7 Things We Wish We Had Done Before Travelling
I’m not big on having regrets in life. If I wake up most days feeling basically happy with my decisions and I retain perspective on my good fortune, regrets are pointless and silly.
Yes, we've had 16 months of new experiences, learning opportunities and true challenges, all of which balance out to create a story of immense awesomeness...
Yet that doesn’t mean however that we must ignore hindsight and not acknowledge the few select things we wish we had done differently before we left the UK (Beware, our blog was in its infancy when we posted that), because it’s possible we’d have made the journey even better.
We wouldn’t change any part of the trip so far, even the crappier times, and so, this isn't a negative retrospective, more of a list of the things we have thought of and discussed along the way.
But still, if you are yet to embark on your travels, the things we wish we had done, might be the things you still have time to implement, to help you avoid some of the difficulties we have faced.
The 7 Things We Wish We Had Done Differently:
Built A Larger Savings Account
I know that it can feel like you will never have enough savings when you begin travelling, because no matter how much you have it will still run out one day.
Plus, if you spend too long saving then you put off travelling even further into the future. Still, we wish we had been even stingier and amassed larger savings accounts.
The benefit would have been that we could have left more behind in the UK as emergency money instead of all our money being in our current account out here.
We also could have purchased a vehicle when we got to Australia.
We went back and forth about this and now know it’s too late to buy one...
We didn't have enough money to get one and now cant afford to, but we felt we could travel just fine without one and it would force us to be more imaginative, but in a way, not having one has been a restriction.
SOLUTION: PLAN FOR YOUR BIGGER TRIP EXPENSES BY INDULGING LESS AND LIVING ON A BUDGET.
Had a Second Income Source
To have been able to save more we would have needed to work more. I worked as much as I could as a dog-walker during the day but still had free time I could have filled with extra work, be that by beginning my freelancing career or getting a small side-gig.
Taran only did a little part-time job with a side-business of selling his art.
I sometimes think a little bit of overworking and suffering in the short-term would have benefited us in terms of savings.
It might have better prepared us for the hard work and long hours we would end up doing out here as well as helped us appreciate, even more, those first blissful work-free months in Australia.
SOLUTION: TRY TO FIND SHORT-TERM OR PART-TIME WORK WHERE POSSIBLE.
Gained Different and Varied Work Experience
It turns out we both came to Australia with very few of the skills and experience really in demand from backpackers and working-holiday makers.
I had never worked in hospitality before this trip (I had worked in retail, banking and self-employment) whereas Taran had done a little bit of bar work and waiting, around 5 years ago.
We have struggled to find jobs that we could even apply to let alone the issue of competition from fellow travellers and Aussies.
The upside has been that we have been given chances and have come to learn lots of new valuable skills, with me finally understanding what a Latte and a Cappuccino are (and also randomly how to service a bloody tractor!) whilst Taran learning how to properly prune trees.
Thankfully going forward we are better equipped for a variety of jobs but we wish our arsenal of experience was a bit broader from the get-go.
SOLUTION: RESEARCH, TAKE COURSES OR FIND PART-TIME JOBS IN THE FIELDS RELATED TO THE EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES IN THE COUNTRY YOU ARE GOING TO.
Got Rid of More Clutter
When we visited home in February I realized just how much stuff and clutter I had held onto despite my love for minimalism and my belief that I had shed a lot of things in preparation for nomadic life.
It turns out I could have shed a lot more, and most importantly, I could have sold more stuff to free up cash for my savings.
I hate to think that my bedroom at home is a treasure trove of random stuff that is getting no use or love and I wish I had felt unafraid of letting go of certain luxuries like my TV.
SOLUTION: DONATE OR SELL ALMOST ALL OF YOUR REPLACEABLE BELONGINGS.
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Purchased A Good Camera
It wasn’t until a good 7 months into our travels until we invested in our Canon G16, meaning our photography of the first pivotal days and weeks of our adventures have been captured on less than stellar smart-phones and our go-pro.
Had we saved more money and considered how much use we would get out of a camera then we would have a full library of equally brilliant photo’s.
SOLUTION: SET ASIDE SOME TIME AND SAVINGS TO RESEARCH AND PURCHASE A GOOD CAMERA (AND ENSURE THIS IS COVERED BY YOUR TRAVEL INSURANCE).
Brought Smaller Backpacks
Now of course we can change our backpacks at any stage, throw away a ton of stuff and downsize, but I like my current backpack (and it cost quite a lot) and I know all the little quirks of how to best use it.
We have gotten used to having a certain amount of stuff whilst travelling and have become accustomed to having the room that we have.
Taran however wishes he had a roomier bag as his is quite small inside and he'd prefer to have less clothes and more room to store camping gear.
I almost wish we had been more restrictive from the beginning, buying smaller bags which would force us to carry less and make it easier to travel with the important things we have gained on the road.
SOLUTION: TRY OUT BACKPACKS OF A SMALLER SIZE BUT NOT A LESSER QUALITY, AND BRING LESS CLOTHING.
Enjoyed Home More
We spent a lot of time in the build-up to travelling almost just waiting around, not making the most of the final weeks of time with friends and family.
We realize now we could have spent that time better and not worried that it would take us away from our tight spending mindset.
I wish I had seen certain family more often because you can never have too much time with your loved ones, but you can certainly have too little.
SOLUTION: PLAN TIME TO BUILD GREAT MEMORIES WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY PRIOR TO YOUR TRIP.
Evidently some of our regrets are incongruous with one another; its unlikely we could have worked more, spent less and also had plenty of family and friend time.
But maybe even just a couple of these ideas will help you realize that the time before your trip deserves as much attention and thought as the time spent on your travels.
Thanks for reading!
Hannah and Taran here. We hail from Southern England, where we met online and are now realizing our mutual passion for travel here at Nomad'erHowFar. We discuss Nomadic Living, Simplifying your Life and Long-term Travel, to empower, motivate and inspire our readers. Get to know us here!
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