I will start with something not that surprising – I really like travelling. You may ask: who doesn’t?
I don’t know too many people who say no to going to the country they haven’t been before, hang around here and there, take a couple of selfies #paradise, sweat the stress out on the beach or getting dirty when hiking.
But then, after 2 or 3 weeks (if you are lucky), all of it ends and suddenly you come back to… daily routine.
Sounds like the standard holiday, doesn’t it?
More and more people decide to go on long-term travel and everyone does it for different reasons. For some, it’s burnout, broken heart, the need to change something in their lives, or a desire to experience an adventure. All the rest dream about such a journey, but they never go for it. There are even more reasons for that and they deserve a separate article. Some are ridiculous and serve as excuses to mask what we really feel. Fear of leaving our comfort zone.
I could never stand boarding the plane back home with that disappointment in my head. Is it really finished already? Do I really have to wait another couple of months to feel the excitement that comes with travel preparation?
Many people enjoy the routine. It gives them the level of security that they need. What will happen tomorrow? Just another day in the office, colleagues bitching around about deadlines, back home, eat, sleep, repeat. Maybe you could fit Netflix somewhere in between. Some say: “shitty but stable“.
That’s the way most people follow and so did I until I made my mind to stop postponing dreams for later. I was 28 years old, finishing my 1-year work assignment in Germany, being tired of corporate life and without any big plans what to do next. Hard to imagine a better moment for some serious decisions, isn’t it?
So I started to check the ground and asked my boss how about I take unpaid leave for a couple of months. To be precise: 10 months.
Back then I asked it more in a joking way, but the response was positive, so I kept digging the topic further. At some point my excitement was so huge that I knew, with or without unpaid leave, I will do it.
I will go for long-term travel.
Big corporations have one thing in common (well, there is more but only one was relevant for me back then) – they usually don’t disappear from one day to another, so you always can hire yourself back if not in the same one, then another. Not much difference anyway. Luckily, after a short time I had the green light from my employer, that, of course, gave me peace of mind what I will do if something goes wrong on the way. I could basically come back anytime to my old job in Gdansk.
The big question appeared shortly after – where to go?! Having such a long time, I wanted to go to places that I cannot easily visit Europe for a regular holiday. Two options appeared in my mind and the battle started: South America vs. Australia & Oceania.
My usual problem is that I always want to go everywhere and see everything. I don’t like to just drop by to 2-3 major tourist attractions in a certain country and move on to the next one. I bought a one-way ticket to Auckland, New Zealand. Planning to spend there 3 months, meaning as long as tourist visa allows. Then, my plan was to travel around Australia for another 3 months. And the remaining time? Didn’t make sense to plan so much in advance. Depending on my feeling and obviously budget, I left the decision to be made once I am in Australia.
So here the moment came, packing all my things to boxes and first moving from Germany back to Poland. Packing for me somehow is not too difficult, but unpacking…damn, I hate it. Luckily I separated the things that I potentially will take with me on the trip from all the others, so most of the boxes I didn’t even have to open later at all.
But packing also helps me to realize how many things I still don’t have but I need! Tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat, cooking stove, hiking shoes. All of these I had to buy only a couple of days before departure with no time to test it outdoor. But that’s only added more fun.
Check out the tent I got especially for this trip: MSR Elixir 2-Person Lightweight Backpacking Tent. It’s made for 2 people but light construction should satisfy solo travellers as well. It did satisfy me and extra space was awesome!
The last meeting with family during Christmas was just fine but I was already counting hours. A good occasion to eat a lot of traditional polish food though, especially before starting canned tuna, canned chicken, canned whatever else and pre-boiled rice diet. One day after Christmas I was all good to go and early morning I was already sitting on the train to Warsaw airport.
First flight From Warsaw to Prague was just fine. Then from Prague to Seoul not too bad either. But when I boarded the plane going from Seoul to Auckland (another circa 10 hours) I realized that I’m really going far away from home.
Ah… and I realized on more thing. The decision about long-term travel was the best that I could take.
In fact on the airport in Seoul, I came across that brilliant and not original at all idea that I will write down my memories from each day of travel. More for myself, because I know from experience that my memory is not that good with remembering things I did a couple of years ago. Especially when travel life is a bit more dynamic and packed with activities than working life.
I didn’t take my laptop, just a crappy mobile phone and camera. But hey, what’s wrong about writing in a classic old school notebook? Well, not much besides that it makes the blogging part a bit more difficult.
That’s why you read the post now after I already came back to Poland. Nevertheless, all emotions are still alive and I want to share with you my experiences, stories and the most beautiful places that I encountered on the road.
What happened after landing in Auckland and what’s worth to see there? Read the next post!