Over the past few days, I have been enjoying Lauren Juliff’s ‘How Not to Travel the World’. I’d picked up an electronic copy a while back, but hadn’t gotten around to reading it, as it’s on my phone and I’m more of a paperback girl.
I’ve just checked on Amazon, and they do sell hard copies, so I may need to pick up another!
However, after a quick ‘google’ to see if there were any other travel bloggers with mental health illnesses, I stumbled across ‘Never Ending Footsteps’, and- in particular- a painfully honest blog post that resonated with my own experiences. Completely coincidentally, the author of that blog ended up being the same author as the book I’d picked up months earlier!
From then I’ve been hooked.
In it, she talks about how her push into long-term travelling came as a result of her hitting rock bottom. She had nothing to lose.
“It was hitting rock bottom that convinced me that I should leave anyway. When I looked at my life, I felt like a failure. I was living with my parents, my relationship was over, I was failing my classes and all but a few of my friends had moved on without me. I was miserable, broken and confused. What did I have to lose by leaving?”
It really made me think.
Honestly, I’m close: my career that I’ve chased for over a decade is falling apart in front of my eyes and my mental health is by far the worst it’s ever been. But there are still three things that keep me buoyed: my amazing husband, who is my absolute rock; my beautiful home, which is my sanctuary; and my fur baby, who I can’t imagine leaving for too long a period.
Despite this, so much of what she writes rings true: travelling allows me to feel a sense of normalcy that my work saps from me. I’ve said it before, and the cliché still stands. Travelling has a transformative effect on me- one that Lauren really had to work for, but that I’ve, thankfully, already been through the motions of.
“In that moment, I felt like just another traveller, making friends from around the world, napping on the beach, grinning as the cold Adriatic Sea tickled my toes and wondering why I’d ever been so scared. I felt normal.”
“For the first time, I felt like I’d slipped off the shackles of anxiety and taken a running jump into a world where fear didn’t rule my life”
Whilst she was new to travelling, being fresh out of University at the time the book is set, I’m creeping (faster than I might like!) towards thirty, have enjoyed mini-bouts of travel-style adventures and have an amazing support network that I am able to travel with.
And despite knowing all this, I still haven’t hit that point of no return.
Of course, the fact that we’ve thrown all of our money into our home, as an investment, doesn’t help with the ability to up sticks and relocate. Though, on the flip side, we have £30,000-worth of house paid off (as opposed to the cash-burning cash we’d been doing in rent for the previous eight years), that if we did hit rock bottom, we could access and flee.
We do, however, for the first time, have the beginnings of a legitimate plan.
Over the next few months we will continue to throw money at the mortgage, so that after we renew it in October, both the interest and our repayments will be lower, meaning that we can save more and- when it comes to it- rent it out and have a steady income whilst on the road.
We’re also starting to look more into places to visit, costings and ways to make money before and during our adventures. We certainly have a decent skill set between us. In the meantime, we have both Scotland and California to look forward to.
I’ll also update you with a complete review of the book, once I’ve finished the last half!
Keep your fingers crossed for us, and if you have any hints and tips, we’d really appreciate them!