Guest Post: 7 Reasons To Pack It All In And Travel The World
It’s a lovely idea, isn’t it? Far-off places, beautiful beaches, different cultures. Freedom from the daily grind. Until, that is, all the reasons why you shouldn’t pack it all in and travel the world race into your mind to stamp on your embryonic daydream. If you’re not so terrified that you’ve stopped reading altogether, here’s 7 reasons to resuscitate your dream.
1. Britain’s too expensive… I live in Germany and every time I meet someone who has visited Britain, I hear the same complaint: it’s soooo expensive! Imagine living there, I tell them. The cost of living is going up, while pay is being cut or frozen. It’s a simple equation: Brits work more and pay more and in the end we receive less. Think about that.
2. Britain’s too, well, outraged… The endless stream of talent contests we’ve been subjected to over the last few years might have been a warm-up for the big bonanza, The London Olympics, but all this has been a brief interval in the favoured pastime of the British: moral outrage! If there were Olympic medals available for complaining, who would win all three? Yep, Team GB. Speaking as someone who has left the Iles of Wonder, I’ve found that other cultures deal with problems in different ways, but they all have one thing in common: a lot less complaining. It’s a relief to not feel so obliged to complain.
3. Who are The Jones’ anyway? We’re in a desperate race that begins the day we are born. First it was the right nappies, then it was the right lunchbox, then it was the right clothes. Before you know it, it’s the right phone, then the right car, the right mortgage for the right house in the right area, the right holiday destinations, the right schools for the kids, the right universities that we can’t really afford, the right pension policy (or to call it what it really is: the right amount to fund the endless gambling of those schmucks in The City), and before you know it, your final concern; the right sending off, which you won’t enjoy because you’re well on your way to becoming carbon, or catching the train to the afterlife – whatever you believe.
4. You might not be able to stay… More and more of us are facing the stark reality that jobs are scarce. It’s tough times in Britain and while you have worked hard for the moderate, yet comfortable life you lead, if you lose your job, getting another one in Blighty will be difficult. It’s in moments like these that the totally insane question of “What would I do if..?” can bring you life changing answers.
5. You can afford it, even if you think you can’t… Most of us think a round-the-world trip as a £10,000, or £20,000 adventure. It doesn’t have to be. Some people choose to save up enough to get them through the first couple of destinations. Once they arrive somewhere they like, they find work and build-up a pot of money to get them to the next couple of destinations and so on. Some choose freelance work, or teaching, while others choose to participate as healthy volunteers in paid clinical trials for organisations such as volunteers.gsk. The point is if the idea sounds better than the next series of Britain’s Got Talent, what are you waiting for?
6. A different perspective… Different cultures bring with them different perspectives, like how to cross the road in the opposite way (try it. It’s more thrilling than a shark dive!)
There are different etiquettes, like “We don’t pass the salt here; you’ll have to reach for it yourself.”
And finally, the stark and slightly terrifying realisation that the rest of the world is perfectly comfortable having sex without the aid of several glasses of wine/beer/vodka/gin/tequila/sambuca/a sickening mix of all six (delete as appropriate).
Immersion in other languages and perspectives will force you to grow in directions you never thought possible.
7. There’s more to life… There’s more to life than the daily commutes, sales targets, deadlines, council tax, plumbers who don’t turn up to fix your busted boiler, singing contests and your favourite latte from the cafe near the train station. There are even places on this planet where the sun actually shines, where people sit in the shade enjoying an unhurried cup of something pleasant, where the road is open and those who walk it will find out who they really are.