Until a few years ago I hadn’t thought much about traveling. Not seriously, anyway. I was always fascinated with different cultures, countries, foods, and people. To me, traveling was what other people did. Students on gap years, people with money to go to exotic places, anyone but me.
In 2015 I decided I wanted to travel to Iraqi Kurdistan for a week. This may seem, and is indeed, a quite unusual destination, especially for someone who had never left the UK before. Aside from the fact I love the middle east and lesser traveled regions, I wanted to go because I thought to myself “If I can do this, there’s nothing I won’t be able to do”. I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety since my early teens and this was going to be the start of a new chapter in my life.
Alas, I wasn’t able to get my passport at that time so the idea slowly faded away. Many things happened over the next few years: Trump, Brexit, failed relationships, suicide attempts, and a myriad of other depressing uncertainties. I watched the unkind world reveal itself and I had little hope in anything. Sometime during all that, I stumbled across Mark Wiens and his food vlogs on YouTube. I had never seen anyone so happy to see a plate of food. I slowly became addicted to seeing what he was eating, the places he ate at, and how cheap the food was. That led me to research more about an interesting city on the other side of the planet: Bangkok, Thailand.
With cheap food, cheap rent, and a friendly, unique culture it seemed like the perfect place to live. Unfortunately, visa runs no longer work as successfully as they used to pre-2014. I can stay 60 days on a tourist visa but then I’d have to come back to the UK. It became clear to me that I didn’t want to live here any longer. I wasn’t happy with the direction the UK was going, and if the future was uncertain I’d at least want to follow my own path of uncertainty. I was even more confused and depressed by that point. Something so wonderful blocked by visa limitations... But I was determined to make it work.
I asked myself: “What do I want to do in this life?”. The answer was simple. I only have one life, and I want to live it. I want to experience it all. Here comes the discovery I made which turned everything around: Traveling Around The Globe With a Budget of $1000/Month, which I absolutely recommend you read after this post.
I must admit, I was skeptical. $1000? Right, but what about rent? Food? Flights? Electricity? Water? Internet? I was expecting a “gotcha!”, but $1000 is enough for all that providing you plan well and aren’t particularly materialistic. Many people who travel like this are called “Digital Nomads”. I wouldn’t feel particularly inclined to label myself as such, but the concept is the same: Travel the world and work online.
When I realized this could actually work, I noticed a change. I couldn’t figure out what it was. Weeks went by, researching, watching YouTube videos, creating spreadsheets. I kept wondering “Why am I feeling different than I usually do?”. Eventually, and after a lot of denial, I came to the conclusion that I was no longer living with constant depression. I had it for so long that I forgot what it felt like to live without it. That moment onwards is the next chapter of my life that I was waiting for.
Here I am today, writing this post, and looking forward to the future. If everything goes well, I’ll be South East Asia next year, living life and exploring what the world has to offer. The world is still cruel, depressing, and unfair, but I’m making it my mission to find the goodness and share it with everyone. I need to travel.