Visited 48 states (21.3%), though not all on this trip. Just the vast majority!
[Create your own visited map of The World]
So what’s this all about?
Back in 2005 I was dating a rather nice girl. I also had a house which I’d bought around 5 years earlier. In addition, I had a job I was bored with and the neighbours from hell.
My girlie decided to go travelling, starting with Thailand for 6 months and then New Zealand for a year before returning home and back to her job. My original plan was to take an extended vacation and visit her for 5-6 weeks.
Gradually, things changed. I was sitting on a small pile of cash as my house was worth double (or more) what I’d paid for it. I was making money every month, due to budgetting and a decent amount of overtime. I missed my other half a lot.
And if the neighbours didn’t move out, or if I didn’t hide somewhere I would have killed them. Twice. Then ground the corpses to mincemeat and fed them through the letterbox of their house’s owner.
Then there’s the fact that prior to this I’d not really travelled. I’d heard so many great things about all these wonderful countries that I was aching to find out about them. Or even better, experience them.
To shorten the rest, I remortgaged the house to get some cash in hand. Then I sold off a ton of stuff from my loft, packed everything up, shifted it to my folks for storage and put the house on the market.
I quit my job (with 3 months’ notice – I’m nice like that) and bought a 1-way ticket to Bangkok, along with a Thai visa so I could stay there longer than 4 weeks.
On March 14th 2006 I left the UK on a flight for a continent I’d only ever read about.
At the time of writing this “About” page, it’s January 7th 2009. I’ve been travelling for approximately 2 years and 9 months and visited 39 countries with at least another four to come this year.
Amongst the things I’ve done that I never thought I’d say, I have:
- done a tandem parachute jump
- ridden an elephant
- lived in a temple in the Thai jungle, working with tigers
- eaten snake, camel, crocodile, emu, kangaroo and horse
- worked in France in the Alps during winter for 6 months
- climbed a mountain in Vietnam
- walked 1000 miles across Europe to raise money for a Vietnamese children’s charity
- snowboarded in Dubai
- saw one of my uncles for the first time in 16 years… in Kuwait
- seen the birthplace of Christ (if you believe such things)
- visited Armageddon
- gone from utter novice to PADI Dive Master
- been stuck in a border town in Nepal with no money
- stood at the Taj Mahal on Christmas Day
- Learned to ride a motorbike with clutch and gears in East Timor
As well as a lot of other stuff.
The girlfriend is no longer my girlfriend. She decided she preferred a lawyer with three kids, two cars and a big house to a backpacker. Her loss. In fairness, I’d not have done any of this if it wasn’t for her, but she’s in the past now (sadly, but hey – life goes on).
I have more plans for this year, then I think I’ll have to settle for a while to recoup the bank balance. I do want to continue – South America and Africa still beckon – but I feel there’ll be a hiatus coming up in 2009.
Enjoy the ride with me and do feel free to read and comment on old posts. I check them all and try to reply to everything!
Oh, and one piece of advice to those who are jealous or wish they could do this… you can! Whatever ties you have can be loosened (with effort or with time). Plan, explore online and make firm decisions. If someone like me can just ditch everything and fly off one-way then anyone can. Good luck with it!
Iain Purdie, 7th Jan 2009 (Reykjavik, Iceland)