Well, it’s a known fact that I love clambering!!! It has given to me, more than I could ever give back. From mental strength to having extremely defined mitts (muscle tits). Since I started climbing 4.5 years ago, I always dreamt of travelling the world for climbing. After a year of climbing in the gym and at local crags, I went to the Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia. I don’t think, I have ever looked at a holiday the same again. I was hooked, by my climbing rope of course. I then thought, why not take 4 weeks off, 3 times a year. I worked hard for this goal. I placed myself in 3-4 jobs, where my employers were happy about me taking time off. I was only around for 1-2 days/week at each job, so no one ever missed me that much. However, another ultimate goal was in the works... In my travels, the people I’d met had been on even longer holidays, year-long ones! My mind was blown; I knew what was in store for me next.
2 to 4 week holidays - Give me more!
Life experience and self-development.
One of my goals on this trip is to grow as a person. I’m never going to grow up, but I can still learn stuff. I’m not going to be the same Austrasian when I come back from a global 15 month trip. In modern society, we are usually trapped by a single way of thinking, we are married to our jobs and most of what we do is dictated by money. As humans, we all have our little quirks and issues to work through. A trip puts you in situations where you will be uncomfortable or will need to do some problem solving. Some personal areas of improvement that I would like to focus on are self-confidence, being self-compassionate and standing up for myself in difficult situations. Seeing the world can make us appreciate how lucky we are at home and maybe, in my case, learn a little more geography. Is Greece next to Italy?
Climbing trips are usually pretty cheap compared to a typical touristy holiday. Airfares and getting to and from places still adds up. So the less you move around, the more you will save and the longer you can stay. I don’t class myself as a complete dirt bag, but I am still on a budget of $50 AUD a day. This includes airfares, food, transport and accommodation. Add a little bit of spending money on that. It’s also nice to treat yourself on occasion, so do so.
I’ve always wondered what would happen to my climbing if I did it full time. When I did some of my previous 4-6 week trips, I felt so strong and would start ticking off so many climbs. So I wonder what will happen if I climb for 3 months at a time? Only time will tell. Enjoying the climbing in so many different areas is my motivation. Climbing makes me feel free, especially when my instability on the ground outweighs my gracefulness on the rock tenfold.
I graduated 5 years ago as an Oral Health The-rapist. Since then, I’ve been working part-time in the field. Leaving for a year can be very detrimental to most people's careers, that’s why I didn’t leave after 1 or even 3 years. I chose 5 because I now have fantastic referees and enough experience to get me a job anywhere I like when I get back to Australia. Even though I love my job, it was getting to a point where a break was needed. My conclusion was that, I would not want to stay in the field for much longer if I kept working the way I did. So yes, as sad as it was to say good-bye to all my patients and work colleagues, it was time.
What is involved in taking a year off?
I needed to know how much money I needed to save up. So the first spreadsheet I made was for “cost/area” and the “total cost” of the whole trip. I put down Greece, Turkey, USA, Canada and China. I did my research for these areas (flights, food, accommodation and transport), always trying to overestimate. Spreadsheet number 2 was for “General expenses at home”, I then was able to have the total expenses for when I was away expenses for my holiday and expenses for at home.
Now I knew how much I needed for the 15 months off (at home and holiday expenses). It was time to see how much I would be able to save. This dictated when I was able to start my trip. I also, realised that I wasn’t making enough money, so something had to change. I ended up making a spreadsheet on my “Work Options” and I went for the best work life balance. I had to drop a day at my lower paying jobs and attached on higher paying days. I also wanted a cash buffer, just in case. In the end, I saved up more than I thought I would. Happy days! The thing is, if you have enough money, then you can keep travelling and if you run out, then you can always head home or work while you are away. It still makes me nervous, thinking about not earning anything for the year…. Then I think about it and I’m earning priceless experiences.
Costs at home, suspend and direct debit.
When I decided to go on this trip a year ago, I kept track of all my bills. I ended up direct debiting as many as I could and asking my sister-in-law to keep track of my mail. I found out many memberships such as gym, health insurance, etc. could be suspended. I kept my car and my dental hygienist memberships, making sure I did all the prerequisites for the next year to keep my registration. I looked out for expiry dates on credit cards etc, renewing them straight away if they were going to expire. On more serious matters, I assigned a power of attorney, so that in a case of emergency, my power of attorney can sign on my behalf.
What do you need to bring for a longer trip:
- Copies of important paperwork e.g. Passports, license, credit card
- Passport approved photos
- Appropriate visas e.g. More than 3 months in U.S.A needs a special visa
- Medication refer to Travelling Well, Dr Deborah Mills book. Great book for medical advice while travelling.
- A few different ways of getting money either credit cards or travel money cards
- Less luggage, you can buy stuff when you’re away.
- International drivers license
I’m bloody enjoying my trip, so get on the bandwagon too!!!