I always loved travelling – so I did a lot of it… Went here and there whenever I had the chance – did all from backpacking tours to volunteering and exchange semesters and loved the experience, variety and interesting people it brought. After I met Marvin, my husband, we shared that passion and did a bunch of crazy trips – the most formative was our honeymoon which we spent in an orphanage in Ghana teaching maths and English. And believe me – the 4 weeks we’ve got where not nearly enough to really make a difference.
So somehow I realized that, as much as I loved travelling, it never created the feeling of complete freedom. It always was limited by the most valuable thing we’ve got – time! If I think back there was always a definite end in sight to any trip – marked by a continuing study semester or job that I needed to go back to. And this makes you rush – even if you don’t want to.
So what happens? You keep on planning to use the time you got as efficient as possible, see all there is to see, do all the fun stuff the area possibly offers, meet the coolest people ever and party hard all the time to not miss out. If you think about it – do you remember a single night you went to bed early (without a horrible missing-out-feeling) during your travels, even if you were tired or jet-lagged to death? Let me guess – the next day you still got up to use the time to do a snorkelling excursion, just to find yourself on the next party the same evening drinking tequila shots? Did you ever find a place you just loved and stayed there for two weeks if you just got 4 weeks of travel time? Probably not. At least I never did. Because travel time is scarce & precious!
I don’t want to downgrade time-limited travel experiences at all – I love it as much as you do and this is what normal life offers to us. But if you somehow ever felt that you miss the slow-motion or local life experience, envied the around-the-world travellers or still wish back the place you fell in love with but you had to move on – it might be your thing to take a timeout.
Don’t want to deny it – it felt superweird to quit my job. I just got promoted, had my own team and felt like I SO have to take the chance. But what I did was the following: I sat down and tried to consider what I will tell my kids in 15 years. Probably not about the challenging job I had. And I can honestly say, so far I did not even regret that decision one day – quite the opposite, I actually I love it every day.
I was lucky enough to have my husband Marvin by my side who felt exactly the same way – and we just followed our gut feeling, against all scepticism we and other people had. And this is what all this is all about – follow your heart, your dreams and the life you would love to live disregarding what “normal life” expects from you. Sit down and imagine which experiences you would love to remember sitting as an 80-year old on a park bench feeding ducks.
To sum this up – here are some of the experiences we probably would have skipped if there was a limit to our trip (we are only 4 weeks into our trip – so will extend on the way of our travels):
# we found this lovely camping spot with a beautiful, croc-free (remember: we are in Australia right now) waterhole and we just imagined ourselves here for a couple of more days, lying in the water, chatting and sipping wine. We just stayed!
# we had shitty weather for one straight week – so we just changed our route. Instead of taking the coastal line we went inland and ended up in an amazing outback pub making friends with local construction workers.
# my husband always wanted to do the Old Telegraph Track (superbumpy off-road track all the way up to Cape York) – but it was off-season. We just took the chance – which we never would have done on a limited-time travel. It was awesome and one of the most rewarding trips so far.
# we had a big travel day the next day – but somehow we just met this wonderful, interesting & funny couple at the dinner place. We just skipped our plans for one day and ended up on a beach party drinking way too much beer & wine but, in turn, received great travel tips that still serve us well.
# the Lonely Planet is a great guide – no doubt about that. But it gives you the obvious sights. We for our part are seeking for the beautiful hidden places – beaches not everyone goes to, lagoons that are not crowded, enjoy sunsets sitting all by ourselves on a rock, pubs we get to meet the locals and so much more. Now we finally got the time to do all that.