Fears and doubts before spending one year on the road

Ania scared before the trip

What would you feel before setting off into the unknown; giving up your job and your flat, selling all your possessions and planning to live a minimalistic day-to-day life for a year?  Would you feel uneasy about visiting some of Asia most oppressive dictatorships? Or would it be that getting entering strangers’ cars and houses would make you feel cowed? Here at HitchHikersHandbook we are not superheroes either and in this very personal post I would like to share with you all my recent fears and doubts…

The Long Way Home trip map

Our rough itinerary with the intention to cover 27,000 km by thumb

Final trip preparations and last goodbyes

The last four months have been truly hectic and stressful. First, trying to film and edit our promotional video, then contacting travel magazines and news desks that might have been interested in covering our travel project and now looking for sponsors who would provide some free travel gear or insurance for an already very expensive trip. And of course, we have been busy keeping in touch with people here in Barcelona, who we will soon have to say our last goodbyes to.

Parties in Barcelona

We’ve had some crazy parties in Barcelona

Our last four years in this amazing and cosmopolitan place have been sheer magic. Living far away from home, learning a new language and earning a living by doing something I had never done before have been the biggest milestones for me. And so, the decision to leave Barcelona didn’t come easily and we had been postponing it every year since we had moved in.

But the time has come when we realised that we can’t live this life forever. Being English teachers in Barcelona is an extremely easy and pleasant life but we would eventually like to open our own business (be it a hostel or a language school) and it would be nigh on impossible to do it here. Therefore we have decided to move on and have one more epic trip before we settle down a bit.

Jon enjoying claras in Barcelona

Jon enjoying a clara in Barcelona’s autumn sun

Travel funk

The trip will finally start in January and we will be leaving Barcelona before Christmas, so in a month’s time. Last week we both handed in our notices and I was surprised how hard it was. I mean, not the conversation itself but the feeling of leaving everything behind. In a month’s time we will be officially unemployed and homeless, and nearly all our earthly possessions will be reduced to two 10 km rucksacks. Our health insurance will expire in four months. From the end of January onwards we will be living day-by-day existence, not worrying about work and pension plans, about planting roots and having kids, about end of term reports and electricity bills. We will have to focus on simpler and more down to earth things like covering around 200-300 kilometers per day, finding accommodation, food and internet, and learning something new every day.

It is all very exciting but very scary at the same time. I’m not worried that someone might rob or murder us, as hitchhiking has often proved to us that there are good people everywhere and there are more chances of being fed and sheltered than getting mugged or raped. What scares me, and this is a completely new thing for me, is the fact of being somehow outside of the secure, predictable and mundane middle-class existence, of not being your regular member of society, of not having a home to go back to after a tiring day and not having a job for nearly a year.

Ania scared before the trip

It’s all too much for me

But hey, travelling is good, right? And experiencing reisefieber is also perfectly normal. As the president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, once said:

“the size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity of achieving them. If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough”.

And what are your biggest fears when you’re travelling? Share your experience in the comments.

written by: Ania

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  • W każdej chwili możecie wrócic do domu, do Katowic !!!

  • To me, coming back is always harder than setting off. Building a mundane existence is harder than destroying it, at least to me.
    I know I don’t exactly sound comforting so I’ll shut up now ;)
    On the plus side – I’ve definitely never regretted any of my trips (in spite of the tough time after them).

    • You are right, adapting back into “normal life” after months of travelling is always hard. No change comes easily, but I keep telling myself that after 2 weeks it will all become our bread and butter.

  • Good luck! My girlfriend and I also plan a similar trip, set to start around July (or when we earn enough money), but after previous journeys we decided that covering everything by hitchhiking is not the best way. Therefore we plan to use several means of transport, including Trans-Siberian rail (mainly because we don’t want to spend the whole visa time looking down on the road from truck cabin perspective, but rather we want to save some time to be able to explore Baikal). Later, we plan to buy bikes in southern China and cycle down to Singapore within about 6 months – no rush at all, it’s not a race. The main reason for that decision is… Well, we’ve seen some watermelons on a side of the road that fell off a pick-up in Iran when we were passing by in a truck – if we were on bikes, we would just stop and eat them, but when you hitchhike, it’s impossible :D Therefore we want to travel across all these countries with no rush, going from one village to another and using more of our time experiencing the place, not only counting kilometres. After we see enough, we want to fly to Nepal and do some hikes there (in 2-3 months), and afterwards return to South-East Asia and try to get across Indonesia to Timor Leste, Papua-New Guinea and Solomon Islands. Which way – I don’t know, I really want to try boat hitchhiking :) We plan to come back to Poland by October 2016, but honestly – if I don’t have to, I will not come back at all.
    Regarding Iran, you are welcome to our blog:
    Especially you, Ania, as it is all in Polish :) I’ve posted some articles about this country recently :)

  • I think it’s natural to feel this way and even though I feel like the day will come when I’ll pack my things and do the same, I’m also a bit afraid of stepping outside the middle-class existence.
    Good luck on this journey and I’ll be following each and every step! Wish you guys an amazing trip!