It’s 5am, the sun is rising beside me as I’m writing from the rooftop of an Indian fishing boat after an epic 4 day trip through the Arabian ocean to finally see the Dragon Blood Trees of Socotra, Yemen. As I stand on the cusp of finishing my life long goal of truly traveling through every country in the world, I’m tired, filthy but content and wide awake. I’m excited to land in Oman and fly back to my adopted home of Thailand today or tomorrow.
As I lay on my the blanket on the roof, sleeping is impossible, I’m excited. I’m proud of where I’ve found myself at 33, not literally on this boat, but where I am in life. I’m free and I’m happy. But 10 years ago last month (thanks for the reminder FaceBook!) I was flying one-way to Thailand with nothing but $25,000USD in student loans, a backpack, $1000 or so from my stint in medical research, and very little else.
I didn’t know what to expect either from my year ahead teaching English in China or Thailand, or for the rest of my 20s. I guess I figured I’d have a fun year and then re-join the ratrace, get a ‘real-job’, join the masses, plan my holidays 6 month in advance, go to the same bars each week, support my football team, slowly put on weight and be none-the-wiser. Everyone else is doing it. I’d be no different.
Things turned out differently, as they often do when we chase our passions, and 10 years it’s easy to look back and say it was easy. It hasn’t been easy of course, but I wish I could go back 10 years to reassure myself, and on that note, I want to give a little advice to any others in their twenties. Feeling unsure of themselves, unaware of what they want, feeling the social pressure to rush into a career, a mortgage, a relationship when they’re still young. You don’t have to. Here’s my advice to you in your twenties, just don’t show your parents.
“Create and enjoy your freedom, be young, stay up late, and get up early, smile at people you don’t know, compliment strangers, be social, say yes even when it may get a little awkward, get stupid hairstyles, wear too many bracelets, get a few tattoos that you’ll probably regret. Get drunk, buy a backpack, travel as much as you can, travel alone, travel with friends, travel with strangers, hook up with travelers, hook up with locals, experiment with everything, burn the candle at both ends, sleep when you’re dead, stay in hostels, don’t worry about a career just yet, there’s plenty of time for that…
Walk a lot, soak it up, appreciate sunrises and sunsets, hug people, learn a language, be open and be honest, be proud but stay humble, stand up for yourself, learn the right time to walk away and the right time to throw a punch (there is one), explore other cultures and appreciate the ones so different from yours, eat street food, get food poisoning, take night buses, night trains, couchsurf, dont sweat the small stuff, seriously.
Sleep in airports, get a tan, try to remember to work out, it’s more important than just vanity, I promise. Stretch often, try yoga, drink a lot of water, go vegan for a bit. Fall in love, have your heart broken, maybe break a few on the way too sadly, say goodbye, call your parents, tell them you love them and appreciate their sacrifices, make an effort with your friends, you’ll lose them otherwise. Be socially conscious, but don’t be self-righteous. Enjoy the ride for all it’s worth. Responsibilities will beckon one day, I promise you that, but not today, not yet.
And when they say ‘youth is wasted on the young’, just smile back at them and say, ‘I’m sorry if yours was, but my youth wasn’t wasted at all’.
That’s it guys and girls. My favourite saying, and my next tattoo, is “You’ll never be as young as you are tonight”, don’t forget it, life’s too short. I’ll see you on the road.
Remember, never travel without travel insurance! And never overpay for travel insurance!
I use HeyMondo. You get INSTANT quotes. Super cheap, they actually pay out, AND they cover almost everywhere, where most insurance companies don't (even places like Central African Republic etc!). You can sign-up here. PS You even get 5% off if you use MY LINK! You can even sign up if you're already overseas and traveling, pretty cool.
Also, if you want to start a blog...I CAN HELP YOU!
Also, if you want to start a blog, and start to change your life, I'd love to help you! Email me on email@example.com. In the meantime, check out my super easy blog post on how to start a travel blog in under 30 minutes, here! And if you just want to get cracking, use BlueHost at a discount, through me.
Also, (if you're like me, and awful with tech-stuff) email me and my team can get a blog up and running for you, designed and everything, for $699 - email firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
Do you work remotely? Are you a digital nomad/blogger etc? You need to be insured too.
I use SafetyWing for my digital nomad insurance. It covers me while I live overseas. It's just $10 a week, and it's amazing! No upfront fees, you just pay week by week, and you can sign up just for a week if you want, then switch it off and on whenever. You can read my review here, and you can sign-up here!