When I now think back on all of the years I spent sitting at my comfortable desk, at my comfortable job in the legal profession, enjoying the comforts of my day-to-day life, I can’t help but think “wow, I was missing out on some great travel years!”
Back then, something was definitely missing. Life was becoming too comfortable. When Nick and I started dating, we had great jobs, a mortgage, a car and lots of material things, which is what most people strive for, but for us, we weren’t satisfied.
We knew we wanted to leave the mundane 9-5 rat race, put our regular routines on the back-burner and set off on an eye-opening and life changing adventure.
Many questions arose from many people: “How can you just drop everything and travel?” “Don’t you need lots of money?” “What about your house?”
This may sound cliché, but if you want something bad enough, everything will fall into place and it’ll just work out.
It’s actually quite easy to drop everything and make a life-changing decision, but what you have to make sure of first is that you really want it. We both knew it’s what we wanted and we started putting the plans in motion.
We saved money for a year and had ourselves on an at-home budget. No needless spending, no going out to nightclubs and no buying the newest electronics and gadgets. It’s amazing how much money you can actually save by just watching where you money goes. By cutting out the $5 Starbucks coffees every day, $6 magazines, not eating out at restaurants and definitely not buying any of the latest fashions, we were able to put away quite a bit of money.
We also put our house up for sale and were lucky to make some money from that. We sold a few of our belongings and stored the rest. Just before we were about to set off on our trip, we sold our car.
We made sacrifices and choices to reach our new goal in life: Ultimate Freedom.
That year of saving, planning and changing the way we lived flew by and before we knew it, we were on a plane to Bangkok. Our 13 months of backpacking through SE Asia and the Sub-Continent had commenced! It’s amazing how far money can go in that part of the world. If you don’t have thousands of dollars in the bank, consider travelling to more affordable parts of the world, not places like Europe or North America.
The things we saw, the people we met and the experiences we had were so amazing.
After that indescribable 13 months of our lives, we were back in Canada and not happy about it. We knew that we had opened our eyes and the door to travel and there was no closing it! We stayed in Canada for one year and saved extra hard. We rented a cheap apartment and scrimped and saved wherever we could. We were on a mission to save as much money as possible. Nick picked up as many overtime shifts as he could and I picked up a second job that I was able to do at home on the weekends.
We knew this would be the last time we lived in Canada.
We left after just one year and went backpacking again. This time our travels took us to Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus countries, Asia, SE Asia and Europe.
The cultures we were privy to on that trip and the moments we had were truly life changing. Dancing with tribal women and having my hair braided in Africa is a memory I’ll never forget. Scuba diving with Humpback Whales in Mozambique is a moment in travel that will never leave Nick’s mind and living in an ashram in India was an experience that we’ll both remember forever.
This is why we travel. This is why we left it all behind.
During our travels we were thinking of ways to sustain ourselves while on the road. When we thought about the possibility of having to go home due to running out of money and needing a job, it seriously stressed us out. There was no way we were going back to the monotony of the North American lifestyle, back to the life of only 2 weeks of holidays a year. We needed a plan.
We ended up volunteering teaching English in a very rural village in Myanmar. We were outside, there was a tarp, some chalk, a piece of sheet metal as a chalkboard, pigs, chickens and about 30 village kids. We did that for about a week and loved every moment of it.
Teaching English as a career moved to the forefront of our thoughts.
During our 16th month of being on the road, we were travelling through China. We decided to start emailing different recruiters for English teaching positions and within a couple of days, our email inbox was full! So many people wanted us to work for them.
We could relax, we had found a way to sustain our travels!
We’ve been living and working Teaching English in Yangzhou, China now for almost a year. Our contract is up in July and after that, we’ll be on the road traveling again through Mongolia, Central Asia and Iran. After that, we’re not sure. That’s one of the many joys of freedom, we can be spontaneous and go where we want, when we want.
If you’re feeling “stuck” or bored with life, then it’s time to do something about it! Take responsibility for your life and be the architect of your reality. Making the decision to be happy and free is one you will never regret. You just need to have the desire for change and go for it! If we can do it, then so can you.
So, what are you waiting for?
For more information and articles to get your travel juices flowing, check out our Inspirational Blogs!
About The Authors:
Nick & Dariece have left everything behind in search of cultural experiences, beautiful beaches and off the beaten path adventures. They call themselves Goats On The Road and their website for budget backpackers encourages others to pack their bags and leave the ordinary behind. Visit Goats On The Road and get excellent tips for the adventurous budget backpacker!