The view from here
"We naively thought that five months was enough to really “cure” ourselves of our travel curiosity. We should have guessed when we had problems booking our round-the-world ticket — you realise how much of the world you desperately want to see."
Instead of doing the typical Kiwi ‘overseas experience’ in our twenties, my husband and I chose to focus on our careers. A decision that allowed us flexibility and security but after a decade also left us exhausted and needing a change.
As my 30th birthday looms at the end of 2016, we decided that there was no time like the present. We’d seen enough envy-inducing social media posts from our UK-based friends. It was time to get travel out of our systems before we settled down properly.
We quit our jobs, packed our bags and headed off with round-the-world tickets. Ahead of us was five months of travel across three continents. We had a vague itinerary but were most excited by the unknown, unplanned adventures that lay around each corner.
Today I caught up with a family friend Pam, in Windsor, London. In her 90s, she’s a fascinating woman whose biography would make a compelling movie. Although, she’d disapprove of the fuss! Her family owned a sugar empire, she grew up near Harrods, competed in polo, hunted foxes, and in WW2 she did something to do with computers that she can’t discuss. Oh and every Sunday she goes to church with the Queen. THE QUEEN OF FREAKING ENGLAND.
This worldly lady has also travelled extensively and seems to approve of my husband and I recklessly quitting our jobs to explore the world. We’re now 3 months and 14 countries into our travels. While she enthusiastically listened to our tales to date, she also had an interesting question for us. Where will the next trip be to?
We’ve still got two months, two continents and at least 8 countries to go. We couldn’t possibly be thinking about the next trip yet?
But she was spot on, we are already planning. We hadn’t even realised it but we had more than one possibility lined up. South-East Asia, Croatia in Winter, Scotland, Scandinavia… the options rolled out quickly, easily.
There’s no such thing as curing the travel bug or getting it out of your system. Travel teaches you lessons that inevitably result in needing to travel more… it’s a wonderful never-ending dilemma!
It’s just the start. We’ve spent the majority of our trip in Europe. Surely after 75 days, we would have seen a good portion of this diverse continent? Nope, we’ve just got started! Every place we go, we meet amazing locals and other travellers. They generously share with us their favourite places and tips. We usually learn we have more than one reason to return and dig deeper into that country.
Your normal life can wait. I was nervous about taking five months from my career. It’s turned out to have had the opposite effect. I’ve relished the opportunity to read, write and think. The time to reflect on our travels, the people we’ve met and the wonders we’ve seen has proven crucial to rebalancing ourselves. While the fullness of what we’ve experienced will only sink in once we’re home, we’ve taken the time to savour each country.
You never know what little moment will be the story you retell in your 90s. As Pam traded travel stories with us over a daytime glass of sav, she chuckled about how she remembered the seemingly insignificant details. Like the coffee in Venice or the driver in Amsterdam who wouldn’t let her explore the red light district.
The more you travel, the more you want to. We naively thought that five months was enough to really “cure” ourselves of our travel curiosity. We should have guessed when we had problems booking our round-the-world ticket — you realise how much of the world you desperately want to see. We settled on South Africa, Europe and South America. And again, told ourselves that would be enough. It seems foolish, but at the time, were convinced.
Instead we’re acutely aware of the places that haven’t made the shortlist. The must-dos that remain undone.
So Pam, where we will go next? Everywhere.
Nicole Williams is a New Zealander currently travelling the world for five months with her husband, Luke. Nicole quit the real-world to get travel "out of her system" but found it's had the opposite effect. You can see more from her at https://medium.com/@envycollect