In 2014, I walked away from a successful career in investment banking. At that time, I was not happy with the life I was living. My smile had gone. My passion for life was dead. I realized that I was spending very little of my days doing the things I loved to do. I had got sucked into a Westerner ideal that I needed a well-paid, professional career to be a success and that I needed a lot of money to be happy. This belief had failed me.
Mesa, AZ – I have no home. The majority of my belongings are stuffed into a 5ft x 7ft x 8ft wooden crate, which I’m told is sitting in a large storage facility somewhere in Croydon, England. (Croydon is a run down suburb of London. Zone 5, I think.) My stuff has been there since 3 June 2014. I only have a vague recollection of what is in there. Clothes. Kitchen gadgets. Pictures I’ve collected on my travels. And my extensive collection of memory boxes. (That’s a story for another day!).
Phoenix, AZ, USA – When I set off as a traveller, I expected that along the way I’d see some spectacular sights, meet some amazing people, and do a few crazy, adrenalin induced activities. When I set out, I don’t think that I expected to come back changed, impacted by what I discovered, but I did. The change is almost imperceptible.Yet, I’ve noticed them as I’ve reintegrated back into ‘life’. Slight alterations on my values, on my outlook on life, on what’s truly important, on what things really are problems. Travelling has made we question my Western way of life. Particularly in the area of stuff and how much we, in our Western and European societies have. How much do we really need anyway?
Cuenca, Ecuador – During my sophomore year in high school, I enrolled in a class called World History and Geography. It turned out to be one of my favourite school courses ever. It was taught by the charismatic, slightly eccentric, but lovely Mrs Meyer. She had a way of livening up the subject that kept me engaged the full hour. I can’t remember what we were discussing one afternoon, but she piped in that she had a friend in that far distant country. She went on to say that she had friends in dozens of countries around the world. I was in awe. I wanted friends from all around the world too!