So, I'm basically looking for advise after finding this website a couple of days ago and deciding it seems to be a very helpful base of people.
Long story shortened as much as I can:
I'm 22, single in a dead end job and generally not very happy with things overall, I'm very seriously considering travelling for say a year. Now firstly I wanted to point out I'm not stupid enough to assume that going travelling will change everything and I'll come back a totally different person yada-yada-yada, what I'm hoping was that if I do go, I'll gain some valuable life experience, get some more confidence, and generally be a bit happier about things.
My issues are as follows, I'm in theory saving up to buy a house, with which then to settle down and so on, but the rediculous price of housing here currently means that this is pretty much unobtainable at this point in time anyway, and I dont know if I really want to get a house etc until I've seen more of the world, in that if I don't do it now, when will I etc. There's not really any of my friends who are in quite the same boat however, so it may end up with me going on my own, and then spending a lot of my savings and starting again with all of this when I come back.
So, further to the above: Travelling alone, is this something worth doing, or am I going to be better off finding people to go with? Is it as good as I'm hoping for general life experience etc, or will I go, have a pretty good time, but then be miffed that I've come back to very little funds and have to start saving all over again? Also, I really am not sure quite how to initiate the process if I do decide to go ahead with it, I mean is it as simple as going to a travel agents and saying "I'm looking to do something along the lines of... what do you suggest?" or is there more to it than this?
Tl;dr - Should I do this?
Any thoughts and suggestions would be massively appreciated.
So, further to the above: Travelling alone, is this something worth doing, or am I going to be better off finding people to go with?
Solo travel is (imo) the way to go. You have complete flexibility in deciding where to go and what to do. You have the freedom to do only what you want to do - and if you're having a lousy day, that includes the ability to do nothing at all and just laze about in a hammock with a book and a drink. (In fact, I'd say these off days are absolutely essential to getting the most out of any journey lasting longer than a few weeks.) You can discover what it is you care for when you're completely free of obligations and the constraints of people around you having preconceived notions about who you are. Experience thousands of new things and let your subconsciousness take that as input for drawing conclusions about what it is you want to do with your life.
You'll still get to meet lots of people on the road (just sit in any hostel's lounge for an hour, and you're pretty much guaranteed to have struck up a conversation or two), and if you desire to, you can readily find people to travel around with for a couple of days or weeks.
Is it as good as I'm hoping for general life experience etc, or will I go, have a pretty good time, but then be miffed that I've come back to very little funds and have to start saving all over again?
That's a possibility. No one who can say for certain. I definitely wouldn't expect any epic moments of epiphany, and it is quite possible to only get stuck doing the touristy things, blowing through your money in no time, and then having to come home without anything having changed.
But at least for myself, travelling (for two years) did change my entire life around, simply through countless short moments of reflection and little insights into what it was that I actually cared about and wanted to do. On the money front, things might get better after you return, as employers do value international experience, and the self-reliance and ability to deal with pretty much anything which comes your way which people gain through long-term travel experience. For me, travel gave me the self-confidence to just stay self-employed.
Obviously there's no guarantees, but when you know that you need change from your current life, travel is a good way to give yourself the time and the distance to let you figure out how that should work.
Also, I really am not sure quite how to initiate the process if I do decide to go ahead with it, I mean is it as simple as going to a travel agents and saying "I'm looking to do something along the lines of... what do you suggest?" or is there more to it than this?
Don't bother with a travel agent. Pick a country which interests you (Australia and New Zealand are the most common first choices for people doing this, as the have gorgeous scenery, are relatively cheap by European standards, allow you to work there to top up your funds with a Working Holiday Visa, and have near-perfect backpacker infrastructure), buy a lonely planet to get a first impression of what's there to see and how to do things (don't follow its suggestions to slavishly, but use them as a first guide to figure out the rough direction), apply for your working holiday visa online (AU, NZ), book yourself a plane ticket and take off.
Tl;dr - Should I do this?
I suggest you start off in one of the cheaper destinations that's also exotic, like - SE Asia. You will be surprised how easy it really is, but protect yourself until you learn the ropes, and educate yourself a little B4 the trip (scams, thieves, etc.)
Owning a home is not as wonderful as it might seem! Don't know where you are, but in my part of the world we pay heavy property taxes, and maintenance is certainly not cheap + it means you no longer have a great deal of free time!
Enjoy your youth and see the world, NOW!
Thanks very much to both of you for your excellent replies, I need to do a bit more thinking and a bit more research I reckon, but at the same time I realise it may be better to think less and just go for it, I'll definately make a post or two with any further thoughts/questions, but yeah.. Thanks very much for your help
Kirjavah my wife and I are in the same boat except we are looking to get rid of our house and take the rtw trip. ill tell you a house is nice but also a huge responsibility. we have not had any money issues but it did limit job flexibility.
now we are truly debating selling the house and taking a year to travel. we also are nervous about leaving our steady jobs but i think a good plan will prepare you as much as possible. think about what makes you anxious about the idea and plan accordingly to relieve that.
our friend booked there travel through www.airtreks.com which we will probably use. its a great place to start connecting your trip together, we will probably be staying at hostels to keep the price down.
we have talked with friends and have to be prepared that when we come back it may take some time to find work again, and may not be making as much salary. i think if you understand what the obstacles are in both the trip and return it will make the journey much more comfortable.
Thanks for your thoughts on that, I will definately check out that site you mentioned! I'm basically cornering everyone I know who's been travelling and asking them for suggestions and advise currently, I've basically decided that yes, I am going, it's now just sorting everything out and tying off loose ends. I'm thinking I might choose Aus' as a starting point as there'll be no language barrier, it's somewhere I've always wanted to go so it's on my list anyway, and to my knowledge it's not massively over-priced compared to here (Oxfordshire UK) (although this I'm not sure on so if anyone can confirm or deny that'd be ace) so I feel that's a good starting point, anyone with any other thoughts and suggestions however it's all greatly appreciated.
I kind of understand your thought. I used to be in the almost same situation.
Well, I absolutely recommend you to take a break and got to see the world. I decided two years ago to go abroad to work as an AuPair. I do not regret a day. I actually regret that I have not decided to go for a Work&Travel year throughout Australia or New Zealand. You know even if you do go on you own this makes the whole thing far more challenging. I am sure that it won't be a problem to get to know new people. I can tell from a friend of mine she went on her own to Australia and during her stay in the first town she got to know a couple of friends with whom she continued her experiences. The same with me, I went on my own abroad and while working I got to know so many new people. There is nothing better to improve the language skills to get more confident to get more open than going somewhere else. You should use this opportunity now to get to know world, new places, new cultures, new habits. This will be such an amazing time, and such an incredible experience. Otherwise, and I am sure of it, you really will regret it if you decide against it.
I just wanted to add that i too am in a very simular position, i however bite the bullet and i actually leave a week saturday!!!
Im excited, aprehensive, a little scared at times but one thing im pretty sure about is that i have made the right decision. I too will be travelling alone as a female and i am 29 so will have even less time to sort my life out when i get back!!
good luck, but my advise would be to do it mate!!
PM me if you need any further advise or just a bot of dutch encouragement
Go for it!!!
Solo traveling is amazing and who knows, if you don't really have anything that ties u up then u might even end up living on a Caribbean island for the rest of your life!!! My advice wold be South America. What a best change than an other totally different continent, culture, with smiling faces and beautiful beaches all over the place? besides, your £$€ will last a looot longer than in Europe.
Have a great trip! Enjoy all you can and let yourself experience and be free for a while within a totally different, new , exiting world!!!
Thanks yet again for your replies folks, I think I'm leaning towards starting in Aus now, I can get the working travel visa, there wont be a language barrier, and who knows I might well meet some folks there who are planning to head to SE Asia anyway! I'm really grateful to everyone who's helped me out with suggestions on here as I have to admit this is a whole lot more complicated than I initially thought >.< still that said, I'm definately doing it now, so planning as fast as I can, then head off :D this said, I doubt it'll be til August what with arranging everything, probably trying to sell the motor, and besides, this month at work it's annual bonus, and then the shares pay out, so leaving before getting free money would be foolish :p
Will keep updating with progress etc, thanks again!