Paid to travel the world
I am paid to travel around the world. It’s not that I have a huge social media following and contact hotels asking for free accommodation in exchange for a selfie, or use black hat techniques that allow me to fly business class for $10 (although these methods certainly have their merits!). I have designed a life through my business that allows me to design and deliver adventure trips throughout the world.
My journey all started as a child. The whole family would have long holidays together as both of my parents were teachers. Each summer we would pack up the car, cram ourselves in, and catch a ferry over to France for a month-long road trip. Living out of the back of our Austin Montego estate, we’d explore the river Dordogne, the Loire Valley, Bordeaux and La Rochelle, camping each night and eating our bodyweight in baguettes and pain au chocolate.
These experiences granted me the confidence to travel and explore, to become self-reliant, and proved to be my first taste of adventure. All-inclusive holidays were simply not on the agenda. Instead, my parents taught me that more fun and adventure is to be had by simply winging it!
Since then I have been on many more trips overseas all around the world, which I have now turned into my profession. It certainly didn’t happen overnight and I’ve worked hard to get to where I am.
My subsequent personal travel experiences were simple. Save up some cash by working in the UK (never any more than £3000 – £4000) and book a flight. Sometimes I’d book the first night’s accommodation, other times I wouldn’t bother. I would keep costs right down by always taking a tent (and sometimes cooking equipment), travelling in local transport, and staying in hostels or cheap hotels.
In 2005 whilst on a round-the-world trip, I discovered bicycle touring. It was the perfect addition to my arsenal of keeping life on the road cheap. Having spent a few months backpacking around India and Nepal, I arrived into Australia and soon became bored with the backpacking scene. As much fun as getting drunk in one hostel then jumping on a bus to meet the same people from last night’s party at the next was, I needed something that would challenge me, something a little more adventurous.
I walked into a bicycle shop in Adelaide and explained that I would like to purchase a bicycle that could carry my camping gear. A day later I wheeled my trusty Diamondback city bike out, fully laden with all of my worldly belongings. I began pedalling around the coast, ending my journey a few months later in Brisbane, 3000km later. I left Australia and virtually cycled the length of New Zealand before returning to the UK via Fiji. I was well and truly hooked on travelling and cycling.
Several years later I founded and now run my own travel company, specialising in guided cycle rides. My clients pay me to design and guide cycling journeys. I’ve guided in the French Alps, Tuscany, Scotland, California and many other fabulous locations. We rarely, if ever, camp, but instead stay in hotels. We eat in lovely restaurants and have our luggage carried for us. It is a far cry from the realities of travel in my early twenties. The best part though, is that I love it!
When in doubt about the direction of your life, look to the things that made you happy when you were young and do that (I was told this by someone far wiser than myself).
As a child I was always out riding my bike and loved the freedom and enjoyment of being on two wheels. My mini adventures suddenly went from being in the fields around my village, along the disused railway track on to the next village and beyond. This was the stretch, the first taste of adventure and self-sufficient travel. There’s not one day goes by that I don’t feel grateful for what I have now, and, as a wild-haired 10-year old in a little village in Staffordshire there is no way you’d have convinced me that I would be paid to ride my bike.