Why I quit my job and started traveling the world solo?
These two trips made me realize that exploring the unknown makes life more interesting. There are thousands of strangers to meet. I wanted to hear more stories from people about their lives and explore more of this planet. I started planning my big solo world trip. I was going to start exploring and continue until I was satisfied or broke (keeping an emergency fund of course). It could take 3 months or even 24 months. There were some questions going through my mind.
I have confidence in myself that I can accomplish anything I really want to within reason. So these concerns were not that major. Besides, to give up an adventure like this for job security and some extra cash in retirement did not make much sense. Life is fleeting, and if there is something you really want to do now and you have the ability to do so, why wait?
There were some strong reasons why this trip had to be taken earlier than later.
Maybe I will not be as healthy as I am today again.
Maybe I will not have money to ever do this again.
Maybe I will never be able to take time off like this due to other commitments.
Maybe I will not be able to travel solo like this for an extended period of time.
Traveling solo was very important for me. When you go solo, you leave your bubble behind and truly let yourself be free and open up yourself to learning about other people and their cultures. It is a lot easier to make new friends as well.
I did not have any major commitments like relationships, debt, etc. The only thing that was truly stopping me from following my dream was perhaps greed. The biweekly salary coming in can be addicting. It can really stop you from following your dreams. I started saving and once I had enough money to start my trip, it took 3 more months of intense analysis before I could break free from the shackles I created in my mind. I finally quit my job and started on an adventure I had been dreaming about for a very long time.
I live in Toronto, and my journey started by driving east. I said goodbye to family and friends and started driving. There was never a solid plan. The plan was to see where life takes me. I knew that I wanted to focus my road trip on exploring nature. I hopped from national park to national park for the next two and a half months with Silver Bullet. That's what I called my silver Mazda. My partner for that epic road trip of almost 18,000 kilometers. We went all the way to the Atlantic coast and then through the south of the USA to the Pacific coast and then north to Canada where Vancouver was the last stop. I passed through Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and then in the USA through Maine, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington and then into British Columbia, Canada.
Angel’s Landing, Zion National Park
Pacific Coast, California
Canyonlands National Park, Utah
During this time, I camped in many national parks, hiked hundreds of kilometers, slept in my car some nights, seen the highest tides in the world in New Brunswick, seen plenty of wildlife including marine life, seen all types of landscapes and attempted surfing in the ocean for the first time in Tofino.
Driving the empty roads of Utah
Backcountry camping in Canada
I sold my car in Vancouver and visited my family in Bangladesh where I made a side trip to Nepal with my brother. From Bangladesh, I backpacked through Thailand, Vietnam, Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia, Japan, Greece, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Spain and ended up in Brazil where I had to make a decision. The COVID-19 situation was getting serious and it was time to return to Canada.
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Ha Giang Loop, Vietnam
Phewa Lake, Pokhara, Nepal
These 9 months were very memorable. They were full of nature exploration, sampling food, experiencing new cultures, and most important of all, making new friends. I met over a thousand people including backpackers and locals. Hanging out, exploring, and eating amazing food with new friends, and getting to know their stories is perhaps one of the ultimate life experiences. It gets better when you meet locals. This can be a bit challenging when you do not speak their language but a smile goes a long way. I learned some basic Japanese before going to Japan which made it much easier to meet locals. I learned to ride a motorcycle in the mountains of North Vietnam, stayed with locals in villages, and enjoyed dancing for the first time in my life.
My motorcycle crew in Vietnam
Homestay with locals near Ha Giang, Vietnam. Hotpot and amazing company
Our Hmong guides for climbing the highest peak in Vietnam
A beach in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines. I spent a lot of time sleeping and listening to books on beaches
Fun times in Z Hostel Manila, Philippines
Mochi became my favorite new food in Kyoto, Japan
Final day at Hostel Mitsuwaya Osaka, Japan. Many fun memories here
I was able to get out of my comfort zone on many occasions and that is a key for personal growth. Solo travel can definitely contribute to that. It is not amazing all the time though. There have been times where I felt lonely especially when camping alone and sometimes when I arrive in a big city on the first day. The key to changing that to an amazing experience is to smile and talk to strangers. There have been times where I encountered unfriendly people, but that is part of the experience and makes the world more interesting. 10/10 would do this again.
This incredibly inspiring story was originally written by Hamdan.