year festivities and a whole, brand new year starts to roll out in front of us, a lot of minds will inevitably turn to thoughts of things they want to accomplish in the new year.
Those dreaded new year’s resolutions.
Many people will make the usual resolutions, the same ones they did last year and the year before that. Lose weight, stop eating the entire packet of biscuits, spend less time at work, exercise more, finally get round to decorating the bedroom … the list is long and uninspiring and are usually forgotten by everyone in the time it takes them to finally enter the gym, see the treadmill and remember that losing their flabby gut will actually take some work!
Many others though will make one of the most popular resolutions out there, to travel more in the new year. To finally see some of the world. And a few of them will actually decide that this is the year they finally realise their dreams and take some positive steps to actually do something about it.
‘Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.’ Mark Twain.
That was me, over fifteen years ago now. I had the exact same dream of seeing the world that so many others had. I was scouring Lonely Planet guides for inspiration, back when they actually fulfilled that function, I was reading books written by great explorers and watching Michael Palin documentaries on TV.
I didn’t know exactly how, where or when but I just knew that travel had to be part of my life that year.
I never made a specific resolution as such, in fact it wasn’t even new years when I finally made that decision. I simply knew I wanted to see the world. I knew I wanted to travel.
And I did.
I have spent the last fifteen years now backpacking independently around the world on both long and short trips, sometimes for a few weeks, sometimes months, sometimes for a full gap year and sometimes a lot longer, the length of time never really mattered because I was travelling. I was following my dream!
For my very first backpacking adventure I flew to South East Asia with barely a clue what I was doing and I had one of the best times of my life on a trip that absolutely changed my outlook forever.
I just went out and did it! And I haven’t stopped since then.
And since then I have carried that mindset with me in everything I do. I have never let myself be chained down to societal expectations of what I should be or should do. If I have wanted something then I have gone out and got it!
If I wanted something, I went out and got it. If I wanted to travel, I did it.
I have had many other dreams and ambitions along the way of course, and in that time spent travelling the world I have done more than most people will in a lifetime. I have gained two separate academic degrees, built a good career as a specialist nurse, ticked endless things off my personal bucket list and I have travelled and seen the whole world whilst doing it.
Not bad eh?
Do you know how I did it all?
I wanted to!
That’s it! I really just wanted to. There are no tricks or secrets here, I knew what I wanted out of life and just as importantly what I didn’t want.
I dropped what I didn’t want by the wayside and sacrificed and worked my arse off to get the things I did!
And If I can do it, if I can realise my dreams of backpacking around the world, then you can too!
Because believe me, there is absolutely nothing special about me. I’m just an ordinary guy with an ordinary job. I’m not a playboy billionaire, I’m not a lottery winner or an MP with a vast expense account and 6 months paid holiday a year and I certainly don’t have a huge trust fund or a credit card that mummy and daddy pay off each month. Hell, I wish I did!
All I have is my desire to make travel a priority in my life.
I get so many people saying to me how lucky I am to have travelled so much, how lucky I am to be able to do what I do and how they wish they could do the same. I’ve heard the same stuck record so often now it has become a monotonous drone.
It isn’t luck that allows me to travel so much, it isn’t some quirky twist of fate or a miraculous lottery win, it is simple, old fashioned desire. Desire, focus, sacrifice and determination.
I know what I want, I work damn hard to get it and I make a conscious decision to make travel a priority. Yet when I tell these exact same people that there is absolutely nothing stopping them from doing the exact same thing they look at me as if I have a screw loose or I’m the Antichrist for daring to suggest that they could possibly take a break from their oh so hard lives, and then they reel off the same tired self prophesying excuses and justifications as to why it is impossible for them.
If you want something hard enough you will always find a way to get it. If not, you will always find an excuse.
So as the new year begins and thoughts of travel start to enter your dreams, just follow them!
Don’t listen to the excuses, ignore all the negativity and just go for it! If your dream is to travel the world – for whatever reason – then there is absolutely nothing stopping you but yourself!
Anyone can follow their travel dreams, anyone can escape the rat race or claw their way out of the rut they have created for themselves in their lives, anyone can travel the world if they just want it enough!
If you want something enough, if you desire it enough, you will get it!
You just need that desire, that craving, that yearning that this is what you want to do. So for those of you out there who are on the verge of making that step but are still plagued with the same doubts and questions that everyone has, then I hope use this article to wash them out of your mind because trust me, you can do it!
Life is very short and very fragile. Believe me. I’ve seen far too many examples of that in my nursing career. So don’t waste it by wishing you could be doing something instead of actually doing it.
‘Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.’ Henry Ford.
If you want to travel the world, go, do it. It really is that simple. I can help you with the logistics and all the practical information you need, I can help you with all the tips and the advice you can handle, but it is you who has to take that first step. Just change your mindset, make your dreams and aspirations a priority and believe that you can change your life. Believe that you can live your dreams and travel the world on your own terms and make it happen!
What do you think? Did you enjoy this article? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below or please join in the discussion on my Facebook or Twitter pages on this important topic, and please feel free to share it with any or all of the social media buttons and spread the word.
If you want to get more great backpacking tips, advice and inspiration, please subscribe to updates via email in the box to your right.