Leaving home for a life of adventure on the road
And what it’s really like
I’ve been looking forward to starting our travelling adventure for a long time. Even before we decided for sure that it was happening, I was dreaming about it, beguiled by the idea that there was the possibility of a chance that it could maybe happen someday. Since we decided it was definitely happening, I poured a lot of time into planning, hoping, budgeting, wondering; dreaming – even then. Now it’s happening.
It’s weird and wonderful in equal measure. I’m writing this on day four of our adventure that will hopefully last five, six, seven months or more. So it’s impossible, and entirely useless to try to draw any conclusions about what it’s “like.” The truth is, it kind of still feels like we’re on a holiday. It does feel like something is slightly different about it, but we still have a long way to go before we feel like we have “settled in” to life on the road. But that’s okay.
One thing that we have done without question, is leave our old lives behind. For now, anyway. And that bit of it’s weird. It’s kind of like getting married; you focus so much on planning the wedding and the honeymoon, everybody asks you about it, how it’s going, where you’re off to; so you never really think about what life is like once you come home from honeymoon. Nobody tells you about that. It sort of feels like it won’t ever come around. I’ve been focussed on planning and getting excited about adventuring so much that I’ve sort of forgotten to prepare myself for leaving behind what I know and love – a life that I built for myself at home. A life that made me really happy. The thought of hitting the road was so exciting; the idea of leaving the “world of work” was so liberating. The thought of leaving my family, friends, regular income and home that I love wouldn’t have been as fun. So I didn’t really bother doing it.
The easy way to describe it is bittersweet, but that doesn’t do it justice. It’s too obvious to say that it’s a joy to be out travelling and exploring a beautiful city, but it’s hard being away from home. But that’s not the truth. The first bit is true, but the hard being away from home bit is a funny one. It doesn’t feel hard right now, because we’ve only been away for a few days. I know we will get days when we miss our home and everything that goes with it, but that’s not today. Having said that, the actual leaving home part – that was so much harder than I thought it would be.
I thought I’d be fine – I’d waited for months and years for the opportunity to take an extended break on the road. It was exciting – a dream come true. That was my overriding emotion for so long, so why would it be any different in the run up to it actually becoming a reality? Well, that’s exactly why – reality. The reality of the situation sinks in. I feel dead privileged to have the opportunity to do this, so of course it was going to come with some downsides. I thought I knew what they were – having to take loads of time to save loads of money, having to leave jobs that we love, not actually getting to go on holiday while saving, being unemployed when we come back. I took some time with each of these, and kind of worked past them. I was fine. But these don’t matter much because they’re just practical things. We’ll find work when we come back, money will come and go. There’s always another holiday to do on.
What really matters – the real downside of living this particular dream – is saying goodbye to the people that you love. For now, anyway. That’s a hard thing to do. No matter what the reward is, no matter how hard you’ve worked to achieve the dream that you’re going to live – in any circumstance, even one that you’ve manufactured for yourself – that is bloody hard! And it was. Having left my job and moved out of our home a couple of weeks ago, I was really lucky to be able to spend those important last days and moments before we left with the people that I love. It was wonderful, but it was hard, knowing what was coming. “I’m always on the end of the phone” I was saying, and thinking “but I know it’s not the same.” I spent quite a bit of time with my very young nephews and niece, who don’t fully understand what was happening (if at all – the youngest are very young and really don’t care, but I do). I also spent a lot of time with my family, and closest friends. They did of course know what was happening, and I’m not sure which was harder.
Of course, my intention isn’t for this to come across as a hard luck story. I know I’m lucky to be doing this, and I know I’ve chosen to do it – nobody has forced me to. I’m living out a dream that I’ve had for a long time, and I’m lucky enough to have a wonderful wife that was equally keen to do so. I’m living out a dream with my favourite person, so life is really, really good right now.
The assumption is that it will all be worth it. Being away from loved ones, being unemployed, having no fixed place to make your home. It will all be worth it because we get to have this wonderful adventure. And I’m sure it will be. But the reality is that it was damn hard to leave home. And that’s okay.
Rather than letting the sadness of the situation overwhelm me, or dictate and have a major influence on this part of my life, I’m taking it more as an affirmation of just how good my life is; how lucky I am to have wonderful people around me, how well I’ve done in building a life I can be proud of and happy with, and how wonderful it will be to see everyone when we do eventually make it home. What a privilege this is – all of it. This bit now, and all the other bits that go with it.
If you’re into that sort of thing, please say a prayer that my Godson remembers me in a few months when I see him again. Cheers.