Travel Bug

How do I travel? Am I a closet millionaire or something? Absolutely not. Before I explain how it is exactly that I do what I do, you must know a little bit about me:

Ever since I was young, traveling has been so fun for me. I enjoy seeing new things, meeting new people, and exploring. I like to be in the unknown and to marinate in mystery of cultural differences. Seeing things that confuse me makes me excited. Foreign places and even pictures I see inspire me and spark my curiosity. So I guess you could say that primarily I have a deep desire to explore the world and its mysteries.

Even if I were just traveling to a different city a few hours away, I made it my priority to leave home frequently. Whatever job I was working, whether it had been part time or full time, I budgeted enough money to be able to leave. Whenever I had a weekend or a few days, I jumped on the chance to do something fun – and if I had never done it before, even better! I put so many miles on my cars they depreciated almost weekly. I spent money on snowboarding, boat trips, camping, flying to Vegas and California, and cheap hotels in various locations. My mantra is, the value of an item expires while the value of an experience is priceless. I traveled to Mexico with friends and family, to Japan when I was 14 for an exchange my school hosted (I would always be the first to sign up for things like this!), to China when I was 16 for a Youth Ambassador exchange, and studied abroad in Costa Rica to finish my Bachelor’s Degree. These are not nearly all my travels, yet they are the ones where I saw an opportunity and ran with them. I should also mention I had my parents’ support, which was quite helpful especially when I was under 18!

The one thing that held me back from doing my “world trip” I had always planned to do was my student loan debt. So, I consulted my parents. They helped me set up a plan to budget wisely and pay off my debt in record-breaking time. I paid $500-800 per month towards my debt and it took me a few years but I did it! I am now debt-free. Now, in the meantime, I did not live lavishly. I turned down a lot of other opportunities and used my money for three things: 1. Survival, 2. Debt, and 3. Travel. I made sure that I was saving money monthly. Sometimes it didn’t work out. I got flat tires, I had some expensive visits to the doctor, etc. But in the long run, my debt was dying and my savings were building. I stuck to the plan and while it seemed slow and painful sometimes, it quite literally paid off.

So here I am, in Australia. I started this particular journey in Thailand in October and headed here. I worked for a bit under the table to get on my feet for this east coast adventure, and now I’m traveling before I find work again. (A Working Holiday Visa is $426AUD, which I purchased before I left for Thailand.) I also have a working visa for New Zealand and will head there afterwards! The plan from there? Maybe Fiji, then onto Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Singapore, and back to Thailand as well. (The list goes on forever, so I’ll spare you from there!) I’ll attempt to teach again in Asia (I taught English in China years ago) and save up to travel to Europe, then try to get a job perhaps in Spain so I can travel Europe and save for the Middle East and Africa. I want to do relief work in Africa and then teach again in South America before I pop back up the United States, where I’ll probably pursue my Master’s Degree (finally) and get back fully into bodybuilding more seriously.

I’m in no hurry in this life. I am soaking in every experience and every moment. Do I get sick? Yes. Do I have emergencies? Yes. Do I miss home, feel confused, and sometimes down? Sure. I have everyday health, financial, and relationship issues just like any other human. I do not, however, let it detract from where I am and what I’m doing. Who knows? I may crash and burn. Maybe it’ll be hard for me to get a job in a country that I thought was a sure thing, maybe I’ll get robbed, maybe I’ll lose a limb. But am I afraid? Definitely not. I am absolutely sure of myself on this adventure that this is what I am meant to do right now. Do I think this lifestyle is for everyone? Not particularly, and that can be said for any lifestyle. But for the people who are really, deeply interested in world travel – there you have it. That’s my plan. Whether it fails or succeeds, the journey will be worth it. So from here on out, we shall see what happens.

Fraser Island, atop a sand dune
Fraser Island, atop a sand dune

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