It was 2006 and I was looking at taking a break from military service. I always liked the idea of taking a gap year and exploring some of the world. I had recently completed a tour of Iraq and had a spare bit of cash in my back pocket, and being single, I could do what I wanted with it.
The idea of buying a house was not a good one. I didn't like the idea of being tied down to one place and living around mortgage payments. So the new idea was to become a civilian and live my life for a year travelling the globe and seeing what happens.
My good friend Zac was keen on the idea too. So we sat down and looked at the map and each picked places we would like to visit and tried to come up with a plan that both of us were happy with.
The ticket we purchased were from STA Travel. The guys there were helpful and clearly they have sorted this out for people before. The ticket allowed us to travel all the way round but we had to keep going in the same direction. Going back on yourself was one of the stipulations.
The countries we decided on were:-
- New Zealand
- Cook Islands
- United States
It took us just shy of a year to complete this trip and it still remains one of the best things I have done. The places I visited, the people I met and the experiences I shared make this trip evidence that life for me is about adventure and experience. It gave me the travel bug and left me wanting more. I thrive on planning future trips.
Because of this trip I felt a lot more confident in myself and in my actions and decision making. I still never take anything for granted when visiting foreign lands but I've learnt to read situations well. The world is not all the same place. But, if you are sensible with your approach you will meet some of the most warm and hospitable people in places you never thought you would.