The first time I thought it would be amazing to backpack around the world was back when I was 21. I had spent 7 weeks in the UK and Europe and thought it would be amazing to do that for a full year around the entire globe. Then I wondered how I could do that, ya know, afford to do it for a year. I could not fathom it so I put the idea on the back burner and just traveled to destinations that I received discounts on through the travel agency I worked at. It sufficed and once in awhile I would have the RTW dream filter in. I put it out of my head as quickly as it came, because in reality I could not do it. I had only heard of a few people, those wild adventurers, that could make it happen. Those people who, I thought, had a nice chunk of money and no commitments. Not me…someone who hasn’t even been camping (which apparently is a sacrilege for a Canadian) let alone traverse the world alone and not too wise about saving money. It just wasn’t going to happen. Though I still liked the idea and dreamed of it happening.
Years passed and I went on with my life, as it goes for everyone. Soon, especially with the Internet I began to learn that it is possible to travel around the world, be safe and do it on a shoestring budget. Others have done before me and many will continue after me. So I began to think that perhaps, one day, I could do this trip. But again, I wondered “how can I afford it?” I wasn’t the smartest with money and still spent my money on those discount tourist trips that were presented to me at work. “I guess that will do and maybe one day I can live my dream.” It just wasn’t practical now, I mean who leaves their job for a year?
Then something unexpected happened….I was laid off. Yep, laid off after 10 + years. It was a shock but something that, in the end, was what I needed. The Universe gave me a swift kick in the pants after I decided I wanted to move to Vancouver but did not want to move until I had a job (I like security). So off I went to Vancouver in hopes of finding a great travel job. Or an office assistant job. Or retail. Or a life of crime….wait, can’t do that cause I’d have problems traveling. Needless to say I was an unemployed bum for about an year. Actually, an underemployed bum as I did have a part time job (15 hours/week) in the afternoons but nothing that could support me living in Vancouver. Moving back to Thunder Bay was not an option. I loved Vancouver too much (even though I was losing money and getting into debt). Travelling was now definitely out of the picture.
One day my sister send me an email saying she was coming to visit (YAY!!) and did I want to look online for a massage school, as she had heard that they offer discounted massages. WHAT?!?! Massage schools??? In Vancouver?? Why had nobody told me this?? Had I not said years before that if I was to switch professions that I wanted to become an RMT?! It was like the Universe dropped a gift right in my lap. So I did a search, found a school, booked us an appointment and also requested a student information packet. The wheels were turning in my brain and I seriously considered going back to school. After careful consideration, talking with my family and close friends and going to meet the school admins, I applied. And I was accepted!! Now this is where it gets a bit more relevant to my RTW dream.
So there I am, sitting in class, about two thirds through the program. We are learning more a bit about the business end of massage and types of clinics and jobs available. And here comes the best part: “If you’d like to take time off you can hire a locum that pays your rent, treats your patients and when you return it’s right where you left off.” WHAT?! I can take time off and not mess up my career? Yes you can. It happens all the time (mainly with maternity leaves) but it’s possible. OMG!!!! My dream can come true!!! I can actually take a year off. WOOOOOOOOO!!
And that is about as far as I’ve come. I know it’s a very real REAL possibility. I’ve been shown I can do this. So why haven’t I?
Why haven’t I? Well there are some practical, real reasons. Or are they excuses?
Well here comes the part that I don’t like talking about: MONEY. Now, I am of the mind that my money and earnings are my business (and Revenue Canada’s) just as your money and earnings are your business. I do not like to discuss what I earn/have etc with anyone. Yes, we all have money conversations and stuff. I get that. What I do not like is specifics. I had a fellow RMT once ask me what I earned a year and I flat out told her I was not comfortable telling her (or anyone) that. It’s not her concern and vice versa. So that is why I am finding writing this part a bit difficult, even if I am not going too much into it. But it’s plays into my future so I’m mentioning it. I also want to put any reasons/excuses out there and let them go so I can see how the Universe will help in achieving my dream.
Like most people, I have debt. And a fairly big amount of it. And not good debt. Yuck! Furthermore, I am not one who wants to incur further debt or get into trouble by avoiding payments while a I traipse around the world. So I figure that I not only have to save enough money to go around the world but also have enough to make my debt payments. On top of that, I have to make mandatory tax installments even though I won’t be working for a year (a requirement of me being self-employed). So, needless to say, I am daunted by how much money I need to save before I leave. I fear that I won’t be able to do it or that by the time I do it I’ll be an old fart.
Another reason/excuse is I’m freaked out by this lifelong dream. More precisely, what if I can’t do it? What if all my talk is just that…just talk? Somehow I think that once I get close to saving enough, having the gear and cleared out the stuff I own that I will freeze and not do a thing. So perhaps I sabotage myself or make excuses because I don’t have faith in myself. Think about it. I intend to leave work for a year, sell most of my possessions, bid goodbye to my family and friends and go off into the unknown. Every other trip I’ve ever taken I’ve always come back to everything: A job, a home, a routine, friends and family. Once this trip is done I will have to find a job, a home, furniture, a routine (at least family and friends will still be there). What about when I’m on the road. What if I have problems crossing a border? What if I get sick? Will I be too tired from it all to really enjoy myself? I hear so much about how so many others have had great times traveling but I think perhaps that won’t happen to me. Again, not too much faith in myself. So I distract myself – with all the social invites and engagements. Things to do, people to see and money to spend. It’s like I’ve created a cycle.
So that is the “negative” excuses side. Honestly, it has a huge effect on me. Otherwise I’d of gone and returned by now. There is another part that has a huge effect as well. One that I want to nuture and over take the fear and excuses. It’s the one thing that I believe keeps people going: HOPE. The hope of fufilling my life’s dream. The hope that I can save enough money. The hope of leaving work for a year, selling most of my possessions, bidding goodbye to my family and friends and going off into the unknown. The longing and desire to give up my life and “see the world” is there and has been for a long time. It gives ME hope. Perhaps it’s this hope that now has me realizing that I have to set a date. I don’t know why I am focusing on this now more than before but I am. I have been in the same spot for some time now and need to move ahead. Some events have happened recently that got me thinking. I do not want to regret NOT going. Maybe that is why I am focusing more now than previously.
So that brings me to my future, which has me tearing up as I write this. Probably because I am both afraid of failing and succeeding. I am probably tearing up to because I am hopeful that this will all come to fruition. I am going to do my part best I can and leave the rest up to the Universe. So, what is the future? It’s picking the date. I have been told more than once in the last several months to “Pick a date because then it’s a goal. If you don’t, it just a dream.”
So I have picked my date. When it rolls around and if I’m not quite where I need to be I will make a new date but only a few months ahead. Yeah I know. It sounds like I’m giving myself an out. It’s not that. It is because part of me does believe things happen when they should (and for a reason). So should I not make it for my date then I will adjust and keep going. As Confucius says “It does not matter how slow you go, so long as you do not stop.”
So here it is: I will start my RTW trip on July 1, 2013. That’s just under a year. A year to plan for a year way. It’s also my favourite holiday (Canada Day). A great day to start living my dream. I will do my part, the Universe will do its and you get to hold me to it.