From Work to Travel: Reflecting on 2018

December 24, 2018

It’s coming to the end of another year: the year that marked the beginning of the next chapter of our lives, and recently we’ve been reflecting on what we’ve been up to in 2018 and what we want to achieve in 2019!

To say it’s been an amazing year would be a complete understatement! What made it this amazing was that we FINALLY reached the goal that we spent SO long, in what felt like a sort of limbo, working SO hard to achieve.

 

 

 

 

So let’s go back to January 2018. We began the year in the cold and the wet, going about our daily routines of: wake up, work, get home, sleep, repeat - there were definitely times when it felt like we were just getting each day out of the way rather than feeling like we were actually living our lives. When you are working to save up for something - and I’m sure everyone’s been there - you work hard and try not to spend; spending feels like a bad thing to do because it makes the goal seem further away. Sure, we had days where we changed things up a bit, where we spent time with friends, family and each other (which were a great respite from the daily grind), but the majority of our time was taken up by working several jobs and sleeping. Fine if that’s what you are happy with doing but we were not!

 

 

 

 

Fast forward to now: December 2018. We are ending the year at the polar opposite to the beginning -  we are living in the sun (sure it rains, but it’s still warm!) with a beach on the doorstep. We are doing something we have always wanted to do and every day can be whatever we make it. It finally feels like we are living!

 

 

 

 

What happened between the beginning and the end? Well, we can can split our year into two halves: 

 

One half is “Work” and this was January to June. Working like every person does, yet all the time desperately longing for 2nd June to come around quicker (which of course made it go slower!), so we could fly away from grey, soggy England. Sometimes it almost became unbearable; I think it actually feels worse when you’re doing something you don’t particularly want to be doing when, at the same time, you are waiting and waiting for the day when all the long hours become worth it! It also felt like a tough year because Will and I had gone from living together in the same house to living over 200 miles apart, meaning we couldn’t be there to motivate one another to stick at it. It was also super difficult being away from someone you’re so used to having around everyday, to only seeing each other once a month - kudos to those making long distance relationships work! 

 

The other half of the year is “Travelling”, which has been from June until now (December). We’ve spent this half of the year using all the money we made in the first half (plus another 6 months in 2017) exploring our way through 6 countries, meeting some incredible people, doing the most amazing things and making some of the best memories! This half of the year has absolutely zoomed by!! Undoubtedly this has been our favourite half, made even better because we worked so many hours to make it happen. 

 

 

 

 

I can’t quite believe that this time last year I was just sat at work! I would have been wearing my red Christmas jumper with the Christmas puddings on, that sings “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” when you press a button. It probably would have been busy with customers trying to get their last minute presents before the big day. I can’t believe that, already, a year has passed since Will and I were both working our butts off, saving money to do exactly what we’re doing right now!

 

It’s strange to think that we (especially me) spent so much time feeling down in the dumps about working, yet neither work nor travel could have happened with out the other. If we hadn’t worked then we wouldn’t be travelling, and if we weren’t going travelling we wouldn’t have been working in jobs we didn’t really want to be doing. Looking back, I wish I could have made myself feel more positive about earning the money to bring me on this trip. I honestly tried, but some things just really make you feel rubbish - let’s just say, I’m glad the first half of the year is behind us! 

 

We are loving the journey we’ve been on so far and we would never want to be doing anything different, however, there are occasionally some days where we think about home, having a career, settling down etc etc. Travelling from place to place looks amazing, and, don’t get me wrong, it is for the most part, but sometimes it feels odd to not have somewhere to call home out here. When we spent over a month staying in one place in Thailand, it became our home from home, and leaving was really difficult. Then again, this thought normally comes with the memories of working 6 or 7 days a week and that is definitely something we are not ready to return to just yet!

 

Making the decision to go travelling instead of starting a career was a tough one, but we always remind ourselves that the reason why we chose to do this was because this is possibly one of the only times when we don’t have many responsibilities - a house, a pet, a car, the rent - and we aren’t yet working towards, or have achieved, a career that we love. We can decide to go home and begin that part of our lives whenever we want, that’s what is so amazing about having no responsibility - the freedom! The day will eventually come when we do feel ready to return home, but I for one am definitely a bit nervous about going back into the real world - mainly because of how little I enjoyed working for the year before travelling (even though it’s lead me to where I am now)! Though I completely understand why people choose to go straight into careers - and the huge majority of my friends have made the choice to do that and I am so happy and proud of them that they are so successful - I, and also Will, felt this was the time to take the risk and go down a different route, and so that’s what we did! Time will tell whether it was a good choice (especially when we get back home and basically have to start at the beginning of an unfamiliar path again), but something tells me this will be one of the defining things of our lives and something we’ll never forget. I definitely count travelling as one of our biggest achievements, and so I think, because of that, 2018 will always be a year to remember. 

 

 

 

 

2019

 

 

Anyway, enough of looking backward! Looking forward to the coming year, being completely honest, it’s mostly a mystery! This is the great thing about this freedom, we don’t feel the need to plan too much anymore. However, there is the question of our ever decreasing funds which of course is the worst enemy of freedom! So, even though it’s early days, recently we’ve been thinking about what is the next step, and what are we going to do when the money runs out?! 

Well, our plans so far are: 

 

  • Begin 2019 exploring The Philippines - we’ve been in the country for 2 weeks already and we’re loving it! We plan to spend around 2 months having adventures around all it’s many islands. 

  • We’re flying from The Philippines to Thailand (again!) in February - here we’re meeting some of our pals from home (super excited about that!) and exploring the north of the country. 

  • After that, who knows? The main thing we want to do is continue travelling around Asia with our buddies. We’ve also been toying with a few ideas about how we can stay out here and earn money at the same time; the goal for the foreseeable future is to keep on travelling, we’re not ready to go home yet! We have no idea where we will end up increasing our funds - It might be Vietnam, it might be Australia, it might be back to Thailand again - but we haven’t figured it out yet and there’s no rush, but watch this space! 

 

 

 

Something a little different from my normal posts but it gives you, the reader, a bit of an insight into our thoughts as 2018 comes to a close and a new year begins; that is if you’ve managed to make sense of my inner ramblings on how we hated working and we love travelling! 

 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone! See you in 2019!

 

Lots of love,

Ellie and Will

 

 

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