So Christmas is over (boo!) and if you’re anything like me thoughts are probably now turning to New Year’s resolutions. If you’re planning to make some which include travelling (and why wouldn’t you??) and are looking for some inspiration – so that you don’t end up breaking them within the first week – then check out my interview with Kelly, one half of Global Goose. Kelly and her partner Lee are amazing and their ‘Gap Decade’ will definitely make you want to get out your atlas and start planning that dream trip (even if it is while eating chocolate rather than going to the gym!)
1. Why did you decide to take your grown up gap year? Was it a difficult decision to make?
Back in 2009 before Lee and I met, we were both living in our respective countries (he in England and I in Canada). We both had our own apartments and jobs we enjoyed, but there was a part of us that was curious about what else the world had to offer. We wanted to travel, experience different cultures and see the world. So we both took a working holiday to New Zealand, which is where we met (while working as tour guides at a creepy old historical prison!) Since we teamed up, we have expanded our idea of a gap year and now we consider ourselves on at least a Gap Decade.
I came back to England with Lee for a year and while we were there we built up an income online via freelance writing and a travel blog. 18 months ago we gave away or sold all of our stuff except for two backpacks and we have been digital nomads ever since. We live on the road, moving around from country to country whenever we like and working as we go along. It was not difficult to make the decision, the harder part is making it happen once you decide and turning that vision into reality.
2. What were other people’s reactions when you told them your plans?
Some people were surprised, others were excited for us. Some people have been a bit confused over what we are doing and why we are doing it, but most people are really happy for us. We have even met people who have been inspired to go travelling themselves after hearing about our adventures.
3. How long has your trip taken so far and where did you go?
So far we have been travelling full time since May 2011. We started in Portugal then we flew to Vancouver Island, Canada, where my family lives. After visiting there we did an epic three month Cross Canada trip from West Coast to East Coast which took us all the way to Newfoundland, where we spent a few chilly winter months. We then headed down to New York before visiting Lee’s brother in Virginia. While we were there we also went to New Orleans. We then flew from Washington to Bangkok, Thailand and spend a month in the country before heading down to Malaysia for three months. We also visited Singapore and Brunei during that time, then spent a few weeks in the Philippines and a quick stopover in Macau and Hong Kong. We are currently in Bangkok again, planning to head to Cambodia and Vietnam in the New Year.
4. Did you go alone or with family/friends?
We started out alone as solo travellers, then we teamed up together 🙂
5. What is your travel style? (Ie. Budget hostels/Mid-range hotels/Luxury travel – less is more, travelling slowly/pack in as much as possible)
We would fit into the budget to mid-range category, most of the time we stay in hostels and we do Couch Surf as well. We travel very slowly so that we have time to really soak up the atmosphere as well as get our work done. We take our time and stay for as long as we want in each place to ensure that we get to see everything we want to see.
6. Do you go for tours or do it alone?
Most of the time we explore on our own, but every now and then we will go on a guided day trip somewhere, such as when we went elephant riding in Thailand or to see Orangutans in Borneo. We enjoy these tours because they allow us to experience things that we might not be able to on our own, as well as to meet other travellers. However, when it comes to booking hotels and transport, we do it on our own.
7. What is the best thing about taking a grown up gap year?
Having new experiences. Learning new things. Meeting people from different cultures. Seeing things that you have never seen before. Tasting food you have never tasted. Having those moments where you stop and look around you and just marvel at every little detail, whether you are on the back of a tuk tuk zooming through the streets of Bangkok or walking through falling snow in St. John’s, Newfoundland. The world is full of endless amazing things.
8. And were there any downsides?
There are a few downsides to our life of travel. One of the biggest drawbacks is that we don’t get to see our families as much as we would like. However, thanks to the internet this isn’t so bad and we do our best to keep in touch with them over Skype, Facebook and email.
9. What advice would you give to anyone thinking of setting off on their own grown up gap year?
Go for it. People may tell you it’s not practical, it’s expensive, it’s dangerous, it’s foolish, etc. Don’t listen to them. Live your life on your own terms and find out what is really out there for yourself.