So; I’d simply leave to journey around the world. Isn’t that what everybody wants to do? It seems to be a thing lately. How was I to know that my relationship would become stranded, that my professional career would also be regularly vulnerable to mood swings – and that Australia is such a bloody long flight! Well, I could have predicted that last one, but still…
And here I am, all alone on a plane next to some sleeping Hong Kongese – not sure if that’s a word. No idea where I’m going to find a bed for the night and how long I will last with almost 30 kg of backpack on my shoulders.
It’s only just now that I am studying my info on Bali & Lombok, because that’s where this plane will take me to. However, I’ll have a layover of almost 4 hours in Hong Kong, which is really just too short to explore the city fast track. And it’s just too long to call the airport-time comfortable.
Update January 2017
And now I’m back. Turns out that this article seems quite popular. With many of you asking me a lot about how I worked this or the other out. I appreciate that. Keep doing that, I love to help ! And in case you’re still doubting about leaving, here’s a couple more articles that I have written over the past year:
– Why returning home is the hardest part
– A round the world trip is no escapism
– Still in doubt?
But let’s carry on for now, shall we?
Traveling the world solo, doesn’t that cost you an arm and a leg?
Apart from people asking me “Are you all set to leave?” and “Have you packed your bag yet?”
the question I was asked the most was “how I’d arranged my airline tickets and if it’s affordable. Well, I’d booked a fully flexible return air fare with a 12 month validity via a Dutch company: Australian Backpackers. The beauty is that it gives you the freedom to fly anywhere you like on your way to Oz, to make a stop over and to go and explore wherever it is that you have just landed. (This is how I ended up in Bali with the excuse that you kind of need a holiday first before you start your year round trip, no?)
Included in the ticket, I was allowed a transfer to New Zealand as an extra bonus. All of this has set me back around 1.500euros. But watch out because this is only possible if you’re
under 30 or reaching 30 in that year. So time is ticking. And winter is coming.
Heaps of paperwork
Now that you’ve decided to take the plunge, there is the issue of all the travel documents that you will need to go abroad. There’s a ton to arrange before you can leave. Take my advice, make sure make sure you’re not leaving on the day before or after a bank holiday if you still need to sort things out on those days. Look at your travel date and check out what day this actually is. Sounds silly, but it could save you a lot of heartache, believe me.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll still be sorting lots of different little things the day before
you’re leaving, with a restless night as a result. All that nervous energy gives you a tummy ache and a lack of appetite comes for free with it.
I’m making a pre-travel checklist to help you get prepared: (this is for Belgium, so you might
probably need to add additional stuff that you will need to look up in your country)
- When renting, arrange for all your deposits to be released and cancel your lease if necessary in due time.
- Cancel your utility suppliers
- If you are renting a digibox , don’t forget to return it.
- Attend to your financial matters if you are self employed, check with your bookkeeper what needs doing.
- Take care of medical needs, get all your insurance cards and inquire about your travel vaccinations. You will need different vaccinations for different countries. Hepatitis A&B vaccine requires 2 doses but need to be administered 30 days apart, so you will need a shot when on the road. Not cheap, around 100 euro, plus visit to the doctor.
- Passport/ID arrangements, go to your local town hall to get this done. +- 60 euro
- You will need an international driving permit. +- 30 euro
- Double check your visa or Electronic Travel Authority in advance to be granted entry to Australia. Visit their website for all info.
- When selling your car, cancel insurance or else contact your insurer
- Cancel your other insurances f.e. Home insurance.
- When self employed, duly inform yourself what happens when you get back and if you’re entitled to some kind of benefits.
- Get yourself a proper backpack. Go to a good store where they give good advice and help you with fitting. There is an awesome backpack for travelers at Decathlon these days.
- Get good travel insurance (I took out prestige Europ Assistance , 350 euros)
- Plan a goodbye party for all your friends – 200 euros
- Get your medical documents
- Make copies of all your travel documents in case of emergency and leave one copy at home, take another with you, separate from the originals.
- Notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel. Activate your bank and credit cards before leaving.
- … and the list goes on.
I am truly relieved that I have managed to get it all organised. Although, I suspect that my relatives at home will still need to handle a couple of small issues that I will have forgotten. Thank you in advance! Therefore it’s really important to organise authorization/ power of
attorney for your family and make copies of your ID duly signed. Things will be ok then.
Just go out there and do it. Just go out there and do it.
Travelling on my own: never done it. And yes, it frightens me. A lot. I heard through the grapevine that the female football team I coach, suspect me from going to give up early and a few of my mates are placing bets on an early return date.
And yes, this morning on the train to Schiphol I have been crying like a baby. My God, was that
really this morning, because it’s already the next morning here I think… Saying goodbye was a lot harder than I had ever anticipated. Although I think stress and exhaustion, let alone all my personal changes that I am going through at this moment, have played a major role
in this. Much more so than being away from your home …(oh yeah, wait, I don’t have one
If i’m honest, I’m kinda looking forward to being alone with myself, and to get to know myself as they say. Curious to find out what it is that I’m about. I guess it’s going to be tough but I’m sure it’s also going to be kickass!
“Just go Walkabout” is what a good friend told me. I’m going to be sorry for the rest of my
life if I won’t go. This much I have learned from all the conversations I’ve had with people who
have a lot more life experience than me.
Not having to pay a mortgage yet, not having kids, having a bit of savings, the luck that my boss at made-with-love fully supports me and the guts to leave it all behind, tell me, why would I not
go out there?
In the meantime, I’m feeling relieved that my stress has left me. On my way to my first little adventures. Step by step, ready to conquer the world out there. Start slowly, getting the knack of it and taking baby steps in meeting people out of my comfort zone, starting to talk to random strangers and trusting people I barely know.
Because my little boy’s heart is yelling . . . “now or never!”