Most people are more than happy with a 2-week all-inclusive holiday somewhere hot like Sharm El Sheik and who could blame them? But if I’m totally honest, it’s not really my cup of tea.
All of my blog posts so far have been about magic, obviously given I’m a magician. In this one, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share another of my passions, adventure travel. It all started when I was a teacher about 6/7 years ago, teaching during the week, performing all weekend and in the evenings, I was working solidly for most of the year. I decided to treat myself in the summer holidays and took the whole 7 weeks to travel around South East Asia. That was it, I was hooked.
Those first 2 summers I travelled on a group tour with G Adventures, allowing me to see a lot of SE Asia and Central America in a very short space of time. However, I soon realised I much preferred being fully in charge of where I went and what I did. The following year I drove from NYC to LA with my friend John for 6 weeks in a convertible Ford Mustang, it was as incredible as it sounds, Magic and Cirque shows in Vegas and “cruising down the 101” were definite highlights.
It was on the last evening of the USA trip, dangling my legs in the pool at my friend, Moshe’s house I decided I didn’t want to be a teacher any more, I wanted to follow my dream of becoming a full-time professional magician and seize the opportunity to be an adventure traveller along the way. Back at school I handed in my notice and started planning my future, a year travelling the world than to immerse myself in making my hobby a full-time profession.
I worked and saved hard, the year flew by and before I knew it I was heading to Tallinn, Estonia on a stag do with a bunch of great friends. Following a weekend of debauchery, we said our goodbyes and they flew home, I was on my own with a plane to catch from Bali to Darwin nearly 3 months later. This is what I class as adventure travelling, making it up as you go along, waking up every day and thinking “where shall I try and get to today” swiftly followed by “how the hell am I going to do that????”
I travelled across Russia, Mongolia, China, Hong Kong and Indonesia to get to Australia and New Zealand before flying to Santiago, Chile then travelling 4 months overland to get to NYC (except for the Darien Gap, I hitched a ride on a boat through the San Blas Islands for that bit as I didn’t fancy the whole risk of death thing). I saw amazing things, met amazing people and was so far out of my comfort zone at times I don’t think I even have one any more. I got to perform magic for people who didn’t speak any English but the delight on their faces spoke for them, experiences you can’t put a price on and memories no photograph can ever capture.
Since I returned over 2 years ago I have been on a couple more adventures, driving a 989cc Daihatsu Cuore to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia via as many of the “istans” as we could, with my friend Glyn in 2014 then crossing Canada by road and rail earlier this year. I try and do at least 1 big trip every year and hope I always will.
Finally, a word on getting the most out of it all, I have one companion that has been with me on every trip, my journal. On my year out I filled 7 large Moleskine’s. If it wasn’t for the simple act of being able to write about it later, I don’t think I would have got myself involved in half of the things I did. The amount of people that have said to me “you’re so lucky to be able to travel”, no, I’m sorry, luck has nothing to do with it, the only way I have been lucky is to have been born to parents and a family that supports me in everything I do. Anyone can experience some of the life-changing things I have, things you can’t get from a package holiday, just don’t be afraid to push yourself and travel outside of your comfort zone.