If the first question I'm asked from people back home is 'Have you had fun?', I might find it hard to hide my disappointment. You see in that instant you will have unintentionally and inadvertently informed me that you are clueless and somewhat ignorant to the reasons behind my undertaking of such a journey.
'Fun', I'm assuming, is the primary objective for teenagers and gap-year students travelling ready to embark on the time of their life before joining 'the real world'. Ironically, it's that very world that I've questioned and tried to escape.
I'm a man closer to 35 than 30 and so I set out with an entirely different mindset; a more mature mindset. A mindset seeking cultural enlightenment, personal growth, life enrichment, adventure and many other positive adjectives one associates with travel. In saying that, of course I've had fun as regular viewers will know. Naturally though, one persons interpretation of fun might be different to the next and so 'fun' can be perceived by a variety of manifestations. If every week I uploaded pictures of me drinking beer, sipping cocktails and generally socialising, that would convey a strong perception of 'fun', would it not? However, if I uploaded content like that that each and every week, I'm pretty sure regular viewers would swiftly become less interested in tuning in here and I wouldn't blame them.
I therefore hope that my style of reporting through this blog has been understood and appreciated by those that perhaps don't know me as well as others. As per my character, I do not write to invoke envy or jealously but to inform, entertain and inspire.
My objective then, other than collating my experiences for future memories. was to broadcast to people just what amazing, awe-inspiring sights we have here in Europe proving that for those on a budget, you don't need to spend thousands of pounds to cross the Atlantic to attain travel-satisfaction.
Whatever I have seen, you can also see too - with the right mindset.
So for me discipline had to come before fun and if you think that's a bit of a killjoy statement, I must remind you that it's been discipline over the years which has granted me this privileged position. Well, not discounting that first big leap of faith into the unknown those months ago. One thing saying, another thing doing...right?
So how has travel changed me?
After pondering how I could best convey to you some changes I feel within myself, I've managed to come up with a few illustrations...
Next up I've provided a reminder of one of my first important writings written well before I set off (as shown on 'Why am I doing this?' page).
Having now reviewed this list, I'm thrilled to have 'ticked' off so many items - most of which point towards a positive change or character improvement.
Here's what I wrote:
And for my last comparable example, I've listed some example search engine criteria of stuff I would search for, say one year ago and the type of content I've been searching on these days. These topics I often enjoy digesting during a chilled breakfast environment and often during the course of the day:
Past sample search activity:
- IT jobs in and around Bristol
- Cost of average kitchen conversion
- Weekend television top choices to watch
- ISA, premium bonds or pension for best return
- What are currently affordable sports cars
Current sample search activity:
- Ancient Rome and Greece timeline
- The rise and fall of the Ottoman and Byzantine empire
- How to learn the Cyrillic alphabet
- What is Humanism
- How can I make a difference in the World
I'd say such contrasting search criteria are strong indicators of positive improvement and change, wouldn't you? Here's hoping that when I acclimatize and transition back into 'UK life', it doesn't suppress the changes I feel within myself. Tragically, I have a concerning feeling that it just might...