Not enough money. Not enough time. I have to work on my career. I’ll get to it when I’m older.
The truth is that the external realities are rarely the reason we choose to stay in a job, relationship, or 30 year mortgage. It’s our internal inability to make that leap of faith; to deal with the uncertainty that comes along with a life on the move, with little more than the clothes on your back and your items in your bag.
Here are 12 websites filled with 12 people who decided to make that leap.
1. Down The Road
Quote: “We are Tim and Cindie Travis, an ordinary American couple who decided to live out our dreams. We saved our money, quit our jobs, sold our possessions, and set off to travel around the world by bicycle. We left our home in Arizona, USA on March 31, 2002 and have been on the road ever since. Our plan is to continue to bicycle tour and travel for the next several years.”
2. Gone Walkabout
Quote: “The term Walkabout comes from the Australian Aboriginal. The idea is that a person can get so caught up in one’s work, obligations and duties that the truly important parts of one’s self become lost. From there it is a downward spiral as one gets farther and farther from the true self. A crisis situation usually develops that awakens the wayward to the absent true self.
It is at this time that one must go on walkabout. All possessions are left behind (except for essential items) and one starts walking.
Metaphorically speaking, the journey goes on until you meet yourself. Once you find yourself, you sit down and have a long talk about what one has learned, felt and done in each other’s absence. One talks until there is nothing left to say — the truly important things cannot be said.
If one is lucky, after everything has been said and unsaid, one looks up and sees only one person instead of the previous two.”
3. Modern Gonzo
Quote: “My tiny Modern Gonzo has now become a horde of inspiration from my journeys to over 50 countries (and counting) on 6 continents. I built and maintain the site myself, for I’m certain that within its pages lies a spark that can help others fire up their dreams too. Things appear to happen for a reason after all. You hear about these dream stories, and then one day, you wake up and find yourself living one. ”
4. Expedition 360
Quote: “I had absolutely no interest in the watery sections of such a proposal, having always failed to be convinced by recreational mariners of the supposed fun to be derived from being cold, wet and seasick all at the same time and for extended periods of time.
But the overland sections sounded intriguing: my head was filled with wildly romantic images of riding bicycles across the steppes of central Asia, trekking through the frozen wilderness of the Himalayas, staring into the flames of a roaring campfire after a hard day hacking our way through the Amazon jungle.
And the 2 years the expedition was projected to take traveling through predominantly warmer climes sounded like a welcome escape from that cold, wet island known to us natives as England.”
5. Let Me Stay For A Day
Quote: “My name is Ramon Stoppelenburg . When I was 24 I left my house in The Netherlands, on May 1, 2001, with a backpack filled with clothing, a digital camera, a laptop, and a mobile phone. From May 2001 to July 2003 I traveled the world without any money, visiting people who invited me over through this website. I crossed distance with my thumb or with help of sponsors and supporters. In return for all support I wrote about this all in my daily reports on this website.”
6. Mark Moxon
Quote: “In early 1995 I visited a friend who had just bought a new house. I remember it quite clearly: at the top of the stairs he had a perfectly formed bathroom in which I had what can only be described as a religious experience. The bathroom was one hundred per cent peach. It had a peach-coloured bath, a peach toilet, peach tiles on the wall and a peach basin on which sat a bar of peach-scented soap.
Hanging on the racks were fluffy peach hand towels that neatly matched the peach carpet below, and sitting on the windowsill was a bowl full of peach-coloured potpourri. I realised then and there that if I didn’t do something pretty radical, I was going to end up with a peach bathroom all of my own, and the thought filled me with dread.”
7. Where The Hell Is Matt?
Quote: “Matt is a 29-year-old deadbeat from Connecticut who used to think that all he ever wanted to do in life was make and play videogames. He achieved this goal pretty early and enjoyed it for a while, but eventually realized there might be other stuff he was missing out on. In February of 2003, he quit his job in Brisbane, Australia and used the money he’d saved to wander around the planet until it ran out.
A few months into his trip, a travel buddy gave Matt the idea of dancing everywhere he went and recording it on his camera. This turned out to be a very good idea. Now Matt is quasi-famous as “That guy who dances on the internet. No, not that guy. The other one. No, not him either. I’ll send you the link. It’s funny.”
Quote: “Why are we doing this? We both just graduated college and didn’t exactly pursue the typical business jobs our classmates were chasing, so we needed something to do. Something fun to do, which involved traveling and meeting people and sharing experiences with them. So… we decided to hitchhike to every state capital, in 50 days or less. This gives us the opportunity to meet fun people and see fun places all over the USA.
As much as we’re into seeing all the great places we’ll visit, we’re even more excited to meet the people that will take us to those places. Hitch50 isn’t really a project about places; it’s about people. Are you one of those people?”
Quote: “I view travel as life’s great educator. There’s no better way to learn about people and nature and your place in the world.
I got hooked on travel during my final semester in college, when I studied literature and theater in London. After school ended, I stayed in Europe for a year, working at pubs, record stores, and Italian restaurants to fund further travel. I managed to get as far south as Morocco and as far east as Turkey.
Those dramatic, vivid destinations fueled my appetite for more travel, more experiences, further-flung places. The more you travel, the more you realize how little you’ve seen.
I came home from Europe penniless and began to write for a newspaper in my hometown. These vagabonding dreams were born at that newspaper. I figured I’d travel around the world and write a column for the paper as I went. Of course, travel is hard to fund on a bottom-rung journalist’s salary.
I took a job in Chicago a little later, writing copy for web sites. I’d never seen a web page, had never sent an email before that job. It doesn’t seem like a day’s gone past since I haven’t. I bought the vagabonding.com URL while at that job. That was 1998.”
10. The Travel Junkie
Quote: “My year around-the-world taught me a lot of things: never turn down an invitation, bargain hard and always carry a roll of toilet paper. Most of all, travelling made me globally aware.
I learned about abducted child soldiers in Northern Uganda; the loss of indigenous culture in Tanzania; the construction of the “separation wall,” also dubbed the “apartheid wall,” across the disputed Israeli-Palestinian land. I learned that the Turkish government has been accused of denying the Armenian genocide; that despite the AIDS epidemic in Africa, humanitarian aid money often doesn’t reach the people it is supposed to help. I learned about the persecution of the Falun Gong and saw the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide.
I may be a McGill University graduate but travel has been the ultimate education. My trip has given me a deeper understanding of what’s going on in the world and where I fit within it.”
11. The Argonauts
Quote: “Ask yourself this question, “If you could do anything — anything in the world — what would you do?” You can guess my answer. I feel that life is a gift and that I have only one chance to live. In the words of Henry David Thoreau, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
And, to be honest, I had more than my fair share of angst and riding around the world was the only option I could see to overcome my malaise and become (or is that prove) to the world who I thought I “should” be.”
12. Goliath Expedition
Quote: “Many years ago, when based with the Army in Dover, I would stand on the white cliffs looking out across the English Channel at the distant shores of France in wonder.
I swear, some days I could almost see a ragged figure looking back at me, a spectre from my future. I could not help but wonder what he had seen along the way and who he was now. It was difficult to imagine what he’d given to get to that point. What would he be thinking, looking back across the Channel at that young paratrooper on the other side?
Well now my life is all about closing that loop. It’s about standing in France looking across the Channel at the White Cliffs of Dover. Maybe I’ll be able to spot that young man so eager to prove himself, prove that he could hold his own and go the distance. Prove it to himself more than anyone else…
One day I will stand on the coast of France, closing the loop and you will be there with me.”
Are they any websites I missed that have inspired you to go traveling? Please share them in the comments.
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Ian MacKenzie is the founder and former editor of Brave New Traveler. He is Head of Video at Matador Network. Ian is also an independent filmmaker, with his first feature (One Week Job) released in 2010. His more recent projects include Sacred Economics and Occupy Love.
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