When I tell people of my plans, I generally get a similar reaction along the lines of “I’m jealous,” “I hate you,” and “I wish I could just pick up and leave like that.” But the way I see it, anyone could do what I’m doing. I’m not doing anything too out of the ordinary or something that’s never been done before. Do people really view me as being in some special and unique position that allows me to just take off on a whim? Well, I can’t give myself that much credit. I definitely put some planning into this adventure, but, in my opinion, its something that anyone is capable of.
Money is always a huge issue. I’ve been putting away money for some time now with the idea of travel in the back of my mind. The best quote I can think of for this is, “Live like no one else today so you can live like no one else tomorrow.” But saving up money shouldn’t seem like such a daunting task when it pertains to world travel. I chose Southeast Asia, where anyone willing and able can travel on almost nothing per day. I once spent three weeks in Vietnam and it turned out that my flight cost more than all my expenses the rest of the trip, which included two in-country flights. It definitely is important to have some extra money saved up, but its by no means a be-all end-all.
Quitting my job was a tough decision for me. A steady paycheck puts one’s nerves at ease and once you have it and the lifestyle that accompanies it, its not so easy to let go, even if its a job you aren’t completely in love with. I heard more than one person scoff at the idea of quitting a good job in a poor economy, but I couldn’t let that stop me. I like to say that I’m highly employable and I know that someone will put me to work when I get back. Best case scenario, I find some new calling in life. Worst case scenario, I live with my parents until I can get back on my feet and as a worst case, it’s really not that bad. I did it after college and I was able to find work just fine. If that’s all I have on the line, I’ll take the chance every time.
Another huge consideration that I put a good amount of thought into is uprooting myself from my social setting. I’ve lived in the South Bay for a year and a half and have met some amazing people and made some real close friends that have become a big part of my life. Leaving that behind isn’t easy, especially since I have no idea if I’ll move back to LA or if things will ever be the same. On one hand, it almost feels like when I graduated from college, leaving my lifestyle and all my friends behind. But that may be a little melodramatic. What could also happen and what I’ve heard from people who have left for a period of time and returned, is that I’ll be surprised at how little will have changed. The world keeps on churning without you and when you return, it’s as if you never left. Whatever ends up happening, I’ll be prepared.
Finally, a quote that’s sure to inspire:
“Don’t wait around. Don’t get old and make excuses. Save a couple thousand dollars. Sell your car. Get a world atlas. Start looking at every page and tell yourself that you can go there. You can live there. Are there sacrifices to be made? Of course. Is it worth it? Absolutely. The only way you’ll find out is to get on the plane and go. And let me tell you something. That first morning, when you are in your country of choice, away from all of the conventions of a typical, everyday lifestyle, looking around at your totally new surroundings, hearing strange languages, smelling strange, new smells, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. You’ll feel like the luckiest person in the world.” – Jason Gaspero