My name’s Sam and in October 2011 I decided my life needed a change in direction but to explain why my story starts a few months earlier.
Like most people I was in a steady, enjoyable and reasonably paid job working as a climbing instructor at a local indoor wall, a job I ended up doing for almost a decade. I would work anywhere between 40-70 hours a week and if I’m honest, for the most part i enjoyed it. However, as time went by i knew it wasn’t what i wanted to do forever. It wasn’t just my job that made me take a new direction, I’d become weighed down by the perception that I had to follow a kind of unwritten and unspoken social norm of what was expected of being an adult. What do i mean? Let me explain.
The Social Norm
So I asked myself a question; If I could take my life in any direction I wanted, which way would I head?
In my home country (the UK) it felt there was a path of conformity that comes with growing up. You finish your education, you get a job, a house, start a family and then work and save for 40-50 years until you get to retire. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this isn’t what you should do, I’m saying that for me, it just didn’t feel right. In early 2011 I was well and truly on that path, a house – good job – and the savings had (barely) started. But as the year went on I started to feel as though I was working in order to just live. Bills seemed to come almost every day, rent rates went up as did just about every aspect of the cost of living. It didn’t seem to matter how much I worked, at the end of the month id have little left in the bank account to show for it. The thought of living like this for the next 4 or 5 decades until I retired scared the crap out of me and I just knew something had to change.
Growing up id always loved being outside. It didn’t matter what I was doing; walking, camping, climbing, or just messing around with friends, if I was outside I was happy. As I got older, any holidays I had would always be adventure based, normally flying off to go climb somewhere in Europe spending the week camped out in the mountains of Spain, Italy or Switzerland. One morning, sometime in late August of 2011 I decided I could no longer wait and see if my life would change or hope to win the lottery, it just wasn’t going to happen. So I asked myself a question; If I could take my life in any direction I wanted, which way would I head? I knew the answer straight away. Id travel the world and spend my time exploring countries id only read about, climb at destinations id only dreamt of and explore as much of the world as I could. But how? It would cost a fortune surely would it?
Everything Must Go.
Well I didn’t care, all I knew is it was something I was going to do. Something I had to do. At the beginning of October 2011 I opened the front door to my house and placed a sign outside. It read: House clearance – Everything must go! Within three days id sold almost everything i owned, from my television to my bed. What I kept fitted into a 60ltr rucksack. I spent the next week camping out on the floor in my bare house searching for a camper van to call my new home. On the 20th October 2011 I shut the door to my bricks and mortar house for the last time and jumped behind the wheel of a 1992 Nissan Vannette camper van that id brought for the same money as two months rent, determined to make my new life work.
Five years on and three campervans latter I still believe it was the best decision of my life. When I began I had no idea how it was going to work, all I can say is that things have a way of working themselves out when your determined for change. Since that day in October I’ve been on the road, exploring both this beautiful planet of ours and ways in which I can earn a living whilst doing so. I’ve met literally thousands of people on my travels and the most common thing they say to me when they hear my story is – I wish I could do that!
When i started out i had just over one thousand pound in the bank account, money doesn’t have to be a boundary to your dreams.
Well I’m here to tell you that you can, anyone can. It doesn’t matter what stage in life you are at, it can be done and id really like to help you achieve it. I know couples that are doing it, I know whole families that are doing it – even one American couple who live on the road with their 11 children! When i started out i had just over one thousand pound in the bank account, money doesn’t have to be a boundary to your dreams.
How will Avoiding Normal Help You?
My aim at Avoiding Normal is to show you how you too can travel long-term and explore the world from behind the wheel of a campervan, motorhome or even your car on a budget that suits you. I want to prove that anyone with the drive and the right attitude can do it, whether you’re heading out solo or with your family in tow. Throughout the website your find articles on everything from choosing what kind of camper is right for you to finding work whilst on the road to finance your trip for as long as you want. I try to share an honest account through my blog of what life is like living from your camper, the ups and the downs, the fantastic opportunities and the big challenges that can crop up.
So What Are You Waiting For?
If you too dream of a life on the road then take a look around, join the Avoiding Normal community through social media or simply just get in touch. If your thinking about hitting the road or maybe your already doing id love to hear from you. If the articles or blog posts don’t answer all your questions then I’m always happy to help you, so do send me an email, I answer every one of them.
Thanks for reading and I’m already looking forward to helping you on a path to unlimited travel and a different view every morning from your bed.