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Life Is An Opportunity: Go All The Way

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Naked and screaming you arrived: a living, breathing organism made of flesh, skin and bones on a rock spinning a thousand miles per hour as it levitates around a giant ball of fire in an infinite universe of exploding stars, black holes and myriad galaxies. You arrived in your physical form with a body to explore with, a head to think with and time to play with – time that is, to undertake the brief, bittersweet journey that we call life. Planet earth is the stage for that journey – a playground of immense beauty where there are endless possibilities and where one thing can’t be denied – that from the day we are born til the day that we all die: life here is an opportunity.

It is an opportunity for us to come to terms with the mind-blowing scenario of life on this floating rock and decide how we are going to make the most of it. To decide how many of our dreams we are going to follow; to decide how many places we are going to visit; to decide how any professions we are going to undertake; to decide how many people we are going to share our journey with. Life is an opportunity – a chance to make our lives extraordinary and daring; a chance for all of us to push the lever of life down hard, chase the horizon and explore our wildest dreams. Life is an opportunity.


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Yet when one looks at the world and society, how many people can honestly say they are pushing the lever down hard? Who are doing all that they can to make the most of their existence in the universe? Who are either chasing or living their dreams? We are all different, and one person’s version of a life well-lived is different to another’s, but so commonly as individuals we are dis-empowered and discouraged to neglect our dreams and passions (no matter how ridiculous they are) in order the be moulded and shaped by the cultures in which we are raised to live a life that is just ‘okay’ and ‘safe’. We forget that life is an opportunity and do things not because it’s true to our own nature, but in order to keep up with culture; to do something because everybody else ‘does that’ and because other people expect it of us. We dis-empower ourselves, forget the extraordinary reality of our existence on the levitating rock and don’t take full advantage of the opportunity of life.

That is why every now and again, one of us has to come forward from the herd and remind people that they are all individuals; that they are free – free to chase their dreams and dance the ridiculous dance of life in an infinite universe – free to abandon ideology and a culture that is oppressive to the true nature of the individual self. That they are free to realise once more that life is an opportunity for the artist to create beautiful works of art; for the athlete to set new records; for the scientist to find new cures for diseases; for the builder to create new structures; for the explorer to explore new places. It is a moment in time where the individual has the brief period of a few decades to make the most of their ticket in the playground of planet earth. And not to let anyone, any culture or any ideology hinder his or herself in any way, shape or form.

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When Martin Luther King stood up to fight for the freedom of his people, he knew that he would put himself in grave danger – but he also knew life was an opportunity. When Darwin published his revolutionary theory of evolution that shapes the way he see nature now, he knew he would be hounded by the religious establishment – but he also knew life was an opportunity. When Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hilary first ascended Mount Everest they knew the immense dangers involved – but they also knew life was an opportunity. They knew that such an existence is precious and finite – and thus an opportunity to go all the way; to stand up for humanity and push the boundaries of exploration, passion and adventure.

And so, just like them, it is down to each and every one of us to explore our passions and dreams – no matter how big or small they may be deemed. It is down to us to look in the mirror, gaze into the eye of self and say: what am I doing right now to live my life the best I can? What am I doing this week that keeps me on track to taking full advantage of this extraordinary reality I am a part of? Ultimately, what am I doing to go all the way in this magical and beautiful world? Because, as far as we know, there is only one life. So push the lever down hard; make the most of it. Explore. Dream. Discover. Create.

This is your opportunity.

Why You Should Consider Travelling After University

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Okay, you finish university this summer and you’re still unsure about what to do with your life. You pick up the rule-book of our capitalist society and flick to the chapter after university. ‘Chapter Five: Post-Degree Life’“You must now apply for a job in a business and field that you can see yourself working in for the rest of your career, nine hours a day, five days a week, year after year.” You read on with trepidation: “you must do this so that you can get a deposit on a house, get a brand new car, a new wardrobe, get those items advertised to you on the TV, and you must get all of this before your peers do”.

All those possessions you could have – the security; the comfort; the routine. If everyone chases these things instantly then surely you have to as well? Surely it’s the only way, right? Well, twenty-one years into my life and in my last year of university, I can safely say that I don’t own a lot of the aforementioned stuff, but the experiences I do have are something infinitely more valuable to my life. Yes, in the past I have threw out the car money so I could stay in Africa one summer working as a journalist and hanging out with a bunch of rastafarians; I threw out the deposit money so I could fly to Australia/Thailand and parachute, sail, cage-dive and party my way around the coast with a bunch of strangers; I threw out the wardrobe money so I could cycle my way through European countries, seeing the sights, raising money for charity and sampling the beers along the way.

The best thing about these possessions is that – unlike the stuff in the capitalist rulebook that I’m meant to obtain – these are things that aren’t mass-manufactured and can’t be lost with bankruptcy, divorce or some gambling addiction. They are locked up within myself, where they can never be compromised. So you have to ask yourself: which possessions are more valuable to you as a person currently in your life? Experiences or ‘stuff’?

In case you can’t work out with side I’m leaning to, it’s most definitely the experience side for me. We live on a crazy, convoluted, messed-up planet and only tread its vibrant soil but once; why would you want to spend it all in one routine, one job, one culture, one house, chasing all the items your neighbours have? Why would you not take this moment in time where the right combination of technology, political stability and infrastructure has allowed us to travel to multiple far-off places for the first time? Stories are created. Strangers become friends. Insights are gained. Experiences become possessions.

Perhaps this phenomenon can be further highlighted by looking at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – a model that defined the common order people chase their human needs. Although just a theory on a theory, it’s a good way to reflect some possible ideas.

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As you can see, ‘security of body, of employment, of resources, of the family, of the health, of property‘ are some of the basic needs near the bottom of the pyramid that can be possessed in conjunction with work, mortgages, savings and material goods. But what about the self-actualisation and esteem qualities of ‘morality, lack of prejudice, acceptance of facts, respect of others, confidence, self-esteem, spontaneity‘ and those near the top of the pyramid? Will you grow those from material goods? Will you develop those immediately getting stuck doing something you have no interest in for forty-five years?

It is obviously dependant on you, your own personal interests, your relationships and what you seek to get out of, contribute and achieve from working in your particular field; however it’s more than likely for a lot of people – still unsure of what career (if any) will fulfil them – that those things can currently grow from the amazing opportunity of travel where you can gain perspective, learn first-hand about the world and experience other cultures, ideas and peoples – rather than sit at at the same desk every day in a job you’re not interested just to mindlessly chase the word ‘successful’. Just remember that the term ‘successful’, used in the context of the working world, is one constructed by a capitalist ideology – the parameters of which are measured by money and market share: things that were again constructed by other people that aren’t you. Don’t be instantly pressured into something you don’t want to do by such a debatable, problematic and relative term.

So go and travel. Go and travel if you still don’t know what to do with your life. Especially if you haven’t been before. Ignore your tutors who want you to constantly chase ‘success’; ignore mum and dad who want to see you ‘grow up’; ignore the TV that tells you to work to buy the latest car. Respond. Respond against a system that can hinder you. Go and catch a plane to an exotic country; go and hike through the expansive wilderness; go experience other cultures; go and party to the early morning on a beach with a bunch of strangers; go and spend your days gazing out at sea and your nights looking up at the stars.

If you don’t have the money then work for a bit, or combine the two and work while you’re away – working visas and teaching schemes are common in many countries and are a part of such experiences. Don’t worry about falling behind – you can still have all those other items and fulfil those other important needs later on in life; just take the lack of responsibility, proliferation of good health and the complete freedom and liberation that this age brings to head off with a flimsy backpack and see our bewildering world. There’s a good chance you will discover what you want to do with your life whilst out there travelling. And if you end up in a mundane job working for the human necessities of family, security and home, at least you took your chance to possess enriching experiences on top of those when you had the chance.

Just remember that after the rule-book is read, the adverts consumed, the paycheck cashed, the garage occupied and the wardrobe full – travel, like education, is one of the few things you buy that makes you richer.

How To Save Up For A Backpacking Trip

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Okay, so you’ve got it all planned. You’ve dropped a pin on a map of the world, found your far-off destination, researched all the crazy things you want to do and are itching to throw your clothes and camera into a bag and jump into the glistening, pure pool of adventure travel. A sense of excitement warms your soul and you begin to float towards the heavens – but suddenly the quantum reality of the universe pulls you back down and reminds you to check your bank account. You view your account balance: $32.04. Enough to get you to the next town maybe, but not to the corners of the earth. You realise you’re gonna have to save up to afford this next adventure.

This is such a battle global backpackers go through time and time again. If you were lucky enough in the game of life to be spawned in a first-world country then even working for the minimal wage will be enough to get you out in the world to travel; in fact, there are many people out there who travel with little to no money – but that’s another story. With a sense of grit, determination, patience and by just being sensible with money, it’s possible to save enough to go anywhere you want. Here are some things to think about as you save for your next backpacking trip.


Do I really need it, or do I just want it?

A few minutes walking around any city centre will see your eyes swamped by a starry universe of advertisements for clothes, products, gadgets and expensive cuisine. It may have just been payday and you’re itching to shower yourself in such luxuries, but it’s adult-18774_960_720useful to step back and think whether any of that stuff is of any use to you as you save up for your travelling adventure. In fact it is during backpacking trips that many people come back to basics and realise the small amount of things that you need to get through the day. These are: food, water, oxygen and shelter (sometimes even this is a luxury on the road). Put simply, these are the fundamental things you need in order to survive – cutting out the luxuries or other things we’re led to believe are ‘necessities’ will see you saving hundreds of pounds/euros/dollars/pesos each month. How much you are willing to embrace ‘the simple life’ will reflect how much you begin to save. So skip lunch at Nandos and grab a potato salad from the nearest supermarket.
Find extra ways to make money

Seven times in the past I have took a dive into the unknown of pharmaceutical testing and donated my body to medicinal research. Essentially I became a human guinea-pig where my time and body were used to test new medicines. While this sounds scary and crazy to anyone I mention it to, the reality is that it is very safe, ethically approved and thousands of these studies are conducted every year in most developed countries. Such ventures allowed me to save additional hundreds of pounds for a backpacking trip in South America, a long-distance bike ride in Central Europe and ongoing travels (including a cage-dive with great-whites!) within Australia whilst I was there. This is just one example of another way to gain income besides work, but if that’s not for you – look elsewhere. Get a weekend job; sell your unused possessions; go into a casino and prepare to win millions (I take no responsibility for the consequences of this one).

Get rid of your car

Yes, that shiny metallic stallion that gets you around town may be your immediate ticket to freedom, but in the long run of saving up for an adventure it can be anything but that. Cars, while great to get around, are ultimately a massive consumer of your finances that can see thousands being spent on fuel, insurance, tax and repairs. If you have legs and have a job that is accessible by bicycle or public transport (your ego may have to take a hit), then sell the car, store the money from it and start counting the hundreds you will no doubt save each month. Hey, if you even live in a hitch-hiker friendly country maybe even try hitching around – it is a genuine mode of travel that will be extremely useful to you on your travels.

Stop drinking and smoking

If you’re really passionate about strapping on that backpack and going on a grand adventure then your hedonistic vices may have to be suppressed for a while. Oh the humanity – the reality sinks in and one hears the groans for miles as the thoughts of beer-2218900_960_720.jpggiving up those weekend sessions or fag breaks for the near future ring cold and clear. The simple fact is that nights out, drinking and smoking see massive amounts of disposable income being spent in the matter of a view hours in a bar or club – all for you to be left with a hangover and a need to spend even more money on fast food hangover cures the day after. Give it up. Your body and wallet will thank you for it I assure you. And if you thinking this is rich advice, know that this is coming from a very keen drinker numerously accused of being an alcoholic who is currently two months sober on the road to adventure – my longest period sober in the last six years!


The list could really go on longer when focusing on the cultural, consumerist spending habits of people in modern day society, but it really is as simple as looking at where your money is going and taking control of your finances and life. We live in a world of distractions, advertisements and temptations where you will be shown hundreds of ways to spend your money every day. But ultimately it’s you who is in control of your spending habits and if you’re serious about getting out there in the world of adventure, then it is up to you to look at how your money could be saved.

With a little first-world austerity, and some simple temporary lifestyle changes, you’ll be surprised at how quick those travel tokens rack up in your bank account.

Why Travel Is The Purest Form Of Rebellion

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Rebellion
: an angst-ridden word that brings about images of uprisings, stoic defiances and Bastille-esque overthrows.

In fact defined as  “the action or process of resisting authority, control, or convention”, said action or process can be realised in workers’ strikes, protests, political movements or even in fashion and subculture – groups such as Punks, Hipsters or Bikers going against societal expectations in the way they act and the way they style themselves. But when one looks at these things holistically, we can so often witness a way everything spirals around and each one is ultimately fallible to the system. Worker’s strikes can only last for a set period of time before their livelihood collapses; protests can spiral out of control with protesters getting arrested by authority and their voice ignored; subculture styles are capitalised on by advertising and marketing companies reciprocating the trends back to them in order to profit off their rebellion. Through the resistance of it all, so often it ends with ‘the man’ getting his way. However, there is another act of rebellion that has the capability to evade such capture and compromise – a ‘movement’ and lifestyle that resists conventions, control and authority to a much larger degree than any of the aforementioned examples.

Travel. Backpacking. Wandering. The act or process of venturing to new places, new people, new horizons and new worlds. Packing your few possessions into a flimsy backpack and leaving your home, system and conventions behind; setting your eyes to the horizon and relentlessly aspiring to wander to the next place and the next experience. In the act of adventure travel, one becomes distanced from the overarching prism of society where the mechanisms of control and convention may dictate the way for a period of time, but never for the duration. When one uses all their money to voyage to a new place and not on things that tie them to a single society, how can specific conventions, control and authority be a part of that person’s life? When one systematically moves from society to society throughout the years, how can one individual society’s rules and views be implemented onto that person in any effective way?

The answer is that they can’t. Societies and political structures rely on people’s lives being static and still in one place, and if one becomes nomadic in nature and lives a life of physical movement, then the mechanisms of an individual society lose their influence drastically. To travel is to rebel. No monthly mortgage payments; no permanent job and pension scheme; no expenditure being used on consuming advertised or marketed products; no singular exposure to bias, samey media conveying everything one way. A single society’s foundations of control, authority and convention lose their zest when a person exists on a global scale. Yes, travellers adhere to laws and conventions when they are in a specific country, but when that stay is never set or fixed, any long-term hold over that traveller becomes marginal – all they need is a few hundred dollars and then all of it is left behind again.

French philosopher Albert Camus said that “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion” and perhaps travellers/backpackers are the ultimate embodiment of this. A life of movement and adventure is not compatible with the system – after all if everyone were to live a nomadic existence then the conventions, control and authority of single societies would be completely disrupted. The system would buckle, be forced to change to be reborn. And as far as rebellion goes, it can so often consist of violence, intent to destroy and something that eludes a sense of danger – however in travel we see a form of rebellion that is arguably entirely ‘pure’ and harmless.  

Most travellers’ (the good ones) aims and ambitions are to explore, to enrich, to learn, to anew and to experience; many work jobs locals don’t want to do on working holiday visas in countries and many teach languages and spend money they gained from first world countries in third world countries – a direct transfer of money from the rich to the poor empirically bridging the international poverty gap. To associate this kind of rebellion with anything as negative as violence or a clashing of two sides is just not correct; if anything it resembles more of a peaceful protest. A pure rebellion. An act where the world and its people become enriched, thoughtful,  less materialistic, less judgemental and close-minded.

So angry with the system or disillusioned with the lack of options your society gives you? Sick of working a soul-less job for a faceless corporation whose only aim is to line the pockets of their bureaucrat bosses and investors? Don’t destroy, don’t protest, don’t get angry, don’t strike. Travel. Move, explore and experience other societies; engage in other ways of thinking and new philosophies; tread new grounds and gain new perspectives in a true peaceful protest. Reply. Respond. Rebel. Perhaps in a world of chaos, scandals and corruption, it’s the last escape from the corrupted system that rebellious, free-spirited souls truly have.

Paid To Take Drugs: What It’s Like To Be A Human Guinea-Pig

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The time is 7.30am – a large digital clock on the side of the wall adorning bright red numbers informs me of this as I slowly open my eyes to look around the surrounding ward. As I do this a nurse appears and stands beside my bed, leaning over to check if I’m awake. There is a brief exchange of words before she begins to promptly check my blood pressure, note my temperature and extract a blood sample from the vein in my right arm. The procedures are swiftly completed and – just like that – another day as a human volunteer on a medical research trial begins.


Such an experience is not unfamiliar to me; as it happens this is the seventh time I’ve signed up to donate my body to an independent pharmaceutical company to aid the advancement and development of medicinal treatment. I say to aid the advancement, but the primary reason I’m here of course – like the rest of the seven other volunteers on my ward – is to make a large amount of money in a short space of time. Sure, it’s nice to know that the research conducted on your body will go on to improve treatment and medicines for sick people, but ultimately the majority of us wouldn’t be here in confinement getting needles stuck into our arms unless we were getting handsomely reimbursed for our time.

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Photo Copyright of ‘Quotient Clinical’

I mean, when you tell people you’re going to be a human guinea-pig in a medical research trial you are usually met by incredulous, shocked or worried looks. ‘You are going to let people experiment on your body?’ people say. ‘Are you serious’; ‘Isn’t it dangerous?’; ‘Are you going to be okay?’. And who could blame them for their sceptical response – it’s not exactly a typical way to earn a few quid. But as I eat my scheduled breakfast of cereal with a cup of milk and a croissant before playing the Xbox all morning, I remain content and sure in the knowledge that I am earning almost £200 a day to sit around, relax and occasionally piss into a container or have a bit of blood taken. A hard day’s work – not quite.

“But what exactly are you testing?” I hear the worriers cry out. “Is it safe?”. Well if we must get down to the details, I am currently taking part in a trial to test how the body takes up a new patent of the medicine Neulasta – a drug that has been used to combat the blood disorder Neutropenia that can appear when cancer patients are exposed to chemotherapy treatment. A 6mg injection on day 2 of the trial and then your vitals are recorded over the following week. The new patent itself has been tested on 120 humans previously which creates a sense of security in the fact you know you aren’t going to get elephantitis or grow an extra finger. There are however some minor side effects including bone and muscle ache, meaning I may need to pop a few pain killers every now and then. But hey, welcome to the modern age I tell myself; instead of selling your mind, body and soul to a faceless company, why not do it to a pharmaceutical company and get paid much better to sit around, eat and kill time.

Ironic really, as that’s exactly what I’m doing right now doing this – another ten minutes til lunch I see by checking the clock. Generally the three meals of the day, plus a light snack in the evening are the major moments of each day here. Yesterday was an eventful day however – a rarity in this place, which included a fire drill and a group quiz to all the volunteers where I was lucky enough to win myself a £5 Greggs voucher! (Easy money and food from all angles in this place). But generally the average day just bumbles along with a mixture of watching T.V, playing table tennis/pool/Xbox, talking to other volunteers and, of course, laying in bed while the nurses come around are perform procedures to record how your body is reacting, if at all, to the drug that is on trial. Not too bad hey?

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Photo Copyright ‘Quotient Clinical’

In terms of demographic, the array of people who take part in these trials is probably more diverse than you think. I mean the odd bods and the people who live on the fringes of society are definitely here, don’t get me wrong, but surprisingly there are a lot of ‘normal’ housewives, students and in particular self-employed people who manage to fit these drug tests around their everyday working schedule. For me? I guess I am one of the odd bods using the guinea-pig fund in between part-time work and study to pay for world travels. But it’s an interesting mix to say the least, and all sorts of random conversations can often be heard in the communal areas. If it’s not someone discussing politics, it’ll be someone discussing the meaning of life and the ‘rat race’ along with theories about aliens or whatever. You almost get the feeling that people are more open in here; the idea that you’re in a confined space for a short period of time with a bunch of strangers who you will probably never see again allows people to be their fully weird selves.


And I guess that’s what we are; the human guinea-pigs – the selfless soldiers at the forefront of the medicinal battle united in the quest to earn money easy and fast. Sure, you have to take some newly-developed pills here, piss into a container there, give some blood here and basically be an institutionalised number on a study (my wristband confirms I am subject number 55355), but still when I look at the usual mundane and menial jobs available on the market I fail to see the difference. The majority of the population give their bodies to a company and become their property indefinitely in the pursuit of money so why not do it instead in the heroic fight to cure cancer? To end Crohn’s’ disease? Or to rid the world of the common cold? As I finish lunch, put the Xbox controller down and head to my bed to give this afternoon’s blood and urine sample before a long nap, I remain content in my current career choice of being a human guinea-pig – a soldier of medicine; a cog in the machine for a better future. Now, if only I could get these blue spots to wash off my skin…

A Dangerous World? The Fears Of Backpacking Finally Addressed

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So you want to go on an epic trekking adventure in South America or travel around the beaches and temples of Asia. Maybe you even want to go volunteer in some tiny vague African country that your mom has never heard of. Either way, fears and concerns from friends, relatives and your own mind begin to nip away at your conscience. Somebody points out a recent tabloid news story about a backpacker dying in a jungle in Columbia and you begin to worry about being kidnapped, killed or mugged the second you get out of the airport. But all these concerns and worries just? Are you right to worry? Should you really risk your life on the quest to adventure?


I think the first thing to acknowledge when discussing an issue like this is to recognise that such concerns and worries are perfectly natural and reflect thousands of years of human evolution that has allowed us to divide and multiply to the billions. It is the notions of treading water carefully, staying away from the edge and being primitive mammals looking for security and shelter that makes us the successful, flourishing species we are today. While it is natural for our consciousness to be cautious and tentative when going to unknown territory, I would argue that this side of us is stretched and abused by the culture and media in which we all live in today.

Such culture and media allows us to see a story about one backpacker being killed somewhere plastered over newspaper pages while not paying attention to the fact that hundreds of thousands of backpackers travel without any issues and that – shock, horror – people get killed or murdered in their own country every month of every year. It is not putting things into perspective and becoming too invested in the media that lead to the illogical fears that plague many when it comes to adventure and travel. Believe it or not, we actually live in the most peaceful time in human history with there being less wars, political stability, genocides and murders than ever before overall across the world. We also live in the information era where we have unprecedented access to research facts, statistics and info to help us make decisions and be informed about the ‘unknown territory’ than ever before.

The world really is setup well for you to have an amazing adventure – but of course it helps us to be mindful towards certain issues of security before taking flight into the unknown.

Deciding which country/city/area you are travelling to

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When I decided to go backpack around South America after I finished University, the arguments with the parents began straight away. They worried I was going to get murdered or kidnapped by a drug cartel and be mailed back pieces of me unless they paid some Colombian drug lord a six-figure ransom. Of course having travelled before and vastly researched the countries in which I intended to tread foot, I was pretty confident that their concerns were a bit overblown and built on stereotypes and media rather than experience and research. A simple visit to your own country’s government website will see the foreign travel section provide you with up-to-date information and advice about the relative dangers and political stability in specific countries. Please note even these are only useful to an extent – further research on backpacker forums and blogs will be thoroughly more useful to you as a guide to what level of safety you can expect. I would just like to add in five months in South America I had no issue at all with crime or danger besides hear a few stories from others about pick-pocketed phones and stolen valuables. This brings us nicely onto the next point…

Common Sense as the Best Safety Mechanism

Now if you want to be one of those backpackers who travels around without the ability to apply common sense in looking after yourself and belongings, then I would say fears of being a victim of crime in undeveloped foreign countries from yourself, friends and relatives are understandable. Those aforementioned backpackers I heard of who had their phones stolen were travelling on overnight buses sat next to strangers; they fell asleep with their iPhone in their outer pocket and found it missing when they awoke the next morning. Now while this could feasibly happen at home in your own country, the fact that you will be visibly foreign and western in many undeveloped countries popular for backpacking will make you a bigger target. This is a reality but does it need to be a major fear? My opinion is absolutely not. Just applying simple common sense about how you carry your valuables, how much you carry, where you store your belongings and which behaviour you chose to exhibit in a seemingly sketchy place will dictate the level of safety available to yourself. With a bit of common sense, this can be a vastly improved level against crime and danger.

Physical Injury or Sickness

Another fear that many people worry about is becoming sick or lying in a foreign hospital with a broken leg surrounded by people who don’t speak your language with friends and family a long way away. What could be worse than suffering from malaria, lying in an unclean hospital bed while a person next to you screams from a broken leg? This is a true situation for one person I met on a trip in Ghana a few years ago. Having used the best malaria tablets and only being bitten a handful of times, he managed to contract malaria whereas somehow me – with my 76 bites and cheap malaria tablets – somehow didn’t. I guess this goes to show that if something bad is going to happen, it is going to happen. However if injury or sickness is a big enough worry to put you off travelling or backpacking, I would implore you again to research the area you’re going, put it into perspective (that friend was one out of maybe fifty volunteers I knew that contracted Malaria during a summer in Ghana), and minimise the risks again by research and common sense. Find out the relative health dangers, get injections, exercise caution when doing adventurous sports, don’t drive a scooter in Thailand when you’re wasted at 3am, always make sure your bungee jump or shark cage-dive is with a certified and reputable company, and of course – have travel insurance; just in case you do break that leg, you know.

What Your Biggest Fear Should Really Be

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People could spend all day talking about the relative dangers of visiting each and every country and doing each specific activity or whatever it is people do in the world of adventure travel. The great reality is that the concerns from home when you go off to travel the world by yourself are completely misinformed and from an area of thinking that is crippled by stereotypes, mass media and a lack of real-world experience. When I hear the extent of people’s concerns about travelling to some areas, I can’t help but feel grateful I have learnt to have logical, analytical thought that allows me to assess and judge the relative dangers and risks involved in the pursuit of my dreams and adventures. I will always exercise caution and research when going to unknown territory and encourage everyone else to do so.

However I implore anyone who is willing to let fears and concerns prevent them from chasing their dreams of adventure, to look in the mirror and think again. Are your concerns relevant? Are they real? Are they logical? In my humble opinion it is letting illogical and unreasonable fears control your life which should be the greatest fear of all; imagine ending up on your deathbed having not travelled and lived your adventures all because you let a singular news story or relative’s uninformed opinion lead you astray. This is the greatest fear for myself I can tell you that. So just remember, exercise a degree of caution and common sense, do your research, get insurance, be brave and remember the positives that await and the possible dangers of staying at home, getting old whilst not chasing your dreams when you had the chance…