Yesterday was my last day in Australia and I spent it accomplishing a long term goal with my travel buddy Jacob (he writes the travel blog Cynic Abroad). We had just finished the day and I made a comment which took advantage of some bad luck he had suffered. His response opened my eyes to the real possibility of extended travels which ultimately inspired this post.
Let me give you a bit of back story first. We had booked a Great Barrier Reef tour that day which included a catamaran cruise to the outer reef where we would have 3 dives at 2 different locations to really take in the splendor of this WONDER OF THE WORLD (we also got a killer deal which I will be sharing some how-to’s on later, so stay tuned). Let’s just say the day would not go quite so nice as it sounds for Jacob.
We had to wake up early in order to get to the marina on time, but we had enough time for a small breakfast, and the fact that neither of us were bothered to buy groceries so soon before leaving Cairns we were left with one option…an old, rusty can of beans which I found in the free food shelf.
This would prove to be Jacob’s undoing.
After eating, we left for the marina and arrived with plenty of time. However, our beautiful blue skies had disappeared over night and we were greeted with ominously dark clouds looming over as far as the horizon. They promised stormy waters which the boat crew would confirm by liberal use of the phrase, “It’s going to be an animated trip out to the reef.”
No worries though. Jacob and I are STRONG.
We hunkered down, kept our minds distracted, and tried every trick we could think of to fight off sea sickness (focusing on the horizon is a good one).
An hour and a half of choppy waters later the engines cut. WE MADE IT. I looked over at my companion only to find that sweat was covering his forehead and all of the color had left his face. But good on him, he made it.
We suited up for some of the best diving we have both experienced…that is until it hit. Unbeknown to me, at some point during the dive Jacob was stopped dead in the water (hehe). 15 meters below he had no other choice…yep, you guessed it…he threw up into his regulator. I only wish I would have been able to witness it myself. I cant imaging how hilarious that must have been.
Now, dont take this the wrong way, I am not trying to make fun of my friend, and Im not trying to embarrass him publicly. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I would like to praise him. He took it all in stride, finished the dive, and was actually joking about it when all was said and done…not to mention handling the potentially life threatening experience like a seasoned vet. And if all that wasnt enough…he did it AGAIN on the second dive…and braved the third (no puke on that one).
What a champ!
Anyway, the whole point of this story comes down to the conversation that took place after our last dive. We were on the boat heading home, recapping all the amazing things we saw and did. Of course the most talked about subject of the day was Jacobs unfortunate incident. I want to share with you one specific part of that conversation though…
[quote]Dude, Jacob. Do you realize that we just did something that people come from all over the world to do? We just dove the Great Frikin’ Barrier Reef. One of the Seven Wonders of the world. We got to see turtles, a shark, that cuddlefish, and giant clams. It was awesome. All that amazing natural beauty…and you threw up in it. Ha ha, just kidding. How ya feelin’ anyway?[/quote]
[quote]Oh man, Im great. Actually, throwing up under water is probably my favorite way. You just puke into the regulator, clear it, and you’re good to go. Easy. Dude, I can roll with the punches. I’ve got over a year of experience now.[/quote]
There! There it was! Did you catch it?
No, you probably didn’t. But maybe you would have if you knew that Jacob had originally left with the intent of being gone only 3 months, AND he had just passed his 1 year mark.
The rest of the boat ride back I pretty much kept to myself, just alone in my mind wondering at what Jacob has managed to accomplish.
You see, Jacob is not exactly the most adept of my friends. He doesn’t possess any particular, highly sought after skill sets. And trust me, he isn’t loaded with cash. In fact, at one point he was telling me that he was down to $2.
I dont think Ive been that low since I got my first tooth fairy visit and blew all my cash at the candy store.
Let me ask you, if you were down to $2, do you think you would be traveling? Me neither. But I know someone who would because they have already done it.
Jacob managed to pull himself out of the hole and keep on going purely out of the love of it. He didnt have to do anything drastic either, like sleeping on the streets or selling his hot bod. He just did what anyone else would do. He got a job. Worked hard. Saved some money. Then he kept on going.
When I left him, he was going back to work some more to save up and head to South America.
So, before I get too long winded I just want to drive this one point home. Long term travel is a lot easier than we all think.
Jacob was a special circumstance. Im not saying that you should go until your broke. And you definitely dont need to be out for a whole year. But if you can plan your destinations right, you can spend a lot of time in beautiful countries for extremely cheap. Then, if you love it, you can do as so many others do and find a job abroad that can fund your travels even further. Australia right now has a very strong economy and I know plenty of travelers who have managed to earn enough to travel all over the world. So dont let money be the deterring factor.
And if you want some more awesome tips, experience, or advice from someone else who has been doing it for years now, over 14 years actually. You should check out this new blog that I just stumbled across recently. His story is pretty awesome actually, and his experiences are equally impressive.
Long term travel is a possibility. Make it a reality!
As always, I hope this post struck some chords for you. If you were thinking about making a trip soon, DO IT. Or, maybe you weren’t thinking of one, but now you are. DO IT. Let me know if you have some cool plans coming up. And if you found this funny, inspiring, or interesting, maybe someone else will. So please SHARE it.