A year ago I was hiking up to the top of the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles. I was sweaty, exhausted and overly excited. I had just started my travels around the world with Martin and so far we had visited New York, Boston and Washington D.C. Now one year later I am back home, saving the pennies and living with my wonderful mum and dad. Was it all worth it? Absolutely.
Only three years before my big trip around the world, I had started my dream job. Then in April 2012 I visited my brother in Hong Kong and together along with the rest of Browns and my best friend, we travelled around China. Hong Kong is an incredible city. The people, the food and the sites will keep me coming back again and again. Once I had walked part of the Great Wall in Beijing, explored the Terracotta Warriors in X’ian and passed by the mountains of Guilin in a bamboo boat, beer in one hand, camera in the other, I had developed itchy feet, big time. Martin had always wanted to travel and it wasn’t long before I decided to go too. A year later, we found ourselves in the United States.
The decision to take a career break was a big one. I would be giving up my job and not seeing my friends and family for a very long time. But looking back I wouldn’t have changed a single part of the trip. With the retirement age on the up and knowing I will pretty much be working until I keel over at my desk, I knew it was a very big case of Now or Never.
If you are considering taking a gap year, taking a break from work or if you have an interest in travelling and just don’t know where to start; my advice to you is be brave and go for it.
I experienced such a range of emotions before and during my trip. I was excited, scared, anxious, nervous and very, very worried (I’m a natural worrier, some days I just can’t help it). But knowing I have seen so many breathtaking sites, made some awesome friends and got back to the UK in one piece left me feeling incredibly proud of myself and longing for the next adventure. The people I met along the way were all in various stages of their lives. Some young, some old, married with kids, having a career break and those who simply wanted to travel forever.
When telling my colleagues, friends and family about my big adventure I heard the phrase ‘oh, I wish I could do that’ SO many times.
And the simple response to this is ‘anyone can’.