A question I get asked a lot is why do I travel? Why did I pack up my life to live out of a backpack? A lot of people asked if I was just following the crowd, doing what everyone else was doing. But to be honest, I didn’t really know that many people personally, that quit their life at home to go backpacking. A couple of people I went to school with are doing it with their partners, but apart from that, I come from a town that people don’t tend to leave, and I didn’t know anyone that was doing it alone. So when I first went off alone, it was a scary concept! Obviously now I’ve stayed in contact with people that I’ve met on my travels, and I know quite a few. But I can’t really thank them for inspiring me, as that’s how I met them!
I guess it started when I was a child. My parents never went abroad, and I didn’t first step onto a plane until I was 18. But my parents have pretty much travelled round most of the UK. This made me want to see the world. Sat watching Michael Palin travel the Himalayas and Steve Irwin wrestle the crocodiles, I used to moan no end how boring the programmes were and used to ask if we could watch something else. My parents dragging me around a new city, or hiking another mountain. I wasn’t interested at 10 years old. But as I got older, the more I realised those programmes and the family holidays were a big part of my inspiration.
I went to university, with every desire to work in Fashion Photography/Marketing. I soon realised my heart wasn’t in it as much as I thought it was. My real passion lay with travel photography. A few trips around Europe, I began to realise I had potential to actually take my photography somewhere.
I had big dreams. I kept discovering new cities, new countries that were being added to the bucket list. But who was I going to go with? I used to think I couldn’t possibly go alone. If somebody had sat me down 5 years ago and said I’d be doing this now, alone, I’d of laughed and thought, not a chance! I finished university, and thought if I don’t do it soon, I’m never going to. But no one I knew had the same dreams, and all wanted a mortgage with kids etc, so I soon fell into the rat race. I got a graduate job working in sports marketing, and don’t get me wrong I enjoyed parts of it, but for most of it, I was sat in an office 9-5. Not for me at all. I suddenly hated my life and it made me miserable. I missed the adventure, the fun, the spontaneity. I couldn’t possibly have lived that life until retirement! Hats off to those who enjoy it. It was driving me mad!
I booked a backpacking tour to go to Thailand, alone, for a month. I was petrified to tell my parents, but surprisingly, they weren’t that surprised and were really supportive. They had more faith in me I think, than I did myself. My Mum told me I’ve always been an independent girl, with a gypsy heart, looking for adventures. I did it, spent a month in Thailand, and even spent some time after the tour in Thailand, travelling around. I was so close to not catching my flight home. But my bank balance said otherwise. Honestly, if I had the money saved up at that point, I think I’d of been writing a very different story from here on. I’d of stayed without a second thought.
I came home, hating my old life even more. People warned me about that, but nothing quite prepares you for the constant downer that you’re on. No offence to my family and friends back home, but I was bored again. I needed that buzz that I got from travelling. I had every intention of saving up and going to Australia for a year, but I missed the life far too much to wait. I flew back out to Thailand 6 months later, met up with some friends I made on my first trip to Thailand. We travelled round Thailand some more, seeing places we hadn’t been the first time, then moved onto Malaysia and Singapore. I’m currently saving up, handed my notice in to the graduate job that I hate, and in 2 months, I have a one way flight booked to Australia.
I love the independence and the surprises you get from travelling. Each day is different. No two days are the same. It feeds me the adventure I missed from my life. I can honestly say right now, I can’t see myself returning to my old life anytime soon. The 9-5 office job just isn’t for me. So that’s why I quit my rat race life, to head out backpacking. And my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner!