THE BLOG

Why I Decided to Spend My Life Savings on Travelling

08/01/2016 15:40 GMT | Updated 07/01/2017 10:12 GMT

My heartbeat was getting faster and faster as I looked down at toy towns drifting past on arid land, before a vast expanse of blue appeared and we were out over the sea.

As I thought back to the last few days I'd had in Spain, I realised one thing: I didn't want to go back to the UK. I could feel the heat rising up my body and my palms were becoming clammy. What was it that was making my pulse race so much? The thought of returning to work? The weather? The lack of adventure ahead?

That moment on the plane was life changing. It was like a switch had been flipped, and all I could think about was doing something different. It seems ludicrous really; I had a great job in radio - one that I'd worked hard to get and that I loved...but something wasn't right. I started making a list of things that made me happy, and exploring new places came out top. I decided then that that was what I needed to do.

I'd read a few articles in magazines about women in their thirties taking career breaks, so I knew I wasn't the only one. But these women had 'proper' careers; they worked full time or had partners to share the cost with. They'd saved up a lot more than me, and were taking a full year to see new things, explore remote places and learn new skills.

I don't have much and can only afford to go for a few months. Still, the lure of adventure can't detract from that. Everyone makes their own journey, right?

Of course I worry about things. I wonder whether I'll be able to get a job when I get back - after all, media is such a competitive industry it seems crazy to just drop everything and go off on a whim. I'm concerned I haven't saved enough and will constantly worry about whether I can afford to do the activities I'd like to, or be able to pay for dinner. Most of all I wonder if I've done the right thing. I've been lucky enough to go travelling before, and once is enough for most people.

But I'm not most people. And despite all of this, I felt such relief when I made the decision to do this that I know it's the right thing for me. I was stuck in a rut at work. I felt trapped and, despite my best efforts, I couldn't seem to get help or progress. The only way to escape was to leave, and if you're going to do that you may as well do it in style.

My family think I'm mad to give up a steady job. They were less than impressed when I said I was spending what could potentially be a deposit for a house on a trip around the world - without any clue of what would happen when I finished gallivanting - but they understand why I need to do it. Friends and (former) colleagues think I'm some sort of hero for making such a bold choice, which I find somewhat bemusing. They've called me brave, which I've rather enjoyed.

When people say they admire me for making such a life-changing decision, I wonder why. It is a big change, and it is exciting - but what's stopping anyone else from doing the same thing? To me, life's too short for settling. It should be exactly what you want it to be. If that's settling down with a family and all that that experience brings, great. If it's to give yourself over to your career because that brings you fulfilment, fantastic. If you're not sure what you want out of life, that's fine too - experiment; try different jobs out, try different countries out and see what works for you.

My travels come to an end in June, when I'll be returning from a five month trip around the USA, Australia and Hong Kong. I expect to be broke and unemployed - but full of life, new experiences and stories to tell. Travelling can teach you just as many skills as university or work can, and I can't wait to find out what's in store.

Follow my adventures at rosieduffield.com