Hi! Ben here and today I thought I’d give some background on what made me want to travel and start sharing my experiences with other people in the first place. The first time I travelled was in the summer of 2011 and for someone who’s planning to travel around the world and write about it, it’s strange to think that I was actually pretty reluctant to travel when I first had the opportunity.
When I was first asked to go with a friend of mine on a trip around Europe, given the far less adventurous person I was at the time, my initial thoughts were something along the lines of ‘that sounds like far too much hard work and way too far out my comfort-zone for my liking!’ Thankfully I was put on the spot on the issue a few times so I caved and agreed to go.
As it turns out my first reaction to the idea of travelling was only half-wrong. It really wasn’t particularly hard work and whilst it was very far out of my particularly long occupied comfort zone, it turned out to be one of the most exciting and enlightening experiences of my life. Having rarely ever even been in the same room with someone from a country other than my own, I was suddenly thrown into the world of hostelling (this being our chosen variety of accommodation for the trip) and slept, lived and ate alongside people from all over the world. Talking to these people gave me just the briefest glance into the enormous amount of world that there is to see and experience and filled me with such awe and excitement.
After starting university I didn’t have much opportunity to travel, due to the lack of both time and money! I did manage a brief, ten day, trip to Spain in August 2013 and stayed in Madrid and San Sebastian. Whilst ten days probably can’t be considered travelling it did reaffirm that intense sense of excitement and the thrill associated with the freedom and exploration that came with visiting places foreign to me.
The best thing to come from university though was that I had the amazingly good fortune to be studying the same degree as Jess who, having been introduced to, I fell in love with very quickly. Since both of us had experienced a little travelling before we decided we wanted to travel more once we graduated and so booked our May trip to New Zealand earlier this year. Unlike myself Jess had not needed any encouragement to travel for the first time and had been much more active in organising her own trip with friends and so was very helpful to me in giving me the confidence to sooth over any remaining doubts (or laziness!) in my mind about travelling further.
My desire to travel was strengthened again at the beginning of this year. In February my dad was diagnosed with cancer and is currently fighting it. I can’t quite remember when but at some point between then and now I was asked the classic question ‘if you had an unlimited amount of money, time and resources and could do whatever you wanted with every day, what would you do?’ You can probably see where I’m going with this! The first thought that entered my mind without a moment of hesitation was that I would travel and see as much of the world as I possibly could in my lifetime. I think the mixture of my dad falling ill and having this thought made me truly realise that if I got to the end of my life without having travelled extensively I would regret it.
So despite the ‘deathbed regret’ cliché that’s really where I am at the moment with regard to my thoughts on travel and why I want to do so much of it. As for the exact reason that travelling excites me so much and why I feel the drive to do it I’m honestly not sure yet, perhaps this will be a future blog post when I work it out! But for now I’m looking forward to a great deal of future travel, starting on the other side of the world.
When it comes to me wanting to share my experiences, and as part of that starting this blog with Jess, I think that came again out of my dad’s situation and wanting to inspire people to do what they are passionate about and not find reasons not to do it. I wouldn’t for a moment suggest that I think everyone should spend their lives travelling as this is obviously not everyone’s goal, but I do believe that if you have a love or passion for something and it is truly what you want to do with your time then you should make every attempt to make sure you do plenty of it.
If there is such a thing as a takeaway message from all this it would be to, when presented with opportunities to step out of your comfort zone, ask yourself ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’ Now if the worst thing that could happen is mutilation followed by death and the coming of the apocalypse then maybe you should hold back a bit! But in my experience the worst that can happen is often pretty minor in the grand scheme of things so at least genuinely ask yourself the question and answer yourself honestly. The second message would be to spend as much of your time as possible doing things, and spending time with people, that make you truly happy to be alive.
I hope you enjoyed this post, leave a comment, let me know what you think and please do share any of your own thoughts on travelling, passions and life. Ben 🙂