I toyed with the decision to buy a one-way ticket to Thailand for about a year before I intended to take off. I had an injury, needed to save a little more cash, and knew that I would have to change my life completely to travel long term.
Deciding to leave my comfortable, sedentary life in favor of becoming a nomad was easily the toughest decision I have ever made. Not only that, I was going to have to do this alone. Nobody else was at a place in their lives where they could take off on an extended trip with me.
Did I mention that I’m not very good at being alone?
I recall scouring the interwebs for some kind of support – something to tell me that everyone who travels goes through this and it’s all going to be OK. There were a lot of articles about what to pack, how to save, and other prep, but nothing that talked about the hardest part of all:
Getting over the fear.
I had so many questions: what if I ruin my chances at a steady career? After all, it is not very common for an American to take a year off in the name of travel. It’s simply not something we tend to do. We work, we consume, and we never take vacations. That’s the American way. I was going to go completely against it if I took this trip.
How would people react? I kept my dream to become a nomad a secret for quite some time. I had to be so sure of my decision that nobody could sway me. I needed to be positive this was what I wanted before I threw it out there to my loved ones.
Lastly, how would I support myself? As an investment banker, I did well financially, but it wasn’t fulfilling. When I looked introspectively and asked myself what my dream job would be, it was always the same – I wanted to be a travel writer. I finally decided that I didn’t care if that meant I’d never be rich. The years of talking to CEOs who were in their 60s and never took a break made me realize that money had little pull over me anyways. It wasn’t worth exchanging my youth for paper and coins.
But what if I failed?
Would it be worth it?
I thought back to every time I had traveled. Nearly all of the trips I had taken were self-funded. The first was at age 20 when I took a trip to Europe with my sister. I returned home with no money in my account. I survived on soup and day-old bagels (half the price of fresh, new ones) for a couple of months.
Funny thing is, I was happy to do it. The experience jump-started my wanderlust. I had zero regrets about spending my savings on travel. I suspect nearly everyone who has done the same would agree.
This time will be no different
That’s what I repeated to myself over and over. I needed to stop worrying about what might happen after I returned home. Heck, maybe I didn’t even need to come home. Who knew what the future might hold for me? All I knew is I needed to follow my dreams, or I would be miserable.
I needed to be selfish.
It was okay to be selfish.
I reached out to a favorite blogger of mine (that’s you, Ayngelina) who further cemented my beliefs that this was something I needed to do. We traded a few emails and a couple of months later, I purchased my one-way ticket to Bangkok, with the intention of traveling solo.
I still have some fear from time to time – more of the unknown than anything else. I’ve learned to embrace it. This is healthy fear. As my departure date has inched closer, it has morphed into excitement.
I don’t know what the future holds. For once, I’m okay with that.