When is the right time to leave everything behind and travel?
Defining the right moment to leave everything behind and travel was not easy at all. There will never be a right time.
"What if something happens to you?"
"... Aren't you scared? Why would you quit your job? Why are you going on your own?"
My friends bombarded me with questions about why I was leaving my life and flying to another country by myself.
But the only answer I could give was that I was bored. Bored of my routine, bored of my job, and bored of my life. I needed a change of perspective. I needed to step out of my comfort zone. I needed to travel...
Ever since I can remember, I've had a burning desire to see the world. The thought of being tied to a house contract, a job, or even having children scares the life out of me. I'm not ready, I'm too young, and most importantly, I want to travel. In truth, that's all I've ever wanted. Ever since I was a kid, I've had a longing for freedom. And to this day, whenever people ask what I want to do, I can only ever say: travel.
"I have to go and I have to go alone", I'd tell them.
But no one could understand why I wanted to travel alone. I tried to explain that I didn't want to compromise my time and interests. I wanted to have the freedom to travel the way I wanted to; to fulfill my unique goals and dreams and not have to adjust to someone else's schedule and expectations.
But when is the right time?
When is the the perfect time to leave everything behind; to quit your job, say goodbye to your family and friends, miss birthdays and weddings, and book a one-way ticket and fly across the world... alone?
When is the right time to go traveling alone for the first time?
For some people, that's never.
In my case, I had a message from the Universe. It was July and I received a text from my landlord informing me that he wasn't going to renew my rental contract once it ended in October.
I spent an hour panicking and wondering what I was going to do, when suddenly it was obvious — book a one-way ticket, quit your job and start traveling!
I did some research and realized that by doing a work exchange, I'd be able to travel to my dream destinations and spend much less than I was on my monthly rent in the UK.
My mind was set. I became a Worldpackers Verified Member, gave my notice at work, and eagerly waited for my final paycheck — just one month away.
In the meantime, I searched the app for exchange experiences around the world and narrowed my options down to four hosts. As soon as I had my first response, I bought a one-way ticket to Portugal and was on my way to my first Worldpackers travel experience.
My first day I arrived I went exploring and stumbled across a huge old fort — The Fort of São Pedro do Estoril. It was my first real feel for solo travel.
As I reached the top of the fort to the lookout I was taken aback. The views were incredible... just miles and miles of the ocean. And there it was; the sense of freedom I'd always been craving.
The following day I packed my bag for the day and headed to Cascais.
"Table for one please."
As the waiter led me to my table, I began to feel lonely. I started to wonder if traveling solo was a good idea after all.
Then I remembered my intention for traveling. I remembered that I was doing this trip for myself, and that I was worthy of enjoying it... including the lonely moments. I placed my order and sat contemplating my life. I felt truly blessed, and happy in my solitude.
Since then, I've met a lot of many amazing people. Many of them I'll never see again.
But for me, that's the beauty of traveling. You meet new people, learn about them, and trust in the greater energy that brought you both to the exact same place at the same time. Everyone has something to offer, something to teach you.
Some you'll love, some you can't wait to get away from, some you’ll keep in contact with and most you'll never speak to again.
"I wish I traveled when I had the chance, I'm too old, I have a baby now."
While on the road, I constantly heard these words from people I spoke to and my friends back home. Every time, it emboldened me. It made me even more confident in my choice to leave it all behind and find out what the Universe had in store.
Going solo was so important for me. I needed time for myself; I needed to grow and learn and put myself outside of my comfort zone to become stronger as a person, more self-aware, more confident.
Staying safe while traveling alone is the most important thing ever — especially being female!
This doesn't mean not having fun or exploring. It means being aware of your surroundings, not drinking too much when you go out, not telling strangers that you're traveling by yourself, not going with people you don't know, and finally... always following your gut.
If something doesn't feel right to you, run. Get out of that situation as quickly as possible. It could be harmless but it's never worth the risk.
My advice to you would be... just go.
The time will never be right, you'll never feel like you have enough money, you'll always tell yourself that you need to save money or take care of something first... and then life happens.
And before you know it years have passed and you'll wish you done it sooner.
Go while you have the opportunity.
Take what money you have and see the world. Use Worldpackers experiences to take your budget further and travel longer. Life is short and the world is big. Experience life and make it an amazing story to tell.