The following is a guest post I wrote for Jason from Travel on Inspiration. Jason has started his blog to keep him (and others) inspired while he is saving for his own adventure around the world. He asked me to write this guest post on how we first became inspired to go on this journey. You can read my response below.
Having a Spanish father and Dutch mother, my parents already shipped me to my grandparents’ home in the north of Spain (Asturias) every summer from when I was only 1 year old. Although limited to Belgium, France and Spain I can say I had some travel experience at an early age. We visited my grandparents’ every summer so the list of countries didn’t expand for a while. From when I was 17 years old I started spending the summer holidays with friends and the European “Interrail” Rail Pass brought me to Italy, Greece, Turkey and the touristy side of Spain. Though partying was high on the agenda in those summers, I was also hugely interested in exploring new places.
And although I went on my first non-European trip to New Zealand in 2000, travelling truly became a main subject after I met my girlfriend, Carina, 9 years ago. When we met it was clear from the start that we shared a passion for travelling. In the first few years we explored different parts of Europe by 3 to 4-week road trips in summer, using a tent as our home. One year to Scandinavia visiting Denmark, the fjords of Norway and the Swedish capital Stockholm and another year to Switzerland, Italy and the beautiful island of Corsica. A visit to the Sziget festival in Budapest ended up in a tour around Hungary and Slovenia (with a couple of days in Venice too).
But the event that led to the big journey we’re about to start is our Indochina trip in the end of 2008. After the numerous European trips we decided it was time to explore some other parts of the world. So we headed for Asia. And while convinced we were really “roughing it” with our 6-week backpacking trip we soon met lots of fellow travellers on a 3-month or year-long trip. Compared to that we were just on a holiday. An extended one, but still. Our trip through Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam was memorable but we both knew by then that we really wanted to go travelling long-term. Being able to stay in one place for weeks instead of days, having the time to visit more remote places, connect with people and maybe even “live” in a place for a while. To get into such a gypsy lifestyle strongly appealed to us.
So we decided to make our dream come true. We made a plan on how much money we could save and how much we would need per month. This was in the summer of 2009. The journey was born. It wasn’t too difficult to stick to our savings plan. We still went on holidays to Thailand, Bali and Italy, took our yearly snowboarding trip and spend several weekends in European cities. Apparently we simply couldn’t live 4 years without travelling 🙂
And now we’re almost there. Only 5 weeks to go! We’re planning to travel slow and overland (and sea) as much as possible and try not to plan too much ahead. Allowing us to stay longer in one place if we like it or move on if we don’t. Without being dictated by the next flight or some other advance booking. We know travelling overland won’t always be possible and sometimes it’s just smarter to hop on a cheap flight instead of a 20-hour local bus experience. But travelling slow and taking our time is the travel style we have in mind. I have crafted a master travel plan to give it some direction but we are fully flexible on that. For sure it will change a lot along the way. After all – that’s part of the fun! At this moment we know that Croatia is our first destination and after that we move on to Istanbul.
I think that the journey we’re about to embark on isn’t only a big adventure on the outside but on the inside too. We feel that it’s going to be a life changing event. We have never been on a journey like this. I have no idea where it will lead us. We certainly have planned to come back. I have a job I can return to and we still own a house. But is it possible to go back to a regular 9-to-5 job at the office after living the free life for 2 years? Maybe this journey is the start of a new location-independent lifestyle. We don’t know, that’s something we have to explore too. Plans and perceptions change over time so we like to keep an open mind. See what opportunities will arise and just go with the flow. Because it’s probably all written in the stars 🙂