How I Overcame My Life to Travel

My personal story of why I travelled, when I travelled and what I had to share.

Joel Brown
Nov 1, 2019 · 5 min read
Godley Head, New Zealand — Source: Author

At the end of the year 2000, I decided that it was time to move on from my school studies and head into the workforce. I was 17 years old and although I had travelled somewhat often, it was not far or varied.

At the time I lived in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia and had not ventured very far at all. The furthest north was to Bundaberg, a trip that I was to young to remember. While the furthest South was to the capital of Australia, Canberra.

In total visiting just three of the eight states or territories in Australia. As a family, we would travel somewhat often. Mostly weekends fo the Gold Coast or maybe three or four longer trips per year. Most of these were to Coffs Harbour to visit family in Coffs Harbour during school holidays.

Getting To Work

I could not leave school and just expect to go about life, the next step was, of course, to find a job. The process was not exactly easy, but with a little help managed to start my first job around mid-2001.

A Choice To Work

I progressed through a series of different jobs and my own business. My choice was to get my head down and work, and that is just what I kept on doing.

Eventually, towards the end of 2006, I found a job that seemed to stick. Well at the time I did not know it, but it would become the longest time I have worked for one company in my life.

Initially, in this job, I was employed as a casual and it was reasonably easy. I was making good money in part thanks to the only downside of the job. It was nightshift, not my favourite time to be working, but that also leads to a higher pay rate.

It was not long before the 15–25 hours I would work as a casual increased. I moved into a permanent part-time role and the hours increased. At some points, the hours end up close to 60+ per week, entirely at night.

The only plus to the number of hours I was working is that I would be paid for every hour. Plus loadings and overtime as it was appropriate. Being permanent part-time, I also enjoyed accruing leave entitlements.

The leave entitlements are where I came unstuck. There was a company policy that allowed the entitlements to paid out instead of actually being used. Something I thought was a good idea to take advantage of because it meant more income. Totally ignoring the fact that everyone needs a holiday at some point.

Working To Much

Between when I started the job in 2006 and early 2010, I maintained a gruelling schedule. A large part of this time I worked 40–55 hours per week, 52 weeks of the year.

I did have occasional days off, but they were rare. I believe that I likely was able to maintain this momentum due to the job not being very physical. It was a much more intellectual job that saw me sitting down a lot. But whether a job is physical or intellectual, the consistent night shift eventually takes its toll. Especially when you forego holiday breaks.

A Well Needed Holiday

I cannot remember what it was that caused something to trigger in me, but in early 2010 I decided I needed a holiday. I booked a week of annual leave and with less than two weeks before that time I had to decide what I would do.

In that short time to plan, I booked flights to Melbourne and a hotel and on the 20th of March, 2010 set off on my first adventure. At the age of 26, it does feel a little weird to be saying this was my first ever trip away by myself.

But that is what happens when you make a specific series of choices. you find yourself going from 17 to 26 with nothing but an endless series of work weeks to show for it.

That trip to Melbourne was absolutely something that I needed. While I had absolutely no plans when I left home, I had an amazing week. I travelled further than I ever had in my life and saw some truly amazing new experiences.

The Choice To Blog

As I was planning my trip, it might come as no surprise that friends and family were quite interested to hear about my trip. Blogging is something that I had been doing in various forms for a couple of years. However, it was very unfocused and not really succeeding for me.

I finally identified that this might be an outlet for something to blog about. That sounded like a great idea and in the month of March 2010 I contributed my first 11 blog posts to what would become my travel blog. I shared some 6,000 words and over 50 images from the trip.

The feedback I received from friends and family was very positive around what I had shared. But there was one little problem, after the trip, I had little if anything to share. There was one post in April and another in July 2010. I had this problem that when I did not travel, I did not know what to blog about.

Travelling & Blogging More

The only answer to having nothing to share in a blog is to travel more. However, my second attempt at that did not work out all that great.

I have not shared much if anything about another week I took off work in June 2010 to travel. Even though I wanted to spend the time exploring by road, I end up away from home for just two nights. When I stayed in a hotel somewhere I had been many times before just 60km from home on the Gold Coast.

Finally, things changed in September 2010, when I had very much had enough of work. It got to a point where I looked at the available time for leave and took as much as I could as soon as I could.

I gave myself just four weeks to book some six weeks of travelling. I got everything booked and in the following two months published another 29 blog posts of my travels.

The only problem, I again returned home again and shred nothing for the next four months. Which in the end has been something of a recurring theme with my travel blog.

But in the end, I did do some more travel and shared all of it via my blog along the way. Visiting some 35 countries, 93 days on cruise ships, and over 50 flights. With the travel directly or indirectly resulting in 393 blog posts, 371,000 words and almost 2,000 images.

I’m Not Finished Yet

The biggest problem that keeps reappearing for me is that I don’t blog consistently when I am not travelling. I completed four rather major overseas trips between 2010 and 2012. There have also been a number of shorter trips to New Zealand and local Australia destinations.

But what I would really like is to be able to do some more extended trips. However, they are things that do require money to enable and that is something I am working on earning at the moment. Hopefully, one day if I can overcome the inconsistencies of blogging it may be able to help me afford the trips I want to complete.

Joel Brown

Written by

Creator of Travel Explored — Topics I enjoy are Travel, Walking, Photography, Motivation, Business and Inspiration.

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