Hello! Im new to this forum, stumbling across it while starting my research on travelling.
I have a had a quick search through the archives but haven't found anything relevant as of yet to my questions.
The thought of travelling (for 6 months to a year) is turning from a niggling thought into a 'need to start planning' thought, as Im all too often happy to let this thought just linger as I know its a life changing decision but exciting. I own my own place and have a pretty good job and am pretty free in my life to come and go.
I'm sort of stuck as to where to start with organising my life for such a trip, how to deal with the property (letting, selling) and dealing with what I intend to do with my career and if its possible to take a years break and still get back into it if need be, and also being prepared to accept major changes time away may bring.
Can anyone recommend any books or articles or experiences that can help me start somewhere with planning?
This is a huge thing for me to do and I need a little nudge in the right direction!!
Hi Orbit, i'm doing exactly the same as you. House is on the market and it's proving difficult to sell. But don't want the hassle of renting it out. So what i have done is decided to go away for 5 weeks at the end of May, and come back early July. If the house isn't sold i will rent it out for a year or so. I know exactly what you're going through. Going away like this always takes a little courage, but as i've travelled a lot i know the rewards of going away far outweigh the rewards of staying. Planning your trip is the easy bit, just decide where you want to go the most and book your tickets!! If you intend coming back to the same place i would rent it, however, if you don't then i would sell up. If rent won't cover your mortgage then maybe think of changing to an interest only mortgage for a year. You should really go for the travel option though as it sounds like you really want to do it.
Welcome to TP. If you click on the names of various members in the forums (click "view profile" on the left of this page), you could get some ideas to consider. Not sure if all members can view them, however TPers with their own webpages often include a link in their personal profiles.
In addition to the great people and advice some this site, there are a number of places you can look. Try googling "Gap Year" for some quick links. Here's one from the Guardian that might be of interest: Guardian on Gap Year.
As for the career, check to see if your company offers a leave of absence or sabatical program. You'd be amazed the nubmer of companies that do. That might allow you to take a year off and still come back to the UK with a job intact.
I'm kinda in the same situation as you! We have been trying to sell our house for about 3 months now and still no luck!
The only reason we're selling up and not renting is so we have no ties here (other than friends and family). That way if we happen to fall in love with a certain place and stay there we don't have to worry about it.
Does your employer know your plans? It's probably best you sit down and talk to them about it as I know alot of places will give you a career break for about 6 months. (even longer in some cases).
Where are you thinking of going? I went into my local STA travel a few weeks back and spend 2 hours in there just chatting - they were really helpful.
Good luck with your plans, I know it can be quite stressful sometimes but it'll all be worth it in the end.
Thankyou all for your kind replies! It's really encouraging to see other people making big changes and I know it's worth it!
I have only been in this new job for 5 months so I am not so keen on discussing the idea with them just yet as I feel it may cause some unrest, seeing as I hope to start travelling in about a year (maybe earlier) I can probably afford to give it a bit more time.
As for places, I am very keen to tour South America (would love to go to Cuba), I'm sure I could easily fill 6 months this way but not sure how that would work for a year, the other option is Asia but I would need to fine tune the areas I would like to go to.
I'm not sure about my house yet, I think coming back to the same house after some other strangers have been in it sitting on my sofas may be a bit odd (maybe I can rent it unfurnished!!), so letting maybe good with a view to sell but not sure rent in my area would be enough to fill the mortgage, luckily my neighbours have rented their place out and the guy out of the couple is a letting agent, I discussed it with him and he said he would happily help me go through the options of renting, so thats a start.
The next thing is a travelling companion! I have a couple of people in mind who are keen, would it be safe to tour South America alone?
I've given up my life for travelling. My thoughts behind making the decision were that I could always pick up where I left off.
Unlike you I don't own a house so I didn't have that to worry about.
I also don't have kids or any other responsibilities that might make me stay.
I did give up on a successful business because I know in myself that I can make something better if I ever decide to come back.
I feel like I'm erasing myself from the planet! I'm cancelling all my contracts (eg. phone) and have already moved all my belongings to my mum's garage for storage. Essentially I won't really exist in Australia anymore. I'll have 1 credit card bill sent to my mum's address and I'll have 2 bank accounts but that's it!
Bye bye Oz, Hello World!
Good luck Orbit! And Welcome to TP!!
would it be safe to tour South America alone?
That's a qualified yes.
The qualification is this - everywhere in the world, especially where there is poverty (which is pretty much everywhere in the world), there are people who will try and separate you from your belongings. You must be viligent when travelling in South America for pick-pockets, muggers, scam-artists, etc. Of course, this is no different than if you were travelling with someone.
A woman alone faces additional dangers, but nothing insermountable. I know a few women who have travelled Central and South America alone without problem. Generally, keep your wits about you, watch your drinks (so no one puts anything in them) and don't wander off into dark alleys with strange men alone. You will probably get a few catcalls or wolf-whistles, but ignoring them usually is enough to get them to stop.
Thanks for your comments Greg, I also read similar stuff today, its about looking after yourself and also respecting local laws and 'expectations', i gather in some countries a woman alone drinking and smoking could signal as 'im available'.. its all interesting stuff!
Just bought a great book called 'Gap Year for Grown Ups', got loads of useful stuff in, cant wait to start reading it.