This question was asked of us repeatedly when Ciarán and I told people our travel plans in January 2018. The idea of giving up our jobs and the beautiful apartment we had made into our home baffled people (especially our Mothers). Why wasn’t it enough? Why would we give it all up? Why would we want to travel the world?
Believe me, travelling wasn’t always on the cards for us. We worked hard and saved our butts off for three years with the intention of buying a house. As we were getting older, exponential pressure was building on us to get married, have a baby and purchase our dream home. We watched our friends who were doing this and saw how happy they were. We knew for them; their desires were fulfilled. If we followed in their footsteps, then we would be just as content……Right?
However, looking back now, I had what seemed like a constant itch, but never knew where it came from or how to scratch it. It appeared to be only briefly remedied at the weekends when Ciarán and I would engross ourselves in Michael Palin and David Attenborough documentaries before discussing where we want to visit next and what holidays to prioritize. Thus, the creation of our “Retirement Travel Bucket List” – A list of all the exotic locations we wanted to see by the time we were 60.
With my background in Health and Safety, I have never been known to live on the wild side. I permanently err on the side of caution, and our Bucket List held no exception. It brought me great joy, but often made me think very negatively. What if we could never afford these trips, what if old age was a gift denied to us…. what if, what if, what if!
I regularly discussed my fear with Ciarán, but he always managed to sooth them away. Ciarán is the strongest person I know so when he tells me he is going to do something, I know I can always trust him to deliver. He is my backbone and greatest supporter. He promised me that we would tick off our bucket list together and I always trusted him.
On the 2nd December 2017, after putting up our Christmas tree, we toasted our loved ones who were no longer with us. We proceeded to drink too much of our mulled wine concoction, enabling us to end up in deep discussion about how life can be too short. It was then that we decided to take a six-month sabbatical to travel the world.
We woke up the next morning with our heads spinning. Not because of the alcohol from the night previous, but because of our nerves and excitement. We both realised that travel was going to be an integral part of our happiness. We wanted to live our life to the fullest. We felt that we were finally discovering our purpose and aligning with it.
I found the more we prepared, the more we consciously lived each day. For us travel enabled us to find our inner selves but more importantly, it helped us realise that we are the Masters of our own destiny.
Travelling is not for everyone but being positive and discovering your values is. Along the way, we received a few knocks, but now out the other side, I realise that ticking off our “Retirement Travel Bucket List” was the best decision we ever made.
NEXT WEEK: TRAVEL BUDGET CALCULATOR: HOW TO SAVE FOR AN AROUND THE WORLD TRIP