I’m turning 30 years old, wow. And I’m about to hit the 5-year mark. Marking what, exactly?
5 beautiful years of travel.
I can still see it. Boarding my flight in Montreal – with some big construction shoes. Ahem. Yeah, that was a weird decision. I was planning on going cherry-picking and I had read I should bring some steel cap shoes to keep my feet safe. (Well – it was a stupid decision, but also not necessary at all.) Long story short – these shoes weren’t fitting in my backpack – so there I was at the airport with my steel cap shoes. Ha! What an embarrassment.
Our flight with Air Canada was full – so we volunteered to wait for the next flight. We all got an extra $400 and we had the chance to fly business class. Our first stop was Vancouver and then we were off to Hawaii. Our plan was to get back to the Canadian Rockies to pick up some cherries after Hawaii. Our goal was to improve our English and to save some money.
Like every other time when I plan too much, life had other plans for me. My two months trip became a 5-month trip – and then I booked a flight to Australia where I would spend the next two years of my life. Fast forward to now – I’m about to hit the 5 years mark. Wout, wout!
Oh… and I’m turning 30 years old.
Traveling during the last 5 years of my twenties has been the best decision I’ve ever made.
Don’t worry – I’m not planning on stopping anytime soon.
Well – now it’s time to leave Bali – and even though I’m writing these lines in Bali – you should know that I’m actually leaving two days after my birthday. (And I can’t wait.) I’m ready for a new travel chapter, a new adventure, but more importantly, I’m happy to move on.
I had a plan for this post – and to be honest, I’d rather write about something else. So – bear with me – I want to open a parenthesis here.
I’d like to talk about Rachel for a few minutes. Rachel was also about to turn 30 years old. She was living abroad/traveling for a bit longer than me – she was well known is the travel blogging industry. Rachel – also known as Hippie in Heels – was one of my inspiration as a travel blogger. Unfortunately, she passed away this month.
I didn’t know Rachel personally. But once again, this news shocked me. She was my age – she was an inspiration.
Last year, I was also shocked when three social media influencers – also my age – sadly passed away in Canada. I even wrote about it – and what it meant to me – as a full-time traveler.
Since this sad news has been revealed, I’ve been thinking about my own life and about Rachel. These kind of sad news are always shocking, of course – but it’s also like a sad reminder of what should be important… in these moments when life has other plans for us.
5 Years of Travels – Why?
Why am I still traveling after 5 years? Will it ever change?
Perhaps, you already know some bits and pieces of my story – or perhaps, you don’t.
I was always dreaming of traveling the world since my first backpacking trip (I was 20 years old at the time).
I had one big problem – an enormous amount of debts. The truth is that I moved out when I was 17 years old and living on my own came with a whole lot of financial responsibilities. I obviously wasn’t the best budgeter either – which made me take some silly money decisions. Big OOPS.
There I was in my early twenties with a huge amount of debts to pay – and some big career changes around the corner.
I was just turning 25 years old when I decided to take a second leap of faith. (I had sold everything when I was 24 years old to travel – but life had other plans for me, so I had to cancel my trip after two months of travels.)
The enormous amount of debts was surely scary, but it didn’t stop me – remember I was going to work as a cherry picker?!
This cherry-picking idea sounded promising (until you start picking cherries and barely make any money).
I quickly had to find another way to support myself – since I was based in the Canadian Rockies (Yes – I still consider this like traveling as it’s still very far away from Quebec where I’m from – even the timezone was different, ha.) I decided to take 2-3 jobs to start paying off my debts. Slowly, I started to pay them off – but I was also able to save just enough money to buy a flight to Australia, an expensive working-holiday visa and I had kept about CAD 2000 to support myself until I can find a job there.
Crazy decision? Maybe.
Between the traveling and the farm work, I was quite determined to pay off my debts. Although life in Australia was quite expensive, I was working a lot and I was able to pay off some of my debts – but I was far from the magic number zero.
My plan wasn’t the smartest – but I always thought it would be nicer to pay off my debt from somewhere else than in Canada. It would have been faster to do it in Canada – or not. I quickly realized that on the road, I was better at budgeting and I was able to pay my debts faster that way.
In the meantime, I decided to start this travel blog. It caused another problem – it was taking a lot of time – and I still had to support myself. The first year – I worked in Australia – then, eventually, I became a full-time digital nomad while trying to monetize the blog. It took a while – but now – I’m very happy with where the blog is at and where my finances are at.
If everything goes to plan, I should be out of debts by the end of the summer – which for me – means a few good things.
- I won’t have to restrict myself to budget-friendly destinations anymore.
- I’ll finally be able to invest money in my online business.
- I’ll be able to save money for my future.
- I’ll be able to take care of myself better.
What do I mean exactly with this last point? I did neglect my health in the five past years – because I wasn’t able to pay for health checks. Sadly, it seems like a lot of full-time travelers get sick abroad or neglect their health when they are constantly on the move. I’m planning on opening my eyes – after all, I’m not getting any younger.
5 Years of Travel – What’s Next?
Remember that part where I mentioned I was leaving Bali? Well, let me share a bit more with you. At the beginning of 2019, I went on a trip to Komodo National Park. I left without my laptop and enjoyed a holiday without any digital work – and it was fantastic. I needed to reconnect with my love and passion for traveling.
Yeah – you read that right – after being in Bali for so long – I was feeling stuck and trapped in a beautiful Bali bubble. It was even getting harder to leave.
During this trip, I stayed in hostels, had chats with what I call “temporary travelers” and it was good to connect with people who weren’t nomads like me. It was stimulating, motivating and it helped me realized I needed to start moving again.
When I got back to Bali, I bought a flight to Thailand for February. I was going to go to Thailand for a month, but then I decided to ditch the flights and stay longer. I stayed for two months traveling in beautiful islands like Koh Lanta, Koh Tao, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. Oh – and I fell in love on the way. (With Thailand? Yeah, that too. 😉 )
At the end of April, I came back to Bali, feeling sad. I reached the point where I was over Bali and I wanted to travel again.
Good news – my Bali chapter is over now and for the occasion, I wrote a pretty long Bali guide with all my top travel tips to help you create the best Bali itinerary.
I got a lot of exciting travel plans coming up. I’ll be taking a little break of Asia for now but don’t worry, I’ll be back soon enough.
Here are a few destinations I’ll be visiting and re-visiting in the upcoming weeks: