Sitting here in my little home office, I look to my left at my bookshelf. On four of the shelves sit book after book on the topic of happiness, suicide, helping others, ethics, and how to “properly” give someone therapy. All topics which intrigue me, yet every book has a bookmark in it. Turning to my Netflix account, I search for a movie to watch…. Only to notice that I’ve paused nearly every movie and never gone back to them. Frustrated with myself, I go to read something that I find fascinating, an article about the connection between humour and the human denial of death. I make it through 4 pages, sigh, and put down the paper.
What is wrong with me?
I am not bored by any means, but I am impatient. Thrill and adventure and life isn’t coming at me fast enough, and that makes me restless. It is then that I realize what I’m missing- thrill and adventure and life. These are words I often use when describing my travel experiences, as well as what I am seeking in the world. Yet, it took me all this time to really own up to my one wish! Being too old to ask my parents to help, being too timid to ask my school advisor to help, and being too Sacrilege to ask a religious deity or leader to help, it occurs to me that I have to help myself.
That is where it began.
The time to decide my future is now. I can’t assume that what I seek will simply fall in my lap, or that something I say or think or feel will put my life puzzle together. My horoscope and the alignment of the stars won’t guide me anywhere but to space and back; a never-ending cycle of dreams and fantasies all leading to nothing but being in the very same place I started out.
People often tell me I am destine for great things; that I will accomplish a lot because of my out-of-the-box thinking and adventurous spirit. Those alone do not a success make, however. I don’t know who J.M. Power is, but a quote of his is plastered on a motivational poster. It says,
There it is, my friends, therein lies the problem. I have been sleeping when I have so much work to do! Not that my time was wasted, but it certainly wasn’t being spent on my goal. Reading about happiness and success doesn’t lead to anything but knowledge. Knowledge is power, but it’s not the key. The key is action. Exhaustion, devotion, and urgency with a touch of patience.
No longer is traveling an end goal or a far off “one day” passive inactivity. Traveling is what I am working towards. Traveling is what I am doing with my life, every single day of my life. I am converted. No longer do I dislike social media, I embrace it. I recognize how it will be one of my greatest companions and mentors along my way. Money is not to be squandered on more half-read books and unworn fashion. Money is another tool that I can use as an ice pick as I climb this steep, snowy mountain. I am climbing my way to the top, where I will not just place my flag and return back to steady ground, but I will build a home up there. As tiny and empty and lonely as it may be at times, my core desires and passions in life will not be sidestepped for the implanted wishes of others. My goal is set.
Another clever quote from another gentleman of whom you’ve probably never heard:
*George C Marshall –
15th Unites States Army Chief of Staff
50th United States Secretary of State
10th President of the American Red Cross
3rd United States Secretary of Defense*
I didn’t like this, not one bit. Rather than find Mr. Marshall and throw a shoe at him, I decided to do one better. I decided to do my thing.
With less than a year until I get my Master’s from graduate school, this gives me one year to prepare. To prepare mentally, physically, professionally, and monetarily for the adventure of a lifetime. To make sure I know exactly what it is I am looking for and leaving behind. In a year, give or take, I put everything into action. All the Twittering and Instabooking and rambling online and netplaying (and sometimes working) will be put into play, and everything I’ve decided I want in life will be put the test. Terror and uncertainty aside, self-doubt will no longer have any place in my personal bubble.
This is why I call this year (2016-2017) ‘One Year Till the World’
My everyday existence and survival will become part of the bigger picture. Not in the name of fame or money or bragging rights, but with hopes of achieving what’s important to me. There is no destination of “happiness” or a sense of achievement and accomplishment, but an ongoing journey to find what it is that I was avoiding at the end of all the books, or why it is I could never make it to the end of a movie. Maybe it was the cliffhanger that I loved. Maybe I simply didn’t want to know. I want the tragedy and comedy to never end. And so, here I am. Here we are. Welcoming all the drama of the universe to come get me. I am bait. Once something bites, I’m not letting go.
List of things I will need to physically prepare:
I used LifeEvolver to help me make this list
Passport or Visa –
A U.S. passport will get me far, but not everywhere. Some countries will allow me to get the visa when I arrive in the country and some jobs will assist in this process, but others will take a month or so.
Some of these require a series of shots over a period of 1-6 months. Some can be accelerated to 21 days. Recommended vaccinations at: Center for Disease Control
Backup Important Documents –
E-mail self (or use of a service like Legacy Locker) to store important documents and copies of passport, credit cards, and immunization records. Bonus: If I were to pass away while traveling, Legacy Locker would hand over online assets to a beneficiary. I realize this is morbid, but HEY! People die!
Get an international-friendly debit card and credit card –
Check out Which credit and debit cards are best overseas article for details.
In a credit card look for: no international surcharge, and ideally, cash back with every purchase (flyer miles?)
For a debit card look for: no ATM fee (or a payback if there is one), best exchange rates, and no low-balance fee.
Travel Insurance –
At the very minimum, I’ll need some kind of medical and evacuation insurance. It’s cheap and very useful if required. (Recommended: World Nomads.)
Aside from the job I will have prepared prior to leaving, ideally, at this point I will have some sort of sponsorship helping me pay the way. Donations, paid advertising, or other ways to bring in spending cash would be amazing. This will pay for transportation, food, housing, emergencies, and various technical aspects.
This will change a lot, but an initial place to stay or a “home base” will be important. As in, somewhere within an hour or so of where I am jumping around with people, places, and things with which I have become familiar. In case things get confusing, plans get changed, or I simply get lonely, I need somewhere that feels safe. Aside from this, each place I go, I will need to utilize Couchsurfing, sponsored housing, camping, or jobs that will provide accommodations (hostels, au pair, teaching English….) What I can arrange beforehand may differ from the reality, so I have to prepare multiple options.
Not only do I have to research what products are best for long term travel (a camera, specifically), I will also need to find out about services abroad. Although I do love sending letters and postcards, these don’t work when time is of the essence. Internet and phone service may be limited in some regions, but if I can’t archive my experiences, they’re not going to be very useful for travel writing! Not to mention, work-related emails, travel information, and calls to my family will make contact with the rest of the world extremely important!
Am I forgetting anything? That is, aside from packing, the pain of “goodbye”, and mentally preparing for the most exciting and terrifying life of my… life…..?
For my own use, and yours, here are a few more blogs on the whats, wheres, whens, whys, and hows of traveling for a living:
Medium.com – How to prepare for a long-term work and travel trip.
My Procedure, Best Picks, and Data Roaming Package Advice
Just One Way Ticket – Travel for the rest of my life: 15 travel bloggers tell how to do it
UBC – Preparing for Travel: Before, During, and After Your Trip
Nomadtopia – 7 Steps to a Life of Travel
And there are many, many more blogs and websites just like these! Google is your friend. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram will help, too! If you’re planning/beginning/ending/in the middle of your own world travel for pleasure or business, tell me about it!
Click the ‘Follow’ button on the left to keep up with my adventure!
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In the meantime, get satisfied!