That thought used to scare me tremendously. How could the best years of my life be sitting here, in a sweaty Maths room, smelling the sewage and ‘muck’ on everyone elses clothing following a first period P.E class? The only ‘logical’ reason for this lack of hygiene was “the P.E teacher was gay and was trying to sneak a glimpse at your penis.”

Although they were an entertaining few years, I now believe my grandma was wrong.

I did wonder whether she was correct, when sitting in a call center selling insurance/gas/electric/cleaning products, and on one very brief occasion, a pornographic website subscription package. (The only job Ive actually ran away from. Literally, sprinted away from)

Call centers and office jobs often challenge you with difficult screening processes, which make you feel a real sense of achievement when and if you finally pass. You actually feel a real sense of worth when you are accepted for a call center job. Its insane! Are these the jobs I’ve strived so hard to qualify myself for?

Uk Call center

I certainly hope not.

Still, I am very grateful for the these jobs. The timed toilet breaks, the bosses who will watch your waiting time between calls and lunches. I am grateful for all of it. They have fueled my ambition for better things. Fuel to launch me out of this stagnant pot of gloom.
Wearing a suit just to put on a headset, or owning a car just to feel accomplished, seems such a silly concept to me. Its this rat race that I am clearly expected to come and join, for I’ve often been questioned, “when will you get a real job?”

I was the first in my family to attend university. The first individual to achieve a degree. The first one to realize that it doesn’t really mean much.

Everyone has a motive for everything and mine is to do something different because I want more. I want satisfaction in a way that I know I can’t get living in England.

My inspiration has never come from travel books; I never bought any before I traveled.

It didn’t come from my parents; they hadn’t left the country until last year.

The lack of inspiration I have seen in my peers was perhaps, at first, my inspiration. People I went to school with, people I worked with, and people I’ve talked to. No one seems to ever want to escape. Questions and statements such as “Why do you want to do that? We have everything here” were probably catalysts that took me to the front doors of STA travel screaming “Help.”

I’ve always been curious of the unknown.

My mother had been given a pen pal at a young age. She regularly wrote letters and sent pictures of her life, and a few weeks later would receive similar stories with pictures to match.

The pen pal is still to this day a very close friend of my mothers. She is someone she has, remarkably, never met.

This contact over the years was so exciting for me. I would love to see the letter come through the post box from the mailman before school. I would love to pick it up and look at the stamp from Australia. Listening in the evening to stories of her children at school in Australia.

We were growing up in two different worlds at the very same time.

This exchange has lasted over 30 years and when I turned 18, whilst embarking on my first adventure around the world, I visited and stayed with my mothers pen pal for a few days in Sydney, Australia, over Christmas. The very same family I had seen photos of since the days I can remember. The same pen pal my mother had been given at the age of 15 years old.

This sense of unpredictability is what truly excites me about travel. My mother never knew at the age of fifteen, that one day, she would have a son who would eventually visit her friend on the other side of the world. It was completely unpredictable.

The interesting thing about travel is that there is so much that is unknown.

You don’t know who you will meet or speak to. You don’t know the vibe of the place. You don’t know what the weather will really be like. You don’t know how the local food will taste. You don’t know how much you will drink and who you will drink it with. You dont know the smells you will inhale. You don’t know if you will get sick and where it will happen. You don’t know if you’ll return the same person. You don’t even know if you’ll like it.

Quite simply put, you don’t really know where you are going.

But like my grandma said… you dont know if you dont try it (granted, she was talking about garden peas and to this very day I despise everything about the little green b*stards..)

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