Update * It recently came to my attention that Michelle had been caught up in the terrible typhoon Haiyan that has ravaged the Philippines recently. The good news is that it appears that Michelle is safe, here is a link to a recent news story regarding her situation. My thoughts are with the thousands of people who were less fortunate and the families affected*
On some deep cellular level, I have always known I wanted this kind of life.
A life lived on the open road, nothing but daydreams and adventures to fulfill. One where I actually do all of those things I’ve ever wanted to do. The kind of life where you are free, one where anything is possible.
But that’s not the life society or your parents encourage you to have. You’re supposed to finish school, graduate university, get a decent job, and go overseas during your four week holidays once a year if you can get the time off. So I did all of those things.
I did all of those things knowing that one day I will take off into the unknown. But there was always something holding me back. I waited until I graduated, then I waited until I had a few years experience in my field of work so I would have a better chance of gaining employment overseas. I enjoyed my job and the industry I was in and made some amazing friends. I managed to create a good life for myself in Melbourne. I was happy. But there was a restlessness I couldn’t quite contain – my wanderlust.
So I devised a plan. A plan to see all of Southeast Asia in three months, cure my wanderlust, and go back to living the normal life I was supposed to live. Ha!
I’ve always had a love affair with travel books. I would flip through them, daydreaming of taking on the world someday, of living out some of the adventures suggested in these guide books. One day, I casually flipped to the back of my copy of Lonely Planet Southeast Asia on a Shoestring and my eyes widened at the publication date.
2008. Given that I had bought the book brand new and it was now 2013, that meant I had being harboring this travel dream for five years. Five years is a long time to lock away a dream that big, I thought. And it really hit me – three months isn’t going to “cure” me. I need to live nomadically. I need to live on the road permanently.
And so the story goes: I quit my job, sold everything I own, hugged my friends goodbye and left on a one-way ticket to Bali. I pulled out the security net from under myself, yet ironically, that’s when the restlessness quieted. I have been on the road just over a month, and so far I scaled a mountain, tried my moves on a surf board, partied until dawn with new friends, got attacked by a monkey amongst others. I found a new passion for SCUBA diving which, more than anything, is the one stand out so far that really made me come alive. It truly made me realise how new experiences can open up your world and add infinite value to your life.
The more you travel, the more you want to travel. The list gets longer, not shorter. Once you are on the open road, once you have tasted freedom it is really hard to let go of.
Right now, I am traveling off the money I saved during the lead up to my departure. But already I have set some plans in motion for keeping myself on the road permanently. I have no end date in mind, but am simply living in the present, spending time in places I love and moving on when I feel I am ready. I have no permanent address, no fixed plans.
The best part about all this is that my life is truly unpredictable. At any given time anything can change, including the possibility of putting down some roots somewhere, maybe even in a place I don’t even yet know about. Then again, maybe I’ll still be a traveling nomad ten years from now. Either way, I hope to still be learning, discovering and experiencing all that life has to offer.
I want to say a huge thank you to Michelle for sharing her inspirational story with us. If you would like to follow Michelle on her journey you can do so on her blog Lights Camera Travel. You can also follow her on twitter @seekingmichelle, Instagram Lightscameratravel and facebook lcttravelblog.