Many people dream of the day when they can quit their job and head off travelling for a few months or longer. I was lucky enough to spend 11 months doing just that. In the years prior to my trip I saved huge portions of my wage and planned the locations that I was itching to visit. The last day of work was an emotional rollercoaster as I said goodbye to my students and colleagues at the small private academy in Korea where I’d spent the past 20 months teaching English. Sitting on the late night flight to the Philippines, I shed a tear as the wheels lifted off the Korean soil. Korea had been my home for 20 glorious months, and at the point of leaving I was uncertain whether I’d ever visit again.
For just over 6 months I explored the beauty of South East Asia; revelling in their culture and sampling exotic food. For the final 5 months of my period of unemployment I travelled around the UK and the USA. During this period of luxury I tried to relish every spectacular encounter, but without much structure in my life I felt that the days were moulding into one. I drifted from one delicious meal to the next, collecting amazing experiences as I went.
I’m not saying that there was anything negative about the time that I spent travelling, but perhaps I just spent too long in this state of euphoria. For a long time, I’ve believed that you can’t truely appriciate pleasure without pain, and this trip epitomised my philosophy. Without the trials and tribulations of working life, I began to be desensitised by what I was experiencing.
Therefore, it was with great enthusiasm that I accepted a job teaching in South Korea (again). The time that I spent travelling taught me a multitude of things, but there’s one fact that I’ll cherish as I step back into the working world: a weeks work makes the weekend so much sweeter.