My name is Nathaniel, and I travel around the world with my partner, Darcy.
When I first went traveling, the autumn after I graduated high school, I was in a fairly unique position. I had practically been raised on the idea that I should explore the world. My parents had done it, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, the adults I was close to; all of them had been traveling and had priceless experiences.
Naturally, I hit the road.
Before leaving, I did everything I could to ensure the perfect trip. I bought my tickets months in advance. I researched all the best gear and bought whatever I thought would help. The zip-off pants to shorts. The woven nylon belt that can hold 1/2 a metric ton (in case I needed to strap myself to something, I suppose?). The 60L Gregory pack. I bought the laundry soap sheets (little sheets of soap that dissolved in water), a rubber clothesline, first-aid kit, collared shirt (in case I went to any fancy events), a sleeping bag, blow up mat, and the traveler-specific $30 underwear (which I swear by to this day).
I planned a trip that would take me from Iceland, through Europe and North Africa, into India, then into South East Asia before terminating in China.
For money I would work along the way. My charm and quick smile would get me out of any tight situation. I was READY.
At least, so I thought.
I spent my week in Iceland re-watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I didn’t want to spend any money exploring the natural wonders: the geysers, volcanos, or glaciers. I thought, “Nah, I should keep my money for the future. Can’t blow it all in one place.” In the end, the only things I saw in Reykjavik were a few odd shops, the grocery store, and the living room of my host.
The problem was, I only thought I was ready. I thought the desire to explore would overwhelm everything. Instead, I was jet-lagged, cold (September in Iceland wasn’t a well-planned move), and waiting for something to happen.
The trip continued in a similar fashion. In certain cities, like Paris, I spent the day exploring, of course. But in other places, I dawdled away my time. In part, the blame isn’t mine. I spent a lot of my time looking for my next host, then my host after that, and had very little time to explore and when I had the time, I was simply exhausted from my schedule. I was trying to explore Europe on 5 Euros a day. I had heard this was possible, as the hostels are dirt cheap, the food is cheaper, and the places spectacular. As it turned out. my information was a little out of date.
So I learned. I learned how to find cheap places. I learned how to find the best food, the best pastries, the hidden places you only hear about. And I made mistakes. I took trains when I should have flown, flown when I should have taken ferries, and saved where I should have splurged.
When I returned home, sick, tired, and a little broken, I felt lost. I came home thinking I was done with traveling forever. I wasn’t cut out to travel. I didn’t have that spark that everyone else had. That night, sleeping on my old futon mattress on the floor of my mom’s house (who was totally over the moon to have me home. In fact, she was so happy she was late picking me up from the airport.), I realized something. I had never felt so happy as I was when I was on the road.
You don’t need gear, although it’s fun to buy. You don’t need a plan since they rarely work anyway. You don’t need tons of money. All you need is the slightest desire to travel and the smallest urge to go somewhere. Traveling will kindle that desire and foster that urge until you find yourself on the road for the past eleven months and no intention of stopping with a bag full of stories and worn-out shoes slapping at the ground beneath you.
When Darcy and I decided to go traveling together, we made a million little mistakes. Today, we still make a million little mistakes, but at least they aren’t the same ones we used to make. And it’s okay to make mistakes, they will happen whether or not you want them to. Our intent with this book is to give you a type of launching platform, something that lets you go off into the world without making the mistakes we did, and to have adventures we haven’t.
This book is designed to help you, whatever the traveler you intend to be. The budget traveler, the eco-friendly traveler, the traveler with a partner, the solo traveler, or the week-long traveler.
Some travelers start scared, some prepared, some go with three bags and all the gear they could need, and some leave with only a passport, their toothbrush, and the clothes on their back. It all comes down to who you are, and if you don’t know, that’s okay, you’ll find out soon enough!
We hope this book can help you on your journey, and if you have any questions, we’re always available.
Sincerely, Nathaniel and Darcy
If you’d like to read it, but can’t afford it, message me!