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Jake Rich on the life lessons he’s learnt from his Grandparents

A young man named Jake sitting on a couch with an elderly woman.

Guest post by Jake Rich.

My name is Jake Rich and I am 27-years of age. I was born in 1989, and my Grandma was born in 1929. I’m a digital content creator & storyteller across numerous facets of the online world, but I also work in-house for
Gelato Messina, one of Australia’s best gelateria’s (as voted by the Good Food Guide) as their digital content creator. Late last year, Contiki hit me up to reunite me with my Grandmother who currently resides in Cairns, though spent most of her life in the UK. And along the way, I reflected a great deal on my upbringing, parents and time with my Grandmother. Here are a few lessons I gathered…

Growing up, our mum used to take us to see our grandma in England. We travelled to the UK every second year throughout primary school. Fortunately enough I was able to travel internationally which is something I’ve always treasured. I’ve become very accustomed to the lifestyle & motion of travel, from the flights abroad but also from living remotely in Far North Queensland. My surroundings have opened my mind to believe in something bigger than ourselves. Movement has always been a big part of my life & I think that’s how I like to live my life now – busy, moving, and working towards the next big goal. As someone who travels quite a bit, I think travel is a common thread that runs through my whole family. My Grandmother used to travel a lot on cruise ships, from New York to the West Indies – she explained to me how much it changed her life, all the memories of different islands, different people and how they behave.

Jake and Rich standing in front of a photo album.

I’m extremely grateful for the life & education that my parents and Grandparents fostered growing up. They are all our biggest teachers. Your mind is your biggest asset and the way you think directly impacts the way you live and the goals you set. My parents always supported my decision to seek the road less travelled & for that I am grateful.

A woman is sitting on a chair in a living room. (No changes made)

I booked a South East Asian trip last year, travelling through Cambodia, Vietnam & Indonesia. It was my first time travelling solo. It was so liberating to be doing all the things I wanted without having something holding me back. I would walk up to a tour desk and just book something. I met strangers that became friends & never felt ‘alone.’ It really struck a chord with me because I feel like if you can travel by yourself, you can do anything. Travelling with friends is great don’t get me wrong, but just once I think everyone should try and see if they’ve learnt the necessary people skills to navigate & communicate their way around the globe. It’s a great feeling because you’re always going to learn something new when you’re looking at something with a fresh set of eyes. That feeling you get from travel will never change, because those who seek will always find what it is they’re looking for. 

Do what you want to do and not what you think you have to do. I guess when I was younger (22) I was comparing myself a lot to my peers. Society has a way of doing that to us. My advice to my younger 22-year-old self would be to just keep following that inner curiosity. Keep learning new skills & don’t compare those skills to others because the skills I’ve got now have certainly had a huge impact on the way I am able to tell my stories and inspire others.

A young man named Jake sitting on a couch with an elderly woman.

My biggest regret is not studying film and TV in high school. I really wanted to do it but thought it wouldn’t rank well with my overall position. I thought it wasn’t a good subject to do because it didn’t have ‘smart people’ taking the course. The fact is: we don’t all learn the same & my skills aren’t in maths & science, they are in design and creativity so I really regret not making that decision to follow my inner compass earlier.

Jake Rich's hand holding a piece of paper.

I’ve learnt that the risks you take early in your life can really change the outcome of your future. I was studying property (hated it) & decided to at a whim go on a van tour throughout the uni break across Europe with my sister. It gave me that little boost to recognise that I wasn’t quite on the right path with my studies and that there was something more suited to me. So I came back, quit my degree and enrolled in a music production course which opened up the can of worms to my career in the creative industries.

My grandma grew up in the era where hierarchal status created a lot of barriers. A young single mother in her day was heavily frowned upon and she certainly wasn’t offered any support in helping to raise my mother. She’s really taught me to be empathic towards others as it was never an emotion that was shared as much with her given her circumstances. She scored a great paying job working as first lady on a cruise ship with her late husband and was always an advocate towards breaking down the servant barrier in the poorer countries she was fortunate to visit whilst cruising.

My grandma always made a point of how fortunate I am to live the life I’ve got. As much as she travelled whilst cruising and got to the see the world, the purpose of her travels was to work. She was determined to provide a better life for my mum and knew that it would never be possible if she didn’t work hard. This mentality is heavily engrained me. No matter how talented someone may be, without having an unshakeable desire to work hard, achieving my goals would never be possible.

The learning has never stopped. My grandma continues to tell me about the world in a way I would never have know, from the stories and adventures she went on throughout her life. My mother travelled until she was in her late 30’s crossing the Middle East, most of Europe, Africa, and numerous parts of Asia, so adventure has always run in my blood! I’m really about making travel a lifestyle and not just a single trip here & there. It’s about the long game and man is there a heck of lot I’ve still got to see & do.

Visiting my 88-year old Grandmother, I realised how much of a difference the story of our lives can play out. Because of her love of travel, I think it was passed on to my parents and then now – me. Reflecting back on the year of 2016, and realising how much I have developed as a person, I truly believe you become what you think. So this year, I’m challenging myself to think & do the things that make me happy, with the people that are supportive of my ideas. Self-belief is everything. It may take you some time to work it out but when you find it, you’ll be unstoppable!

Instagram is now: @mr.jakerich

Twitter: @mrjakerich

Facebook: @mrjakerich

YouTube: @jakerich555

So now, we put it to you, fellow readers and explorers – What will you do next year that you’ll remember forever? If, like we believe it does, the answer includes travel, head on over to Contiki to discover the super savings on offer.