I can’t really remember when I came across Amy’s blog although it wasn’t that long ago, but I do remember instantly liking what I saw and read. I saw a picture of Amy and Andrew and they looked to be so compatible, so in tune with one another; okay, they were totally cute!
As we started to converse, via email, we discovered we had something in common, New Zealand, we had been there and it is there first planned destination in the new chapter of their lives.
I think it is incredibly brave to acknowledge the passion for how you want to live your life, and then, have the added courage to make it happen; the very definition of determination. Amy and Andrew are hitting the road on March 3; they’re setting off to travel the world for an indefinite period of time. I’m happy to have the opportunity to introduce you to Amy and I hope you’ll follow their journey!
Guest post shared by Amy Blyth of OurBigFatTravelAdventure
Chasing and Realizing our Travel Dreams
Ever wondered what it would be like to say just get up and go? To simply walk out of your job, give up your home, say goodbye to everyone you know and leave forever? Well that’s exactly what my partner Andrew and I are doing. In just a few days from now we’ll be on the other side of the world with nothing but the bags on our backs, a list of places we want to visit and no idea of when or if we’ll ever return to London – sometimes I even have to ask myself, how on earth did we get here?
The Summer of 2009
Well, it all started in Thailand. During the summer of 2009, we took a month long backpacking trip to Thailand. We’d just finished studying and were looking forward to one last extended holiday before we settled down into our careers back in London, but things didn’t quite work out that way. Instead, that trip ignited our passion for travel; we revelled in seeing new things and being free to roam where we pleased; we loved the sunshine and the beaches, the waterfalls and heaving cities. We fell in love with Thailand – and more importantly – with travelling.
During that trip we also met some long-term travelers, people on year-long round the world trips or open-ended adventures. That’s what really planted the seed of possibility in our minds; if they could take time out of their ‘normal’ lives to travel, why couldn’t we? But as we returned home to rainy England, penniless and jobless, our dream of traveling the world seemed a very long way away – in fact, it felt almost impossible.
How we made our Travel Dreams a Reality
It’s been three years since that trip to Thailand and soon we’ll be jetting off to New Zealand, Australia and Asia on the first leg of what we hope will be a lifetime of travel. It’s been a long, hard battle to get to where we are now, poised on the precipice of realizing our dreams. During those three years of planning, our trip has transformed from a one-year career break into a desire to become completely location independent; to be able to work wherever we want and continue to travel wherever we please. We’re only just starting our journey and we have a long way to go – but getting to this point has been half the battle.
The biggest obstacle for us when we started planning this trip was money. We had both been students for years, so we had no savings and little concept of how we were ever going to reach our initial goal of saving £30,000 while living in London, one of the most expensive cities in the world. Once Andrew started teaching and I got a job in online journalism we started the long, arduous process of saving. We budgeted and made sacrifices, we tried not to buy unnecessary ‘stuff’; we put our money in high-interest accounts and made more cash than we thought possible by selling things we no longer used. To cut costs we also moved to a cheaper part of London and Andrew began cycling to work to save money on petrol. I stopped buying books and got a library card – I even took on extra freelance work, which I’ll continue while we travel with the hope of one day becoming fully self-employed.
Staying Focused and Saying Goodbye
Staying motivated during that long planning stage was difficult; at times we thought we’d never make it. To keep focused we put a map up on the wall, started plotting our route and buying our travel gear. We began obsessively reading travel blogs and eventually started our own; this has allowed us to connect with other bloggers and travelers like Patti and has been a brilliant source of inspiration. However, it’s been less fun organizing vaccinations and visas, researching which bank accounts we should use abroad and trying to find adequate long-term travel insurance.
Hardest of all through has been dismantling our current lives. Quitting my job and leaving London, the city I love, has been harder than I ever imagined it would be. Dealing with the guilt of saying goodbye to family and friends has been even worse, especially when we know that some of the people we’re closest to are less than keen on us leaving. Over the last few months I’ve also been experiencing strange bouts of homesickness. Everything has been tinged with sadness; my last bonfire night, my last taste of British snow and our final Christmas in the UK. Underneath it all though, I know that leaving is the right thing to do; our yearning to see the world and transform our lifestyle is just too strong to ignore.
What we Hope to Gain from Travel
Right now I’m trying not to build up too many expectations of what life will be like on the road. I have no idea what things will really look and feel like from the other side of the dream; but there are a few things I hope for. After years of sitting in an office I want to be active and spend time outdoors. I want to be healthy and fit, I want to climb mountains and hike over glaciers, I want to do things I’d never consider doing in the UK – like skydiving in New Zealand. I want to visit ancient towns and explore old ruins, I want to wander around bustling cities and lie on deserted beaches, I want to hike through jungles and scale volcanoes. I want to meet people I’d never meet in my life back in England and spend more time with my favorite person in the world, Andrew. I want to claim back my time; I want to write and read, study and volunteer, I want to work for myself – I want my life to finally be mine.
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