When I embark on this trip, the trip that will begin in early 2016, and that this blog was created to record and share, it won’t be my first time traveling.
Back in 2012-13, I was traveling with a good friend, and we had a certain style that we became pretty good at.
We were wandering around on foot in Europe, wild camping, wwoofing, coachsurfing, trail hiking and hitchhiking. To give you more of an idea of what I got up to on those adventures, we:
Countries visited so far: UK, France, Belgium, Holland, Spain.
Total time on the road: 14 months (I think I will always be a bit slooow)
Next plan: fly to Morocco and see what happens.
I might not be new to travel, but definitely I am new to what’s about to happen… I don’t know what’s about to happen.
I am from the UK, and up until now (some travelers will no doubt gasp at this), I have never left Europe. Not once. Not on a family holiday, not on a travel trip, not in my 14 months on the road.
Europe was perfect for what I wanted then. I wanted to travel slow, and was in no rush to jump from one country to another. The wild camping and hiking and hitchhiking – Europe seemed to lend itself so well to that. Now it’s time to try something new.
Now is the time. Now is definitely the time. In 2016, I will be leaving my cosy continent behind in search of more mindblowing experiences that are outside of my range of expectations, and even perhaps my imagination. This trip will be my first time out of Europe, and into cultures that are totally different.
This will also be my first time traveling alone, without travel companionship at least for the first steps. Do I find this scary? Most certainly.
But I know that a solo trip will do me the world of good. It’s going to make me have to confront myself, love myself, and learn to be happy on my own; making my own decisions, with no comfort zone, and no one to cling on to. It’s time to face the world!
Another new element to this trip is going to be the style. In the past, I have saved up for a travel bout (the bare minimum needed because I have always been in a rush to leave), and gone off with the intention of making that money last as long as possible. Even with some volunteering, and a rare paid job, the cash would run dry and I would go home to save more.
This time I am going to be living the life of a ‘digital nomad’. For the past 12 months I have been developing my content writing freelance business, as well as preparing websites and e-books for release. In 2016, I will take my laptop and become location independent. If I can afford to live in the UK, then I can afford to live in most places in the world.
These three factors are going to make all of difference to the experience of travel. For what really is ‘travel’? It’s a pretty small word that can describe a lot of different things. When I set off in January, alone, and carrying my work with me to a totally foreign country, is that really anything like the same experience as setting off to a neighboring country with a loved one, a 2-man tent, and no work responsibility. I anticipate major differences.
I’m not making any strict plans, so let’s see what happens…
The beauty of life, and of travel in particular, is that there really is no way to know for sure what will happen. You can make plans, and sometimes they will go swimmingly. At other times, the world will conspire to force you into spontaneity – if you can embrace this that’s when the real magic will happen.
I prefer to travel with a less rigid plan in mind. This time, the plan is to go to Morocco. I will probably fly to Marrakech, because the flights from Manchester are cheap. After that, I really have no idea what the plan is, though of course I have some idea of places I want to check out – Fez, Chefchaouen, Essaouira, the Sahara, and more.
After Morocco, I am hoping not to have to come back to the UK, unless I want to. Hopefully the freelancing can keep me going nicely. Wish me luck!
As for my previous travel experiences, and the lessons derived from them… they will not go to waste, neither in my life, nor in my writing. I hope to be able to talk with you about some of the madness and emotion from the 2 years backpacking already under my belt (or the piece of string tied round my waist that serves as a belt, to be more accurate.)
If you want me to talk about any of the experiences mentioned in the bullets above then drop me a comment or a message and i’ll joyfully write you up a post.