Let’s face it, travel doesn’t seem to be in everyones blood, and it took a while for me to realise just how important it was to me. Getting up in the morning to go to work only to come home 10 hours later exhausted and wishing my time away, living for two out of seven days a week wasn’t my idea of living. The idea of life is that you should work to live, however, it seems that things have taken a shift, a lot of people now seem to be living to work. What good is work if you’re wishing most of your life away? You spend your teens looking forward to responsibility, when you get it you wish you had your youth and no responsibility or you are looking forward to retirement and when you retire you wish you had your health.
Okay, this is starting with a bit more of a philosophical rant than a travel post. But I have come to realise that chasing a fat paycheque in the hopes that happiness will grow according to your bank balance is a fallacy. Let me explain…you come out of university, you get a job, you focus on climbing the ladder, you get a raise, you buy a fancy car to boost your professional image, you stop going out as often, you pay more attention to work than your family and friends, you get another raise, you get a mortgage that your salary enables you to afford, you keep working hard, you get another raise, you worry about job stability, you worry about making payments…and so on and so on. This seems to be the modern way of the developed world and being from a developed country we do have it comparatively good but it doesn’t stop it from being a self destructive cycle that continues to repeat itself until you’re sat at your big desk, you’ve got the job you’ve always dreamed of, but now you’re grey, your kids have grown up and your health isn’t as good as it was.
Life is like a one way train ticket, don’t sleep away the journey just to wake up as you’re pulling into the terminal.
A lot of shit had to come my way before I realised I was taking a destructive path in life, it took a hard lesson for me to realise it but when I did, I decided to make every effort to make my dreams come true, to travel the world. I left the 9-5 grind, bought a one way ticket to China, got my visa sorted and within 2 months I was on a plane, stepping into the unknown. I thought I was taking a plunge, gambling with my financial and professional life, and I was in a sense. What I am realising now is that I did take a gamble and I won, I saw the importance of getting behind the wheel of my life and not just being a passenger.
When it came time to leave the country, I had not really noticed the gravity of what I was doing, I got butterflies in my stomach, I hadn’t had butterflies in my stomach for a long time and all of a sudden they were alive and going absolutely mental. I bid my family farewell and boarded the 20 hour flight from Manchester to Shanghai. I had butterflies pretty much all of the way, partly because I was embarking on this epic adventure but also because I had a girl on my mind, and I’m glad to say that girl is now my fiancee.
eventually the butterflies went away, but not for good, they kept coming back on different occasions….when I went out of my hotel for the first time to explore, when I started teaching my first classes, when I met Becky, and countless other times during my travels. It was like I had been living my life in black and white and now I could see in colour again, I suddenly realised how important it was to live and not just exist, your passion may not be travelling but focus on achieving what you love, don’t let it pass you by. Life can go past in the blink of an eye if you’re not watching.
So go on, bring your butterflies back to life, you’ll thank yourself for it and you will continue to for the rest of your life.