I have always found it awkward telling people why I decided to quit my stable job, why I sold my loved possessions, and why I left the social security of my family and friends. I am not sure if people judge my decision as much as I think they do, I guess I've always been a 'actions speak louder than words' type of guy. I would be lying if I said that I didn't think about returning home to a "normal" life once in a while, but I feel that I have started something with traveling, and that to this date, it has not finished.
1. Unsatisfied, unchallenged, unchanged
I started traveling a little bit later than most people. When I check into a hostel, I am usually greeted by 18 year old's (totally a good thing, I wish I started that early). When I was younger I was always day dreaming about fast cars, girls, expensive clothes, being in the army, drinking and partying. Until one day that stopped being the case. I remember lying on my bed staring at the sealing, I wasn't depressed I was just empty. Everything that I thought was making me happy, really was only distracting me from how empty my life had been. When I finished high school, everything was looking great. I had a good job, was making a decent amount of money (more then most people from high school), had a nice car, a pretty girlfriend. Years went on, and the things I loved had started disappearing or stopped mattering. I lost my girlfriend, the car loan became a burden, waking up to go to work was a nightmare. I was surrounded by close minded people, and institutionalized by the army. I felt like I was loosing my character, I didn't know who I was. The reason that I stared traveling was because I thought that there must be more to life then this. I was afraid that waking up to go to work and waiting for the weekend so that I could release my frustration through drinking was going to be how I spent the rest of my life.
As I kid I was always very active, playful and had a powerful imagination. My adulthood had not turned out the way I imagined it. After working 10-12 hour days for months, my boss told me to take some time off, this is the first time I traveled to New Zealand. One month on the road, with no phone sim card, no GPS, no map.
That one month did more for my growth, than the 6 years before it. I meet so many interesting people, saw so many beautiful things, as a result I could not be the same person I was before that journey.. Before I knew it, I left again to go to New Zealand.
Traveling offered more excitement, challenged me, and satisfied my inner playful self. It open my imagination and unleashed the caged spirit I had inside me. I needed more adventure in my life !
Sounds crazy right ! I had hundreds of mates, and traveling alone was going to cure my loneliness ? Well as crazy as that sounds, its very true. I loved and still love my family and friends, I always will, but I just needed something more. I needed more authentic relationships, with less worry or expectations. I needed to be surrounded by open minded people. Don't get me wrong, the close mates at home and my family are the most special people in my life, so it wasn't that I was running away from home, it was that I was chasing more.
I was born in Serbia, at the age of 8 my family moved to Croatia, and by the age of 9 once again I moved, this time to Australia. Since arriving to Australia in 2001, I have changed 7 schools, moved to 9 different houses. Throughout my whole childhood I was constantly meeting new people, and I guess I became addicted to making friends, hearing new stories from all walks of life.
I cannot tell you the amount of lessons I've learned from the people that came into my life for a brief moment. I guess the biggest lesson is that "everything comes and goes, even life it's self. If you love something, don't suffocate it, instead enjoy it while it lasts, and then once it's gone be happy that you have experience it and if you are going through a hard time, wait out the storm, because every storm eventually passes".
3. Mind opening
As I said, I didn't just pack my bags and leave one day. It was a slow progression, from a small trip to the States, then Europe, then New Zealand, it was slowly opening my mind more, and more. It showed me that there was a different way of living life, and that there was much more happiness in the people I meet, and the things I've experience than any materialistic thing I've ever bought. Traveling has made me shoot with my camera, not my gun. It had showed me that there are nice people out there, a lot of them in fact. The more that I learned, the more I wanted to learn. Through the slow progression I became less angry, learned what I needed to improve on. Slowly I am becoming more patient, understanding and less judgmental. As cheesy as this might sound, all you really need it love.
I quit my job because I was unhappy with life, I was unhappy at work, I was unhappy with people, I was bored and tired. I found a way to enjoy working, to enjoy people's company and to be stimulated. I found exactly what I was looking for.