Have you ever wondered where your desire to travel stems from? Maybe you already know? For a long time I couldn’t understand this overwhelming need that I had to explore new places and cultures. I tried to be ‘normal‘ and focus on the same stuff that everyone else seemed to be doing in their twenties, buying nice things for the house, getting married, having kids, but it wasn’t for me. While they were talking about mortgages and saving to buy another new car, I was dreaming about taking a trip somewhere and starting my life again. I had no desire to own anything of value. I was working hard and I had some nice things, but these possessions were never enough for me to feel satisfied with life. I was different and I had to accept it, so I did.
At 27, I sold my car, packed everything I owned into boxes and left the UK in pursuit of a new life in Dubai. I had been visiting Dubai regularly over the years for holidays and had fallen in love with the city, it felt like a big bright shiny light was calling me to stay there. I had no job and no idea of whether or not the plan would work but I was sure it could if I tried hard enough. For the first few months I got myself registered with all of the job agencies I could find and even called a local radio station (Radio 1 UAE) and asked them live on air to help me find a good job! I was adamant I was going to stay in Dubai and it worked. I was offered a couple of positions and finally settled on the one that felt right. The job was great, the people were great and I was happy. I spent 2 wonderful years in Dubai and loved life there. However, in 2009 disaster struck, the RECESSION. Dubai was hit hard, lots of investors pulled out over night and lots of people lost their jobs … my job was safe however the future didn’t look promising. I eventually made the very difficult decision of returning to the UK. That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
To cut a long story short, I was back in the UK for a couple of years and I then got offered another opportunity to work abroad, in the Dominican Republic! Amazing! I spent a fantastic year working there and then went on to the next opportunity, in Bulgaria, where I am still living now!
So back to my original questions: What made me different? Why couldn’t I just be happy staying in one place? I spent a long time thinking about this. My parents don’t travel a lot, we took one family holiday to Thailand when I was very young and a few short trips to France and Belgium as I was growing up but that was it. We enjoyed nice trips and holidays but no big adventures. We had never even moved house!
I decided to dig a bit deeper into my history and I believe this is where the answer lies. My parents weren’t the travelling types however, I had some different roots that I hadn’t considered. My ‘biological’ Dad, as I call him, (another long story) had a very different background. We didn’t spend time together when I was younger but later I got to know him and learned about his/our family history. I’ll try to explain it briefly …
It would seem that my distant ancestors were in fact travellers, or gypsies. These travellers originated from India and made their way across Arabia, Egypt, Africa and eventually into the Balkan countries such as Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. It was around the 14th Century and during the Ottoman Empire that these travellers fled the wars and continued on their journey, eventually reaching the United Kingdom. They were hard working people who would find work in each place they stayed, apparently my ancestors were accountants. When they arrived in London in the 14th Century, the jobs available were mostly on the docks and ships and this work led many of them to eventually move to Dublin. Here’s a link that explains a little more about the gypsy movement.
You could say that hundreds of years have passed since then and that this has no relevance but I would disagree. Travel is in my blood. I find it incredible to think that my ancestors could have been walking the same land I walk on today in Bulgaria. And, that maybe, just maybe, there’s a connection from my past that urges me to visit the places I want to visit today. Who knows if that’s possible, what I do know is that I have always felt like a gypsy. Not one place feels more like home to me than another. My desire to travel the world to live and work in different countries will probably never leave me, maybe circumstances won’t always allow it, but it will always be my dream.
But, knowing what I know now, next time someone asks me why I have this desire to travel, my answer will be easy …
I blame it on my gypsy soul!