The Importance of Travel

  • By Matthew
  • February 1, 2023 - 8 min read

One of the main attractions I have towards open-ended travelling is the freedom of mind. Having no place or job to go back to allows you to completely rethink and reprioritise what makes you happy before making a decision about the next stage of your life.

Travel has given me time to decide what I enjoy doing both technically and in free time as well as time to think about lifestyle and how to live. These periods of my life have improved several aspects of my character such as my ability to self-study and apply learnings practically, my social confidence and mindfulness. I believe all of that shines through in your motivation towards your chosen career and lifestyle.

What brought my attention to travelling the first time?

The first time I chose to go travelling the idea was brought to me by a bit of luck. One night in Glasgow I met a guy through a friend of a friend who had followed a different path in life to most of the people I knew - he was an ex army soldier who was driving trucks in Glasgow and had decided to move to Australia to do his working holiday.

After a night out I ended up at this guy’s flat when he came up with an idea “you should come to Australia too”. Instinctively I said yes and despite the intoxication I knew I was serious. There was something drawing me towards this unknown world of travelling much more than the thought of diving into the corporate world. And so it all began.

Me and Jamie reunited at the Grampians National Park in Australia

How travel has helped my personal career

Before choosing to go to Australia I had been to a few interviews for graduate jobs in Data Analytics. As a fresh mathematics graduate with little knowledge of coding I was turned down from every interview with the same reason - I hadn’t enough experience.

The way I see it is taking a year out to travel saved me £12,000 - £15,000 in loans for a masters degree.

In Australia, I spent time studying machine learning and taught myself to code to a high enough standard that I was able to get a job within a pretty short period of time when I had returned. The way I see it is taking a year out to travel saved me £12,000 - £15,000 in loans for a masters degree.

But much more importantly travelling allowed me to realise that I loved coding in the first place. When you finish University there is so much pressure to choose what you want to do quickly. That pressure had me considering all sorts of careers that would have taken me down paths that would have led to me being unhappy in my chosen career.

The freedom of mind and time to follow your intuition is my favourite thing about travelling

In Australia I learnt all sorts, I read many books and took online courses in Finance, Web Development, Data Science and Blockchain. The freedom of mind and time to follow your intuition is my favourite thing about travelling. I became much more confident that something in the world of programming and data would be a good choice for me and was more ready to take on a career.

How travel has helped me grow comfortable socially

During my University and school years, I hadn’t really interacted with that much of a diversity of people. Most of my friends were from Scotland and even although I had always been interested in different cultures I had never felt comfortable enough interacting with people from other countries to establish proper friendships.

The first year in Aus dramatically changed all of that. I met so many people in hostels from everywhere in the World and became very comfortable with making conversation with anyone, no matter where they were from. When I look back at the experience, this has to be one of the main things I got out of it.

How experiences have made me feel alive

When I look back at the best experiences in my life, most of them were about sharing the moment with the person or people I was with and very few were things I had to pay for. Often it is the little things, the ones where you just think wow this is a unique situation.

For a while I lived in a caravan park near Canberra, every night after cooking dinner on the camp stove we would put on some jazz and I would have a competitive game of chess with the French guy I was living with in the camp communal area reserved for volunteers. Every night an overweight possum would try to climb into the camp through a hole in the roof and if we were quiet we could watch him sneak in to try and steal the remains of our food.

One time me and Lulu’s van got bogged in a prime crocodile spot in the middle of nowhere (bogged is the Australian term for stuck in the mud). We waited for help on the side of the road when a strange looking hippie bus appeared in the distance. An older man emerged, “bogged are you? We should make a sign!” - he seemed excited. The man told us his story, he had converted an ex school bus into a spirit vehicle and drove around having many close encounters with massive crocodiles over the years. He offered us the strangest fruit we had ever seen, we opened the top and the middle was like melted chocolate, it was delicious. As predicted by the old man, help appeared and a kind couple in a 4 by 4 pulled our bogged van out of the mud.

Why choose to journey across South East Asia after two years working?

My main motivation for our journey to South East Asia was that I wanted a slight career change and decided to take some time to figure out what it would be. Having time to learn new skills is a great way to decide what you would like to do next in life.

It is amazing what being in a completely new environment does for your motivation and hunger to learn. In fact, Asian culture has inspired me to take this blog a lot further than I had previously intended. Whilst the original intention had been to create the blog for Lulu, I found I enjoyed sharing our experience so much that it has become a joint endeavour.

My office on Koh Chang Island

What is it to travel?

One thing I have noticed whilst writing this article is that it is much easier to think about the reasons you travelled in hindsight. It is much clearer when you have had time to reflect on how the various learnings and perspectives have helped you in your path in life.

I think this sums up what it is to travel. You learn to nurture the art of serendipity - to find what you are not seeking guided by your intuition. Going to places and undertaking activities which cause seemingly beautiful accidents to happen. The chance of which is shrunk by the goal orientated, overplanning, overbooking nature of the modern day world.

It is not completely clear to me now but I have grown confident in my instinct to guide me and when I read this back in a couple of years all the dots will link together.