Taking the decision to go travelling

So I had done it. I had finally Graduated. Elation, contentment and a general feeling of accomplishment gradually gave way to emptiness. I need a job, but which? I need a house, but where? And where has my money gone?!

As my time at University drifted further and further into the past I began to doubt myself. My confidence was waning. My friends were making successes of themselves, they had chosen a path and were on their way through life. I just couldn't see the way was there something wrong with me?

It was 6 months after I had graduated, November 2003, that I decided I needed to make my choice. I could go one of two ways: I could be the guy you often come across that wishes he had travelled the world when he was younger or, and this was the crucial difference, I could be the guy that has travelled the world.

That was it, my mind was set. I was going to be like all those heroic explorers! I would be the next Dr Livingstone, discovering a hitherto unseen land. I would be Clint Eastwood, living in the Wild West, complete with perma-stubble. I would be Columbus , setting off into the azure.

After my day-dreaming had subsided I needed a game plan. I couldn't just get on a cargo plane and arrive in Mexico with just the clothes on my back and a can of WD40, or could I? I assessed my financial situation and quickly came to the conclusion that it would take me at least 15 months wages to get out of debt and save enough to buy my Round the World ticket. 15 months without accounting for living costs during that time. I admit I did entertain the idea of saving every last penny I earned until I left to travel, but even the biggest scrooge would have found that nigh on impossible. By February 2005, I had saved ¾ of my wages for 15 months straight but was still a long way short of what I needed. What a dilemma! I was so eager to get on my way, but with simply no funding to do so, and there was no way I was going to get myself back in debt no matter how appealing it was in the short term. I resolved to postpone my trip until September 2005. To give myself a target to aim for, I booked my plane ticket so I now knew there was no going back.

Although I would have preferred not to have had to toil away for nearly 2 years before travelling, I hadn't completely wasted the time. There wasn't a day that went past that I didn't think about that distant date in September. I knew I was going to South America and that English wasn't commonly understood. I started Spanish evening classes which, to my surprise, I really enjoyed. I researched vaccinations I would need, gear I would take, clothes I would wear, the list goes on. I spoke to people who had previously gone on such trips and tried to heed their advice wherever possible.

With an overall plan in mind, I kept the details of the trip fairly flexible I didn't want it to feel over prepared. I had a good idea of what I would do in South America , but by the time I was to get to Oceania , I was hoping to meet people and feed off their ideas or simply just go with the flow'.

I have less than 5 months to wait now and cross off every day on my calendar! Hopefully this trip will be the first of many adventures and, who knows, I may be one of the people you meet on your travels.

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