At 31 I’m finally fulfilling my travel dream

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to pack a rucksack, fly off to far-away lands and expand my knowledge of the world, myself and life through the medium of travel.

But it turns out adulthood is full of these sticky little complications. Utility bills, for instance. Careers. Responsibilities. Things that you can’t easily abandon just because you have a deep and incessant need to snorkel with black tip reef sharks in the Caribbean Sea.

Work is precious: few of us are in a position to simply quit and head off into the sunset without sacrificing relationships and careers, or attracting the attention of social services/ HMRC.

Let’s not forget that going to a different country is a privilege most people on Earth never get to experience. Over half the world’s population earn less than $10 a day. Most people aren’t planning epic RV road-trips on Pinterest. They’re just trying not to die.

Despite growing up in a place where hopping on a plane to southeast Asia is considered a rite of passage, I never took the famous ‘Gap Yar’ usually taken by students before or after university as a last chance to be insufferably hedonistic in another country before real life kicks in.

Instead, I took the safe and seamless route through higher education so that I could be delivered, fresh and slick in my shift dress, into an ergonomic desk chair as close to the glittering lights of London as I could get (a lifeless commuter town called Camberley, nestled in the concretey crook of the M3 and M4 motorways).

As unpleasant as the 9-5 office life is, the trade-off was worth it for me. I have always felt so incredibly lucky to be a paid writer. Every day I get up and do what I love, and I think that really is the whole point of being alive, isn’t it? I knew that my goal was to build a career that I could take with me: unbound to a desk in a business park, free to be undertaken in my living room, or a hotel lobby, or a hipster cafe in some bustling European city. But first I had to put in the strip-lit office hours.

For 10 years I squeezed as much travel as I could into my alloted measure of annual leave. I found that it wasn’t necessary to go far (or for very long) to have a transformative experience. For one year, as the editor of a small travel magazine, I was lucky enough to be sent on several luxurious all-expenses-paid press trips, which included taking a private jet to the Four Seasons Hotel in Lisbon (sorry, ozone layer) and being served Michelin-star food on the shores of Lake Garda (sorry, lake trout).

But after these surreal experiences I would always find myself back at my desk, in an office, bound by rules that were never conducive to creative work.

The Covid-19 pandemic changed everything for all of us. Thankfully, everyone started to realise that commuting to an office every day is, for many of us, a pointless and unhealthy activity. Work should be something we do, not somewhere we go.

In 2020 I met my partner in Costa Rica, just before the covid shit hit the fan. He’s American, which means he can only visit the UK for 6 months at a time. Unfortunately the company I worked for at that time wouldn’t allow me to work abroad (it was a shame but I understand that remote work is a big can of worms for some businesses to open), so I spent a good few months looking for other opportunities – until I finally found the perfect one.

Not only is my new employer happy for me to work abroad, but the work itself is more fulfilling and enjoyable than anything I’ve ever done before. Instead of marketing products, I’m creating them. I’m learning new things every day and the best thing is… I don’t have to go to an office. Everything has turned out so well that part of me is expecting it all to go horribly wrong at any second.

But that’s just being British.

In just under a week, my partner and I (god willing) will be sipping pinocoladas on a beach in Florida and gazing out at the Atlantic Ocean full of sharks that I hope to (safely) marvel at for myself, along with all the other marvel-worthy sights that I hope lie in store for us over the next 6 months.

I hope to revive this blog a little more during our travels, seeing as I’ll have plenty to write about! So please do subscribe if you haven’t already 🙂

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