Travel doubts: leaving behind the familiar to wander the world...
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by Chloe Green (@SharedBucketList)
For most people approaching thirty, the security and stability that come with settling down aren't just complementary byproducts; they're intently sought after. Huge milestones such as buying your first home, getting married and having babies are all signposts of what it means to be 'settled' and 'successful', according to society. So, what does this mean for anyone who deviates away from this natural course? Or, in our case, people who have already taken steps towards this way of living but have rapidly applied the handbrake after re-addressing their priorities?
Well, in our experience, it is certainly not an easy decision.
Although we are still in the early stages of our travel planning, after much contemplation and many moments of doubt (see below), we have decided that we are going to commit to exploring the world and leave life as we once knew it behind us. We've received various comments regarding our decision - some say we are mad, while others are pleased for us. A few admire our bravery, whereas others feel it really isn't that deep. In this post, however, we wanted to share our main concerns about choosing an alternative path.
Here's our list of worries about taking a leap of faith and living a nomadic existence:
1. What if this sets us back?
Financially: How will we be able to save for a wedding? Continue to invest in our future? The cost of flights to and from each destination plus accommodation, food and drink are all sure to add up. Where are our travel funds actually coming from? How will we know how much we need to budget? What if there's an emergency? Career: Taking a year off could make things difficult when we return. How will a large gap in work history look to future employers? I've already fallen out of love with teaching; what if traveling makes me despise work altogether/affects my chances of finding a role I feel equally passionate about? (Luckily for Connor, he can continue to work remotely, but there are also concerns here, e.g. time differences, equipment, internet connection where we are due to be based, etc.)
Family: We're not ready to have children yet but we also don't want to end up being old parents. We're certainly not getting any younger so shouldn't this be something we factor into our planning? Friends and relatives of ours are literally having children in the next few months and we expect more will follow. We don't want to miss out on such an important time in their lives but, if we don't go now, then will we ever get an opportunity to do what's important to us?
2. What do we do about our existing commitments?
House: Should we sell it? Perhaps - but that could take months to go through! Do we rent it out? That could work, although we need to finish renovating it first. Also, what happens if there are issues when we're away? The boiler could break. We may have difficult tenants. How much rent will we need to charge? Furthermore, what on Earth should we do with all our furniture? We don't want our best pieces to get damaged but can we really afford to pay for monthly storage on top of everything else?
Cars: Selling these seems like the obvious decision as they're a lot less complicated than a mortgage but how long will we need them while we're still in the UK, dealing with everything else? What's the best way to go about paying for tax/insurance in the meantime? We ought to get them serviced and valeted before displaying any price tags. When you think about it, selling them seems like a lot of hassle - anyway, won't we want them to get about the second we get back? Clothes: Probably more of an issue for me than Connor as I seem to have accumulated an unnecessary amount over the years (despite donating a number of bags to clothing banks recently) but I have no idea what to do with all my belongings. I'm genuinely not attached to anything I own but selling it all sounds very long-winded and throwing everything away seems a bit drastic. Not only that, I struggle to pack light for a week away, let alone if I'm going to be island-hopping for months at a time. (The most trivial concern of them all, I'd say, but still valid)
3. The unthinkable:
What if something truly awful and unexpected happens to a loved one? What if it happens to one of us while we're away? We haven't given much thought to these scenarios as they are far too devastating to mull over but, sadly, they have crossed our minds a few times. As has the immense sense of guilt we would feel if something horrible were to happen.
As you can see, the volume and complexity of questions we've been pondering (for quite some time) haven't been easy to navigate. We never thought that pursuing our dreams would trigger such emotional turmoil which, essentially, is why we felt it was important to share this article.
Nonetheless, after stripping everything back to the bare bones, we have come up with some reassuring counter-arguments to each of the above. These 'solutions' might not have provided a quick fix for everything we've raised in this article but they've certainly helped to remind us of what is within our control and changed our way of thinking somewhat:
What if this sets us back? --> What if it propels us? Financially: If we make sensible decisions about our accommodation, organise trips to take place in similar parts of the world at a time and free ourselves from as many bills as we usually pay each month, we could actually end up saving money. Career: I know I am already passionate about writing, photography and videography (otherwise I wouldn't have started this blog). Traveling the world, without constraints, will inevitably provide so many opportunities to focus on and refine this hobby, as well as discovering and making time for other new interests along the way. To ensure Connor can continue his work without interruption, we will just need to ensure that each venue we visit has a secure and stable WiFi connection. I will also be on the lookout for remote working opportunities to alleviate some of our financial stress. Family: Of course, leaving our families and friends behind will be tough - even tougher when they are due to be bringing new life into the world - but the future isn't promised to anyone and there will never be a convenient time to go after the things you want in life.
What do we do about our existing commitments? --> These are all materialistic and insignificant, in the grand scheme of things... House: We will rent so that we have something to come back to if sh*t hits the fan and things don't work out. If our tenants are hard work, so be it. We'll arrange someone to manage our place while we're away. If something breaks, so be it. We'll have to pay for it to be fixed. Life's too short to worry about the hypothetical. Cars: These can be sold. It doesn't matter how soon. We can find alternative ways to get about in the meantime. It really isn't the end of the world. They cost a fortune to run anyway. Clothes: It would be wise to sell as much as we can for extra pennies. (Emergency fund!) Donate the rest. It can all be replaced later. Pack some bikinis. Everything else can be bought out there.
3. The unthinkable. --> This is a big one and we don't know the future, so here are a series of inspirational quotes to help put our mind at ease: - 'Living with fear stops us from taking risks. If you don't go out on the branch, you're never going to get the best fruit.' - 'Everything you've ever wanted is on the other side of fear.' - 'You can't live your life for other people. You've got to do what's right for you, even if it hurts some people you love.' - 'Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.' - 'There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.'
And finally... 'When I look back on all my worries, I remember the story of an old man who said on his death bed that he had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which never happened.'
We look forward to documenting our travels and sharing them with you in due course.
Best wishes, Chloe and Connor