When I saw that The Planet D were looking for inspirational stories about travelling and how the experience has helped shaped people’s lives, I immediately thought about my own travels and whether or not I could express accurately how the experience affected me. It has taken a few drafts but I think (and hope) I have managed to communicate how spending just under a year living out of a backpack has given my life a direction it so sorely needed!
by Ricky Durrance
Like most people who frequent travel blogs as readers, visitors or bloggers, I spent a certain time abroad exploring different regions of the world after finishing university. Prior to this trip, I was what we in my country call a “Little Englander.” I rarely left these shores, apart from the odd cheap all inclusive holiday with friends and family to Greece, Spain and alike (think Karl Pilkington, just with more hair and a less grumpy outlook on life!) Going abroad never really appealed to me that much – that was until I was persuaded to join my friends on a round the world trip that seemed to be a lot more appealing than carrying on with a dead end job in central London.
So off I went. Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, USA and New Zealand – in little under a year I visited more places than I previously had in my whole life. But here is the crux of the issue. Unlike some people, I did not have a one single moment that stands out as a life changing experience. Of course there were moments – visiting an orphanage in Cambodia; having a beer with a man and his wife who were planning on spending seven years living and exploring the Australian outback; spending 36 hours travelling through Malaysia on every mode of transport possible. All great memories which have, to some extent, shaped my outlook on life. At the same time, though, I didn’t think about how these experiences were shaping me as a person. As far as I was concerned, I was a long way from home with a group of mates, having a laugh.
However, what I did take away did not become apparent until a few years after I returned. Travelling had inadvertently given me a purpose in life – a direction I badly needed. Being location independent is not something I could ever commit too – I would miss the comforts of home, my friends and family far too much. But just because I am no longer a traveller does not mean I do not love talking, writing, tweeting and researching everything to do with travel.
Before and after university I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. As a history graduate, I quickly came to the conclusion that the chances of me becoming a history professor were relatively low. After a few meaningless jobs and failed ventures, it hit me. What could be better than interacting with, writing for and developing relationships with the sort of people I have met and greatly admire? What I also find extremely rewarding is helping the ordinary holidaymaker find a holiday, just a week or two here or there, that will appeal to them. Not everyone is a traveller; in fact the vast majority are not. But this does not mean that the average person who goes abroad for a break from work does not love travelling – they just prefer to do it a bit differently to the travel blogging community!
Travelling has done much more than just providing me with a few experiences. It opened up a whole world that will ultimately shape my career and day to day life. Just think, if I had stayed at home – what would I be doing now?
This is an ongoing series of inspiring stories from intrepid travellers around the world. If you have an experience in travel that changed your life, made you look at the world differently or an amazing moment that you want to share, please contact us for more details and we will email you right back.. You can also read more about submitting an article to this series at Calling All Writers, Share your Inspirational Travel StoryRead More Inspirational Stories