My heart is beating in the darkness. I lie awake, doubts tumbling through my head like a swarm of stinging gnats.
What the fuck am I doing?
Pirate islands and Taliban towns, the raw ferocity of the Indonesian ocean, gun-toting guerrillas, strange cultures, stranger languages, the thick impenetrable jungles of Papua New Guinea, the frigid slopes of the Himalayas…. And me, alone, at the centre of it all.
I feel overwhelmed.
I was raised on Hemingway and Kerouac; tales of adventurers and explorers were always my favourite bed-time stories. Men who took to the road, a pack upon their back, in search of something new, something different, a way to test themselves, a means to inspire others to follow in their footsteps.
I’m a normal guy, all I want to do is challenge my travel fears, travel the world and show others that they too have the power to do whatever the hell they want; to travel, to change their circumstances, to dream of a better, or at least more exciting, life.
It has been a difficult few months; My resolve has at times slipped and the doubts have begun, worming their way into my brain, causing my bones to turn to ice and my heart to leap in my chest; This route, this whole idea, is god-damn nuts!
I have been working seventy hours a week, pitching for funding and writing for coin, doing everything in my power to save up the funds I will need to traverse this wide and wonderful world.
I had been blindsided by a breakup I would rather not dwell on and let down by a friend I considered my best. I have emerged, battered and bruised, squinting into the daylight, my heart is healing and my mind is sound; the time to change my life is upon me.
At the end of the day, all of us, have but one question we must ask ourselves every day – ‘Am I happy with my life’
If the answer is no, then you have a choice; to change or to despair.
I am a big believer in affirmative action. I don’t like sitting around on my ass. I have been unhappy many times in my life and each time I have chosen to dive headfirst into something new. This is however the most ambitious change I have ever attempted.
My aim is simple; to travel from the UK to Papua New Guinea without catching any flights. To document my adventures online and to find some way to raise the money to fund my ultimate dream; The Broke Backpacker Hostel.
A place where I hope to invite each and every one of you, plus all of the incredible people I shall meet on the road.
A place which I hope will do good for the local community, a place where the beds don’t squeak, the toilets don’t leak and the staff are friendly. A place with an ‘Extreme Budget Menu’ where one can purchase a grilled cheese sandwich for a mere 50 cents. A place that feels like home to all who pass through the front door.
This is my dream… And my ambition knows no bounds. I see these hostels popping up across the world, influencing lives, providing a space for cool folks to come together and to celebrate the wonders of travel. Hostels can be magical, sadly many are not. Mine shall blow minds and capture hearts. And perhaps, one day, when I have achieved all I dream of and made some small contribution to encourage others to hit the road, I shall fall in love once more.
But that day is not yet upon me, there is too much to do and too much to achieve. There are many miles yet to be covered and many countries yet to be explored.
I do not intend on returning to the UK. I do intend on changing my life, if I can change a few others on the way then that would be the greatest reward I could ever dream of.
And yet… The fear awaits upon the corners of my mind, it prowls like a wild beast, stalking me in my moments of weakness, waiting for me to turn my back so that it can pounce.
What if I am making a mistake? What if I end up homeless and penniless in the middle of China. Well that, my friends, is what makes this an adventure… I shall step out of my comfort zone and I shall learn and if, at the end of it, my dreams crumble and my plans turn to dust then I shall know that it matters not; for I have tried my best. I have attempted to change my life for the better and I shall never give up in my pursuit of happiness, I shall never give up in my pursuit of purpose.
I am scared and, yet, I am ready. I am ready for something different, something new. I am ready to change.
I wholeheartedly accept this challenge for what it is; god-damn terrifying and yet, if I pull it off, the potential for awesomeness is unparalleled – this will be the greatest adventure of my lifetime.
I suppose that I will come close to death more than once upon this journey, it’s a risk I wholeheartedly accept. At the end of the day, I want to look back on my life and to know that I have created something worthwhile.
I want to have my little adventures, alone or otherwise, and continue to evolve, to work on my many character faults, to push myself further than I dreamed possible, to emerge a better, or at least a leaner, person.
To all of you guys, for bearing with me and supporting my journey, a huge thank you. When I look back at the evolution of this site there has been one thing which has encouraged me to continue – your support.
To everybody who reads my articles, who supports me on social media and who helps spread the word about my trip; my undying gratitude. You have made it a reality, each and every one of you is a hero of mine.
Conquer your own travel fears, hit the road.
Peace, love, and happy trails.