I found your site by chance when I was looking for one
of those student programs for working abroad, and I
love it. Right now I'm 17, doing AS Levels in Media,
English, Photography and Psychology at a sixth form
college in London. I'm planning to go travelling as
soon as I'm out of school. When I found your site I
decided that I am going to spend my whole life travelling,
living in different places around the world. I want
to be a writer and a photographer, and I'm pretty sure
travelling is going to give me all the inspiration I
need for books, etc.
wanted to ask you a few questions like: do you have
any serious career ambitions? Or are you going to travel
forever? (I thought I might want a proper job but now
I think I could be really happy to just wander the planet
for the rest of my life.) Also, I wanted to ask, do
you travel alone or with friends or what? I'm thinking
of going off by myself but I worry that I might be lonely
in some strange country where I don't know anybody,
especially since I'm not that great at making friends
with strangers. Another thing: where do you stay on
your travels? Do you rent flats or stay in hotels? What's
your daily budget? Any advice you could offer would
last thing I wanted to tell you is that your website
is really inspirational. I think you should write a
book :) Hope everything's going great for you in Japan
(?) right now. Good luck.
am sorry for the delay in replying. I’ve been
very busy this week, what with moving house etc.
your email a few days ago, I felt that I was looking
at something that I myself had written 8 years back.
My situation was that as described in my brief history
I was longing to explore the world, and had the urge
to simply travel until the day that I died. This was
quite a scary prospect however - even at that age I
was worrying about my pension!
too had concerns about meeting people and feeling lonely
in strange countries. I had always been very very shy,
keeping myself to myself and hiding behind a mask of
mild madness! However, what I soon discovered was that
once on the road, I was free to be myself. The people
that I was meeting on a daily basis had no preconceptions,
I could be exactly who I wanted to be without fear of
being judged. This feeling enabled me to truly begin
to get in touch with myself (now there’s a lifelong
journey!) People do talk about “finding themselves”
through travel, and others may scoff, but I personally
believe that it has helped me a great deal in achieving
just that. I found that it was a lot easier to make
friends once outside of the UK. That’s not to
say that I was never lonely! Oh boy no! 2 years up a
Swiss Alp was by no means easy, and as for last summer
spent in a dungeon in northern Japan, well if that wasn’t
100% loneliness I don’t know what it was. But,
I got through it, and I’m stronger for it. By
no means should you think that a life on the road is
one great romantic adventure – it’s not.
At times it is absolutely miserable, depressing, you
may be completely out of money with nowhere to stay,
and not a friend in sight. However, it is at those most
desperate times that you will learn the most. Inner
strength that perhaps you thought you never had may
emerge – whatever happens you will stronger and
wiser for the experience.
get me wrong, it’s not all misery or I wouldn’t
be doing it! The rewards really are immense.
am currently in a very difficult position here in Japan.
Not only can I not work due to visa restrictions, but
also I am over 10,000 pounds in debt (spread across
6 credit cards!). Yet, I am determined to stay here
as I am in love with this country. Every day of my life
is a great challenge; I wake up in the morning wondering
just what crazy thing will happen to me in the day ahead.
Where will I be next week, next month? Last week I nearly
booked a flight to Malaysia having decided to go and
live on a tropical deserted beach for three months.
I changed my mind that evening having spoken to my Japanese
girlfriend (whom I have been with for over two years
now). What I’m saying is that every single moment
of every single day is an adventure, and that enriches
my life as nothing else can. This is the main reward.
There are many others besides (for example, I have met
someone very special whom I never would have had the
chance to bump into had I stayed in that house that
I bought in Devon at the age of 19, and sold 2 years
later for one pound!)
like yourself, love to write, and yes, it is my goal
to publish my scribblings along with my thousands of
photos. Life is a story and I am simply noting down
all that happens to me. In addition to all you see online,
I have a private diary (now in its 13th year!), in addition
to video and audio diaries. I hope that all of this
when put together will make addictive reading!
this year, I have always managed to stay financially
healthy by finding work as I go along. You simply MUST
buy Work Your Way Around the World (see http://www.tamegoeswild.com/extras/wywatw.htm
) and join WWOOF (see http://www.tamegoeswild.com/extras/wwoof.htm
). That book is the reason I’m here. Wwoof has
enabled me to feel settled when first arriving in France,
Japan and Switzerland.
to your questions.
Career Ambitions? Well, I think mega-superstardom in
the travel book world would do me nicely. I would love
to be a successful author, and feel that every word
that I write is bringing me a step closer to that, including
this email. I’m still young (25) and there is
plenty of time for career U-turns in the future. I used
to say to the people around me, “I’m going
to travel all of my life!” I now appreciate that
unless you have a crystal ball a statement like that
has absolutely no meaning – one’s entire
life can be turned around in a split second by a freak
event. It is very dangerous to have strong fixed ideas
about your future, as when change occurs, as undoubtedly
it will, you will be left stunned and find it much more
difficult to adapt to any new situation. Life is a fluid,
following the paths laid out before it: that’s
not to say that you have no control as of course you
do, you can help to direct the flow. Also, I’m
not saying that all planning is a bad idea – just
don’t feel that you have to decide right now what
you are going to do every day between now and your death.
I travel alone?
Until I met my girlfriend I had never found anyone that
I was comfortable travelling with. But, It does depend
on where you are going and what you are going to do.
For example, if you were to do something like WWOOF
or a placement scheme where you have folks around you
who can help you in times of need then going alone is
ideal as you have no choice but to immerse yourself
in the new “family”. However, if considering
doing something like hitch-hiking to India under no
circumstances should you go alone, especially being
female. There are a lot of crazy people out there as
I found when a known paedophile picked me up when I
was hitching around Ireland at the age of 16!
I stay in hotels or hostels?
be honest, I don’t do all that much of the moving
from place to place on a daily basis thing. I tend to
base myself somewhere for a few months, and my home
has usually been my place of work too (such as when
I worked in a Swiss Hotel and a Japanese guesthouse).
When inter-railing around Europe with a broken collarbone
I stayed in hostels mainly – although the best
thing to do is to tell as many people as possible where
you are going before you leave, and wait for them to
say “oh, I’ve got a friend there! You could
stay with them!” I am currently renting a private
apartment in Tokyo.
ask! It’s quite horrendous here in Tokyo, everything’s
so expensive. Although I am currently in debt, until
late last year I managed to live abroad for about 4
years with no financial problems. I originally left
England with 500 pounds. I then worked in Switzerland,
where I was able to save for a trip to Japan –
in Japan I worked for a year and saved enough to live
in Italy for a few months, and so it goes on. (It’s
only when you do things like buy a 2000 pound ticket
for a same-day flight from Japan to Italy to try and
get your girlfriend back after a phone call suggesting
you break up, its only then that you experience financial
think that joining some kind of student program is a
fantastic idea. That way you don’t have to worry
so much about it all. There is plenty of time in the
future for doing it alone, I suggest that you ease yourself
into travelling through some organisation. I spent a
summer on an American summer camp for severely disabled
adults. That was really really tough but taught me a
hell of a lot, and I didn’t have to worry about
accommodation or food etc.
I really better go as my eyes are going all squiffy.
Do stay in touch, I’d love to hear how you get
on. If you have any more questions just ask.