Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

I’ve always enjoyed going places strange and unknown. Places that I have only ever read about in a book or seen on a map. Places with funny names that I repeat over and over until they just roll off the tip of my tongue. Quetzaltenango and Tortuguero, Darjeeling and Gyeongsangnam-do. Sometimes (often) there’s nothing particularly great about these places… but I don’t care.

To have dreamt about being in a place so foreign and far away, and to then actually be there…therein lies the beauty of it all

Who doesn’t want to make their dreams come true??

I’m fortunate to have traveled far and wide, through culturally and geographically diverse lands, over the past few years. And I happily look forward to broadening those horizons even further over the next year or so.

Everything has worked out so well for me, and honestly, it’s more luck than planning. However I’ve definitely learned a few things along the way that, whether good or bad at the time, have been blessings in disguise.

  • First of all, start as early as possible. It helps to have done and seen so many things and still be in your early 20’s when you’re set for a change. I first went to India and Bangladesh when I was 18. Naive and all as I was, especially in such an extremely different place, I survived — thrived even. I had to learn fast and it set me up for the next few adventures and experiences. Nothing since has ever been such a shock to the system.
  • Go to college. Even if after all your merry days of backpacking and exploring have left you dreading the thought of study, do it! I didn’t particularly like college, putting it lightly, and almost dropped out after a year (thank you father for your wise words). But now, after it’s all over and done I’m so glad I did it. Only for that piece of paper after three years, I couldn’t have come and worked here in Korea. That piece of paper gives me the option to return and continue if I so wish. Besides, university holidays are great and during those three years, I also went to the US, India, Cambodia, and plenty more places too. Fight to make it fit your plan, and work hard while you’re there.
  • Have a medium term plan including different tastes of freedom. For many people, if not the majority, the college life is freedom. For others the working life is freedom. Then there are people like me who attain freedom when escaping from all those distractions. Regards a medium term plan, I simply told myself, “you’ve got 5 years”. Obviously that was a rough guide, but the goal was to reach 28 and have a good idea of where I want to go. In those 5 years go work, play, learn, travel. But don’t be in the same position at 28 as you were at 23. Grow and get out of your comfort zone.
  • Experience a normal working life — earning money, having friends and daily routine. This is something I have learnt very recently. When I came to Korea and started working a regular 10 to 6 day, I struggled to do anything useful with my free time. I wasn’t used to having such structure in my day, and now I can’t imagine not having structure. I was an incredibly disorganized person with zero routine or habits. Experiencing a normal working life is invaluable in helping you figure yourself out, what you like and what you don’t like. It helps you become more efficient and flexible too. Going forward I would say its my time here that has taught me more about myself than anywhere else. It has also given me the confidence to know I can make a living for myself. But I’m not ready to settle yet, hence I’m leaving. But this time has been invaluable.

I’m going to leave everything I have now so I can go see all the places in this world that I really want to see. I have a checklist, a bag on my back and the will to make it work. I think that’s just about enough.

I said things have worked out for me more through luck than planning, but I gave them a chance, and will continue to do so. Whatever your dream is right now, make sure you at least give it a chance.

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