An Epic Journey

IT is a few weeks since my notice was handed in at work and the upcoming trip around Africa became public knowledge.

Time has been spent working, drawing up to-do lists (a master trip plan, a kit list and my regular, ongoing list, plus a schedule for this site), getting this site fully up and running again (and, annoyingly, getting back into it after being locked out) and answering any number of questions.

And not enough time (well, barely any) doing the twin aims which should be writ large in capital letters at the top of every list – get fit and lose weight.

The questions have varied from the incredulous – “What are you doing?”, “No, seriously, what are you doing? – to the inquisitive: “Where are you going?”, “Is that safe?”, “Where are you sleeping?”, “No, seriously, what are you doing?” and variations on a theme.

But one questions keeps popping up: “What are you going to do when you get back?”.

This has happened before, having followed a similar pattern ahead of the last time the urge to travel won out over the need to earn money and concentrate on a career.

Four years ago, it was a senior production role on the sports desk of a group of newspapers in Wales that was sacrificed for a London to New York overland trip and there was no answer to that question.

To be honest, the only idea was to come back and see what jobs were going in journalism, possibly back in the same office.

But the freedom of travelling seemed to fit with not worrying too much about all that and going with the flow.

And, over the past three or so years, that flow has carried me to some unexpected places before heading back into journalism and another looming trip, especially as the plan on arriving back from travel was to head off again as soon as possible – certainly not to wait this long for another trip.

Ironically, one of the main things preventing more travel was getting a job in  travel, which morphed into co-founding an overland travel company (more of which in future posts).

And that is why there is no real answer to what the plan is when the Trans Africa trip is over.

By then, the travel bug could have been well and truly cured. Or there’s another overland journey catching my eye a few months later. Or (and if any travel editors are reading, hello) this travel writing lark might actually have turned into a way to earn a living.

Or it might be time to settle down and get back to being more serious about my career. Who knows?

What is clear is that, with the exceptions of that need to get fit and lose weight, there’s remarkably little worrying me about the decision to quit my job and travelling. Again.

There were no regrets last time, as revealed in an interview with Emily-Ann Elliott from the grownupgapyear,com website on the decision to take a sabbatical or quit your job a while back, and at the moment there’s none this time.

Sure a few moments of uncertainty may pop up between now and our departure seven months today, but there’ just too much to look forward to for them to take hold in a major way.

Anyway, I’ll be too busy down the gym…


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