Thoughts Before We Leave Home – Part 1
5 things we’re looking forward to and 5 challenges we expect to face on our travels
One week left before we leave home indefinitely in search of new adventures!
Despite having taken the final decision a few months ago, the reality of quitting our jobs, selling our cars, leaving our friends and families and setting off to a life full of uncertainties and risks is only hitting home now as we say our goodbyes.
So many questions running through our heads. Will we enjoy a nomadic lifestyle and all the challenges and discomfort it poses? How well will we adapt to living out of a backpack now that we are in our late thirties?
By backpacker standards, we are way beyond the average community age. Many travellers who hit the nomadic road are twenty-something year-olds fresh out of school or college who want to experience something different before they “settle down”; settling down being a concept neither Nikki or I ever quite resolved. Others have been doing this for a long time but have never really experienced an alternative lifestyle – travel is what they know and what they do.
We, on the other hand, have been working at a desk for the past 15 years, and although we have both travelled widely, we’ve also had a home base to return to, we have nurtured professional careers which have provided a stable income, and we have a large network of supportive friends and families mostly in our home country. Above all, we actually love living here in Malta!
So is it worth giving all this up for the sake of travel? We hope to find out within the next few months or so!
We are writing this post in two parts highlighting the adventures we are looking forward in Part 1, versus a list of experiences that we believe might prove challenging as we embark on our nomadic journey in Part 2.
Part 1 – What We Look Forward To
1. New adventures
This is probably the reason why Nikki and I both crave travel so much. New adventures, new experiences, new challenges – we love them all. Whether we’re climbing volcanoes in Nicaragua, hiking up to Tiger’s Nest in Bhutan, ballooning in Myanmar, rafting in Costa Rica, driving to remote villages in Georgia or crossing the border to a country which doesn’t exist, we are (almost) always happy to embrace the adrenaline surge that accompanies new experiences. Bring them on!
2. Meeting people from all walks of life
At home we tend to move around the same circles, hanging out mostly with friends of our age and spending work time with colleagues from a similar background as us. Traveling gives you a whole new perspective of different cultures, and of the ways in which various people live their lives. Sharing a meal with an Indian family on a 16-hr train to Mumbai, discussing pros and cons of being vegetarian with a monk in Myanmar, enjoying a traditional wedding in Croatia, catching local buses in Central America, attending a religious festival in Bhutan – these are all experiences which have challenged our norms and allowed us to build friendships with people who would otherwise surely have been strangers. More of that please!
3. Embracing spontaneity
Nothing will catapult you into a black hole of uncertainty as travel will. Even if you have it all figured out, it is very likely that most things will not go as planned and changes will have to be made not only to itineraries, but also to other arrangements which will cost you time and money. That’s where you learn to embrace to spontaneity, change and quick decisions. Your once weekly flight to your dream destination might suddenly be cancelled, or your car might have broken down during a road trip and you’re left stranded in the middle of nowhere, unable to speak the local language. It might not sound like something you would welcome, but we have learnt that sudden unplanned spontaneous situations could be just as fun or better than our original plans! We are both looking forward not only to ditching our routine but also to face and tackle the unexpected!
4. Local food
We both love to eat and we both like trying out new things. Few things are more alluring to us than trying out local dishes and delicacies we cannot even pronounce, in countries which many people have never even heard of. With street food being cheap, tasty and widely available in most places in Asia, we might soon have to look into ways in which to burn off the excess calories during our travels!
5. Lots of beach time
After spending winter in Europe, we look forward to spending the next few months working hard on our suntan on Asia’s beaches. That will of course be accompanied by some snorkeling, diving, and many other summer activities that have been sorely missed this winter!