Why travelling at 20 was the worst decision I ever made!


Why travelling at 20 was the worst decision I ever made!

It made me greedy

When I was young I was lucky enough to go on at least one, sometimes two holidays abroad per year.  At the tender age of a teen, I was more than happy with this.  

I have soo many great memories of days by the pool, playing as a family, day trips to volcanos, caves and other historic sites in various countries.  I hold dear those memories, as we are separated now by distance and the virtues of life.

But when I decided to fly the nest for university back in 2003, to eventually travel the world in 2008 my greed for travel manifested.

I just cannot get enough!  Some might agree that I travel more than the average joe, and this may be true.  We’ve ticked off quite a few countries now and seen more than our fair share of cities.  I am the lucky one.  But somehow, this is never enough.  I live for the next trip!

I am forever looking online to see what I can add to my bucket list and sometimes feel claustrophobic if I go for a long period without trip planned.  I am a greedy traveller. Now, I will never be satisfied with just one or two holidays per year for two weeks at a time.  Whilst I cherish those memories of our family vacations, I am gluten for more.

Dam you travel bug, you have bit my ass and and there is no vaccine or cure.  I will forever be a travel junkie!

It gave me no chance of succeeding in a full time career

In 2008 when I embarked on a path of travel, the economy had just crashed, people lost their jobs and the employment opportunities dwindled.  You might say it was a great time to sail the ship.  For the graduates of “class of 2008” who remained in the UK and Ireland, their chances of finding a job were harsh, but not impossible.

Over the last 10 years my classmates who finally secured jobs in their field have probably now worked their way up to a decent level with great salaries. 

A life of a nomad can mean constant change in employment.  I have had jobs that I didn’t even know existed.  Rather than working in one company under one boss with a team of colleagues I have grown to know and respect: I have had over 50 jobs with different bosses, learning to communicate with various work colleagues who in most cases are nationals from around the globe.

I am no expert in one field like my classmates now are, but rather semi qualified to do a multitude of tasks in a variety of fields. Rather than working my way up the corporate ladder, I now have the choice to carve my own path in word, all thanks to Travel!

 I will never be eligible for a state pension

I only recently found out that in order to revive a state pension at the lovely retirement age of 63 (which will no doubt increase by the time I age), a minimum of 35 years must be worked in the UK.

This means that I would need to work a total of 32 years from this year, giving up my wanderlust roots, to obligingly pay my taxes due, to qualify me for roughly £5,727 annually from the UK government.  

Thanks to my travelling addiction since the age of 20, I have not even accumulated a total of 3 years in employment since the age of 16.  This was shocking to me!  Was I always such a non-workaholic?!

So I have a choice, I could either get my ass back to the UK and start racking up those payments to the government in tax, to ensure I get my £119.31 per week when retirements finally rolls around or I could continue to feed my travel addiction and somehow figure out how I can create passive income equaling to £17 per day, mimicking the state pension amount!

Fortunately, after 10 years on, and constant life in motion, I have neither the willpower or desire to stop now.  I will have to make do with no pension in return for a life well lived!

We struggle to settle down

With travel addiction comes constant migration and a limited chance to sink your roots into the ground.  With every season, comes a new destination and behind every christmas lies a new tradition.  I hear that dreaded question every now and again “when are you two going to settle down?”

For us “settling down” means slowing down.  Slow travel, enjoying married life and maybe someday having a family.  By no means does it mean settle down, stay in one place and hang up our wandering boots.    

Instead of knowing what’s around the corner we have to live with constantly learning new cultures and new ways of living.  Christmas’s in our house can consist of snow one year and turkey on the bbq the next.  Rather than sending cards and presents we send our love and messages of good cheer for the year ahead.  I get to cherish my home traditions as well as make new ones. 

“Those who wander are not always lost because you can’t get lost if you don’t care where you’re going!”


My head is in memory overload

Over the years as I embark upon new experiences, make new memories and fill my head with information, it becomes difficult to remember the older ones as they are placed in archive in my brain.

By now I have build up so many memories, seen so many countries and came into contact with so many weird and wonderful people that I struggle to remember them all.  My head sometimes ends up in memory overdrive with a constant “spinning wheel of death” turning, driving me up the wall.

According to  scientificamerican.com 

“The human brain consists of about one billion neurons. Each neuron forms about 1,000 connections to other neurons, amounting to more than a trillion connections. If each neuron could only help store a single memory, running out of space would be a problem. You might have only a few gigabytes of storage space, similar to the space in an iPod or a USB flash drive”.

“Yet neurons combine so that each one helps with many memories at a time, exponentially increasing the brain’s memory storage capacity to something closer to around 2.5 petabytes (or a million gigabytes). For comparison, if your brain worked like a digital video recorder in a television, 2.5 petabytes would be enough to hold three million hours of TV shows. You would have to leave the TV running continuously for more than 300 years to use up all that storage.”

So whilst there is no reason to suggest that my brain will reach full capacity I can breathe a sigh in the knowledge that I will retain my precious memories.  But still, when holidaying becomes a habit it becomes more difficult for the nomadic nerd to put a finger on specific memories as they get lost in our human hard drive.

It’s a hard life making so many great memories each and every day that I’m convinced one day by hard drive will crash.  But that’s sure not going to stop me!

So you see why choosing to travel at the tender age of 20 ruined me for life ~ because I constantly expect to see and experience an abundance of bigger and better things year in, year out.  When will it ever be enough?


Janine & Janice | Irish Travel Bloggers | Portugal Based Work Smart | Travel Often | Explore More Two Ladies on a mission to life an Unconventional Life, full of Love & Adventure.

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