Like most enterprising kids I began working part time at 13, it started off with a paper round, then dog walking after school, pot washing in the evenings at the local pub and finally onto waitressing at the training college.
In fact the only year I haven’t worked since was in the final year of my Bachelors degree when I lived off veg boxes organised by my Mum and my student loan/grant.
The travel bug got me
It was at university that I caught the “travel bug”. As part of my course I’d opted to spend a year in industry, I ended up working for an accountancy firm just as the recession hit. Most weeks I had nothing to do aside from filing. I’d nap in my car, spend hours window shopping on the internet while drinking ten cups of tea a day. When the opportunity to spend the summer in Argentina came up I booked my flights and got the hell out of there.
Living in Argentina opened up my eyes to an amazing new world and sparked an insatiable interest in travel. I knew I’d never be able to “settle down” in the traditional sense without going travelling again first.
But you’re 29 and you’ve still not been!?
What can I say, being in full time work has kinda hindered my big-time travel ambitions.
Aside from holidays I’ve had two short periods of leave; the first was an intentional 5 week gap in 2013 between switching employers (I thought I was going to set my mind to learning all sorts of interesting new things but ended up on a spontaneous trip to Ibiza and spent the rest of my time binge-watching Netflix), and the second to spend three weeks in New Zealand visiting my little sister in 2015.
Yet despite my unwavering urge to pack my things and jet, I have been for one reason or another still living the 9-5, Monday to Friday.
Committing to my sport
By 2016 I was becoming increasingly agitated. Chris and I had a small amount of cash put to one side that we’d earmarked for our house deposit, but we’d just had to sign a 6 month lease for a room in East London; our rough plan was to leave in December once the lease ended to work abroad….But then on the 26th July 2016 the game changed again.
I had news that I’d been picked to represent my team Surrey Starlets at the World Cheerleading Championships. I was overjoyed, it’s still hard to find the words to explain how much this opportunity has meant to me (more on that in another blog soon) but it also meant our plan was delayed. Committing to compete at Worlds meant I’d be in the UK until at least July 2017, and then I’d be “free to leave”.
It was a commitment I wholeheartedly made and have never regretted. Travelling would have to wait.
Re-assessing our options
In November, as our lease came to an end we re-assessed our options. We’d done incredibly well up to that point to add cash to our house deposit and now didn’t want to touch it.
After doing some initial research on the cost of where we wanted to go and for how long, and adding in the fact all of my work projects would end in November the following year, it became clear that a year-long plan would work really well so we set our departure month as December 2017.
We’d have about £15k in the travel pot without dipping into our house deposit, and I’d be leaving at the best time to hand over to my work replacement. Perfect.
If you’re still with me at this point I am sure many of you will have thought but you could have gone on numerous holidays or left whenever you pleased! And I am sure you are right. I could have but I didn’t, life got in the way, you know?
But it’s ok, we’ve got a date! On the 5th December 2017 with £15k (hopefully) in my back pocket our new journey will begin.