Making the decision to leave your life behind to go travelling around the world is a pretty big one indeed. There are fears to overcome, sacrifices to be made as well as dreams to be bought to life. We want to share with you how we overcome the fears that were holding us back so that one day maybe you can do the same.
Many people dream about getting out of the monotony of everyday working life and having the freedom to travel, explore and take in all of life’s experiences. We all crave that opportunity to be free and not just within a designated two week window, but to dictate how we want to spend our time. This is a dream for many, yet so few of us actually go on to create this opportunity before we hit retirement.
When you really think about it, what really holds you back from making that decision to travel is fear. Fear of what will happen to my career? Will I be able to get another job? Where will I get the money? Among a multitude of questions and worries.
For us, we have dreamt of travelling ever since university and for one reason or another it has been put on the back burner for a more convenient time. We had different worries that have stopped us. For me, I wanted to focus on my career whilst for Ruhel it was trying to figure out what he really wanted to do. So we were on quite opposite ends of the spectrum and definitely not in the place to think about travelling.
The value of time
Well after ten years or more of dreaming we were pretty much stuck on the same page in terms of career, but now with a baby, a new home and our 20’s well and truly behind us. I suppose many people would think that traveling would be the last thing on our minds. The truth is, when you have a child that is when you really begin to appreciate the value of time. I remember looking at Ava when she was only a few days old, tiny and perfect in my arms, thinking I will be in my 60’s when she gets to my age. She will see life beyond us. That was a scary thought but it’s moments like this that bring humility and grounding. It also makes you want to seize every day.
We all have dreams that we want to achieve and we think we’ll get to it later, when there’s a better time. But you soon realise there’s never going to be this magical, perfect time when you have everything figured out, you just have to make the most of what you have now.
Changing your mind set
The fears that we have are genuine and we’re not saying that when we decided to go travelling we literally threw caution to the wind. Definitely not. It’s been a long and hard process of talking through and planning everything. There were lots of questions we had to give serious thought, like what would we be missing? What would really change? Could we pick up where we left off? So often in life we are so focused on why things can’t happen that we quickly stop in our tracks. But it’s when you really pause and ask the question, how can I make this happen? This is when you begin to see things differently. It’s when you ask these questions that you suddenly come to realise that houses can be rented, children are resilient and adaptable, careers can be resumed and many other worries can be worked through.
On the job front for example, we asked ourselves how difficult would it be to get another job as this is perhaps the biggest worry with a mortgage to pay and a toddler to raise. I work as a researcher in academia and the reality is that I could probably find a very similar job and the same goes for Ruhel who works for a digital marketing company. So if we ended up exactly where we are now after we come back, it’s really not that bad.
Owning our own home has definitely been an advantage. Of course it is very difficult to give up our home and hand it over to tenants. The thought of painting Ava’s room and packing up her things is a little bit heart breaking. But owning has given us that flexibility of renting out our property and having a home to come back to. It also has the added benefit of giving us a bit of extra cash for when we come back.
Leaving loved ones behind
The thought of leaving family and friends behind is really tough. Knowing that you will miss out on important moments in their lives and not be there at difficult times is hard. There is also the fear of losing friendships you have built over many years. These are all reasons that make us want to stay.
This is something you can’t do very much about, we will be away and we will miss out, it’s just something we’ve come to accept. But we are very fortunate to live in such technologically advanced times with so many ways to keep in touch that hopefully we won’t feel too disconnected. We’ve also made some plans with friends and family to come and visit us along the way which certainly help to get through those moments when we’re feeling lonely and homesick.
It’s been a combination of many factors that has led to us finally make this decision to travel. Not least having the news from a close friend who was diagnosed with stage 4 bowl cancer at only 31. It literally came out of nowhere. Aside from having a child, this was perhaps the other factor that really helped to make that choice. Nothing is guaranteed. We are so blessed to have our health at this time, each other and all the other wonderful things in our lives that we thought there really is no better time. Sorry to be bleak, but who knows what’s on the cards for any of us? We want more children and I want to take the next step in my career and Ruhel has his own ambitions for starting his own company, but those things are really not going anywhere, what is going is time. Shakespeare put it very finely, “let every man be master of his time,” which sums up exactly what we are trying to do. For once we want to grab hold of time and steer it towards our dreams.