Hi I’m Giles,
I wasn’t always the dare-devil skydiving enthusiast you see above you… I used to be this guy, working in sales (not with the shades on, that was just for a joke… I wasn’t that bad…)
Before I travelled I always loved anything travel related, seeing and reading about all these people who did incredible things and made incredible journeys, but it always seemed a bit farfetched to me… I was just a relatively normal guy who had never really done any proper travelling outside of Europe for a couple of weeks (see the baby faced, large haired 18 year old below). Travelling solo in Asia, South America or Africa? I wouldn’t know where to start.
I had a great job in a great company. By great company I don’t mean CV great, I mean it was fun to work there and I was around really great people. It was the kind of place where there floors were covered in fake grass, people wore shorts and flip flops into work regularly, and where having a weekly ‘biscuit club’ (in which we took 15 minutes out of our day to meticulously rate biscuits alongside a cup of tea) was completely acceptable. My hours were good, I enjoyed my job, had friends in London, and some money in the bank. Happy days right?
The thing was, I looked ahead at what my future would hold. I was still aggressively single and tinder had depressed me into submission. I spent all my spare time watching Netflix, my friends (and me if I’m honest) either too far away or tired and lazy from work to want to do things a lot of the time, and essentially I just wasn’t happy.
I could see my next five years ahead of me and thought OK what does me carrying on working where I am mean? A slightly bigger place? A bigger TV and more stuff? A better role on my CV? I didn’t need any of these things, I longed for something more. So I turned where people often do in these moments of soul searching and mysterious un-fulfilment, travel.
Now this decision wasn’t sudden, I’d dipped my toe in the water by travelling with Contiki for two weeks in the States the year previously (see above) and had got a bit of a taste for it. The thing was, in just that 2 weeks I realised I had experienced more and lived more than I felt I had in the last 6 months… So I made my mind up I was going to do it, and a few months later I handed in my 3 month notice and started planning my trip.
I viewed this trip as my once in a lifetime trip, I wanted to do as much as possible in case this was my only chance. I decided to experience all sorts of ways of travelling: solo; with friends; in tour groups; hostels, hotels and home stays (the majority of these weren’t actually planned); and countries ranging in culture, wealth and history. I also did it in a way which to me was playing it safe. So I went to 18 countries and ended up flying around the world in the process, through Canada, Asia, Australasia and the Pacific then Africa. Essentially a massive mixed bag of countries, people and experiences.
Importantly I was allowed to get out of the rat race bubble I’d ended up in by doing what was expected of me, and actually have time to think for myself what I wanted. What did I want to do with my life, where did I want to be, who did I want to be?
If there is one thing that has stuck with me, it’s this. Out of all the people I spoke to that have ever travelled, not one single person has said they regretted it, ever. Not one. The most common two phrases (or similar) were either from people who had saying it was the best decision they ever made, or from people they hadn’t saying they wished they could.
So here it is, my attempt to try and inspire some of you to follow in my footsteps and travel. Hopefully I can prove how worthwhile it is and show how anyone, can do it and should do it.
Thanks for reading,