My small world
I grew up in a small town. I went to school in a small town. I acquired my degree in another small town, which was close to my small hometown. I then worked for a tech startup which was close to the small town which I studied in.
Everything was rosy in my small world. I was comfortable. I earned a decent salary. I got promoted. I received salary increases. To anyone looking at this from the outside–it would seem that I was making a success out of my life.
Personally I was very happy with the job. The nature of the company allowed me to be involved in all aspects of business–this was a great environment for continuous stimulation (something which I thrive one). I was positive, enthusiastic and brought energy with me to work. I have always been like this. I have always had a positive outlook on life. A positive outlook (for the most part) in everything I do.
However, there was something missing…
There was this urge inside of me. An urge to travel. An urge to break free of routine. This comfortable life. This monotonous life. Waking up. Going to work. Only to repeat the process the next day. I needed to get out of the small bubble that I was living in.
I cannot recall exactly when I got this feeling. To my knowledge, it was sometime during 2012. Sometime just after one year had passed since I started working. For the larger portion of this year, this urge remained inside of me.
So, I made the decision
I made the decision to follow my heart. I decided I would pack up and leave. I would travel solo and explore the world we live in. I, of course, needed some money so I started saving money each month. I cut down on certain expenses. I said no to certain events that friends organized. My goal was to hoard as much money as possible so I could get out of there.
The power of mental tattooing
I booked my flight well in advance. This is something I strongly suggest if you are travelling solo for the first time. By booking your flight in advance, it negates your urge to “chicken” out. Mental tattooing is a powerful tactic (thanks must go to Jonathan Mead for introducing me to this word). When the date is booked you have a timeline to work towards.
“Once You Make a Decision, the universe conspires to make it happen” – Ralph Emerson
I was fortunate to not have to use all my own money to fund my travels. During this period and especially as the day of my leaving grew closer, I found family and friends contributing. They saw what I was doing. They knew what I wanted and wanted to help me achieve my dream of travel.
Eventually, the day came
I departed Cape Town, South Africa via Johannesburg, on route to Germany. I spent some time with my brother and his girlfriend in Germany, the United States and Mexico, before departing to Thailand and New Zealand on my own for over a year. I also subsequently spent two weeks in Samoa.
There were ups and downs
It was an experience that I would never change. I met amazing people. I saw amazing places.
That being said there were some downs too. Nothing I couldn’t cope with, though. You’d be surprised at what you are capable of and what you can achieve when you put your mind to it. I remember one such down. My bank card got cloned. By the time I realized this, my entire account had been cleaned out, with withdrawals from ATM’s in Brazil.
You usually only hear of such stories, never imagining that it can happen to you. I made it work and, in fact, received all my money back within 7 days after liaising with my bank back home in South Africa.
All in all, travel transformed me in many ways, ways which I cannot even begin to explain. Indeed, travel will remain a big part of my life for years to come.
Reflecting back on my decision to travel.
Through reflecting on my decision to travel and the reasons for travelling, it all may seem quite obvious.
Sure I grew up in a small town and I wanted to get out of that bubble. Sure I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. Sure I wanted to see if I could cope on my own in a totally new environment. Sure I wanted to explore the world. Meet new people. See amazing places. And If I look back, I achieved all these things. However, these were all the logical reasons for me embarking on my travels.
My decision to travel was so much more than the above.
In the months after I returned home in 2015, I started to explore the question “What do I really want out of my life”. I started learning a lot more about myself. I discovered I was or rather I am a Multipotentialite.
I am by nature someone who craves new experiences. I crave adventure. My very personality as a multipotentialite dictates this.
When I get bored of something and a new interest arrives, I need to follow this urge. Follow this desire. Follow my heart.
So in many ways if I am asked why I traveled, I now not only list all the logical answers such as ‘to get out of my comfort zone’ and ‘explore the world’, but my answer also includes sub-conscious thought, which really at the time I was totally unaware of.
My decision to travel was instinctive. It was an urge I had inside, a gut feeling. I followed this feeling. I followed this urge and subconsciously I knew it was the right choice for me.
My decision to travel was in keeping with who I am as a multipotentialite. Who I am as someone who values adventure and freedom. Who I am as someone who values human connection. Who I am as someone who values inquisitiveness. I traveled (and will continue to travel) because travelling is in line with my identity and my values, it is in line with who I am as a person.
About Nick Darlington