Real Talk

I went on a sabbatical at 32 and it changed everything for me

Aren't you too old to take a sabbatical in your 30s? Maturity should mean being more responsible and capable of dealing with unforeseen circumstances...

"Shouldn't you think about other things at 30s?!"

Yes, like how I’m going to buy a 3sqm flat in London with one salary and pay a mortgage for the next 25 years. These were the questions I got asked. Pretty much everytime I told someone I wanted to go on a round the world trip. Yes, on my own. Yes, I’m 32.

Let’s be frank – When you turn 30 it’s like a big slap on the face. Especially when you’ve worked in a fast-paced & fast-growing fashion high street career since 20 something. You start asking yourself what your place in the world is. So I asked myself – When was the last time I felt truly happy… When I was in Goa on a yoga retreat in February. And when I was catching the first sun rays of the season in Ibiza. Oh, and on that boat on Lake Como!

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The list goes on and turns out that every time I felt truly happy and connected with myself, I wasn't at home. I decided that sooner or later I was going to pack my stuff and go on an adventure.

Why is it so good to do it when you are 30? I think the answer is quite simple: you know yourself better. You know what you like. You have your shit together – and that allows you you think and decide quicker. And let’s admit it, there is a bunch of things to consider when planning an epic trip.

Choosing the destinations was the easy part for me. They’ve been the must see on my list for years: Peru, Japan, Indonesia, Myanmar. I then worked out the order based on the time of the year when the weather is good and added a couple of stop overs between continents. Ta-dah. The money – Now this is a tricky one. I was hearing stories from my grown up 20 something colleagues about their travels in their early 20s. Doing it on the back of their students loan. Left the country with 2K. On this matter – be realistic.

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The moment in which I made the transaction for my round the world ticket, I was more nervous than I was while taking my GED. But after that you’ll have to go. No way back. Every time you doubt your decision, immerse yourself in planning, reading and dreaming about your trip. You’ll give answers to your fears and let the excitement grow.

The days after you catch that plane will flow naturally. You wake up every morning and can do whatever you fancy with your day. Eat what you like, when you are hungry. Decide whether you like or dislike museums and don’t have to fake it with anyone. You’ll get lost sometimes but you’ll always find yourself back on track. You’ll discover the kindness of strangers and be surprised about how much you didn’t notice before of this fantastic world we live in.

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You can’t be prepared for everything. Be prepared for the things that scare you. You’ll have time to deal with the unexpected only when it happens. Traveling on your own is the purest form of life I happened to experience and it’s so empowering it will blow your mind and self-esteem away.

They say travel will change your life. It does.

The biggest lesson I learnt in my first month is: when self-doubt gets in the way look at it and tell it you are stronger. Plan your first solo trip, even if it’s a 3 days city break.

Has travel helped you to push past your limits and see the world? Share your stories with us here and you could see your work published on six-two…