Traveling around the world is something many people dream about doing. Friends and family expressed their amazement that I was going and wondered how I had managed to pull it off.
In 2008, the perfect storm of opportunity had arisen for me. I was finally done with higher education. I had a decent amount of savings. I was working at a contract job. I was as free from responsibilities as I was ever going to be. The only obligation I had to meet was my monthly student loan repayment. This made the decision to go for it really easy. So I went.
In many ways, it was just that simple. Everything else was just part of the plan, another step towards the goal of departure. I devoured travel guidebooks and articles online. I pored over maps plotting different itineraries. I made plans to travel different legs of the trip with different friends along the way and got in touch with friends and family living overseas to fit visits in along the way. The decision that I was going to go had been the hardest part.
There were a few key moments where I had to reinforce my decision to travel around the world with some concrete action:
Buying the Ticket.
This was an amazing and expensive moment when I pulled out my credit card and handed it over to the travel agent. $CHA-CHING$! I had never spent so much money for one purchase before in my life (not even my outrageous annual tuition fees for university). I am prone to buyer’s remorse. Buying my RTW ticket was no different. I had a tiny heart attack as the agent swiped my card. While the cost certainly set the butterflies in motion in my stomach, I was even more excited and panicked because in this moment I realized I was really going.
Quitting the Job.
Cutting myself off from a steady source of income was not an easy decision. I am sure there are people who ditch their jobs and never look back. I am not one of them. Maybe it would have been easier if I had hated my job, but I had landed a decent-paying and fulfilling job. Plus, I had never quit a job before. It came time to hand in my two weeks notice. I started to over-think and my conscience was not giving me a moment’s peace over resigning. Fortune interrupted while I was on my way to talk to my boss. I got a call from my friend in Israel,who announced she was overhauling her own life plans. Her resolve gave me some desperately needed perspective. I handed in a polite letter of resignation and gave sincere thanks for the experience to my boss. His reaction was surprising: he thanked me for all my work and wished me a wonderful experience.
Boarding the Plane.
Once you board a plane, you commit. Up until that point, my trip around the world had seemed like a cool story I made up to make myself sound more interesting. I had been so busy wrapping up my job and sorting out an astonishing number of things to do before I leave that the fact that I was going on an amazing trip for a very long time had not fully registered. I suspected I would spontaneously combust from anxiety when I got on the plane.
Thankfully I did not, and lived on to board many planes and travel to many places.