The travel thing came about after a bad day at work and a few glasses of wine.
Me: “Gary, shall we go travelling?”
Two people, six words: a life-changing decision.
We were living in Bath, both had decent jobs, and lived well. We were happy. But travelling was something we both wanted to try, something new, different.
Before setting off, I wanted to get better at taking photographs, so I took a night class and learned how to use a DSLR, then bought myself a camera (I share how you can improve your photography before even picking up your camera here).
I left with a one-way ticket to Delhi, a backpack, and my camera. No plans.
I’ve been giving it some thought. I decided it was the best thing I ever did, quitting my job to travel. Heres why:
I’m not so frightened of spiders, of everything
Seriously, one of the reasons I wanted to travel is because I was so bloody scared of everything – of spiders, of the dark, who the hell’s lurking under my bed?!
I was scared of everything.
I’d be lying if I said I now welcome eight-legged little beasts into my home. But after travelling, after doing lots of scary things … a five-day trek in the Himalayas and climbing to the top of an active volcano and four months riding by train around India … suddenly I wasn’t so scared of spiders.
Fear became a challenge and overcoming those challenges filled me with pride.
I’m an actual photographer? WHAT?
Before travelling, I’d already decided my dream was to become a photographer. Travel helped me get established. It gave me time to learn my trade.
My photographs were first published four months into my first year of travel. Not bad going … Although those photographs are pretty crap and will never ever see the light of day ever ever ever again.
But I’m proud of them. They were the first step toward a career that was, until then, just a dream.
Luck is just a word
If I believed in luck, I’d never get anything done. I’d never take any chances.
I didn’t always think that. In my younger, more cynical years, I thought success required luck.
Travel put things into perspective for me.
“Luck” is making the very best of opportunities.
I didn’t travel because of luck. I travelled because I saved and saved every penny I earned from a job I didn’t like. I didn’t eat out, quit drinking, stopped taking taxis.
Becoming a photographer didn’t happen because I got lucky. I’m a photographer because I spend every day while travelling taking photos and doing photoshop tutorials.
A weight off
It’s hard to not measure success by materialistic stuff: money, big house, fancy clothes.
I definitely measured my success by those things.
Travel stripped all that away.
For two years, my only possessions were the things strapped to my back. I had no steady job, no permanent address, no idea where my next pay cheque would come from. And it was a weight off.
Don’t get me wrong, I worried what I’d do when I got home. I occasionally longed for home-comforts too. Sometimes travel is hard work and sometime travel is a complete and utter slog.
But for the first time in my life I felt really excited about my future. I started to believe I could do anything I wanted, as long as worked at it. I knew I’d be happy living simply. Most importantly, I understood what it means to be content … Mind you, I still wouldn’t touch a spider if you paid me.