Will Hatton, 26, also known as The Broke Backpacker
, has been travelling the world since he was 19. A life-changing injury prompted him to book a one-way ticket to India, and he hasn’t stopped travelling since, racking up over 60 countries since 2008.
Currently, he’s on a three-year trip from England to Papua New Guinea, which he’s doing entirely without the use of flights. He hitchhiked across Europe and up through Iran, trekked across the Pakistan mountains, then took a multicolored tuk tuk across India. He’s now looping back through Pakistan and making his way to Southeast Asia, where he plans on building a “boat-slash-raft” to sail it along the Philippines and Indonesia, and finally to Papua New Guinea.
However, this sort of long term travel is not for everyone.
“I think it is important to realise that taking a trip which takes you far out of your comfort zone — whether you’re hitchhiking across Afghanistan or simply heading to Southeast Asia for the first time — that if you’re doing three months of solid, fast, balls-to-the-walls travelling you can burn out,” he says.
To avoid burning out he claims that it is important to exercise, eat well, and get enough sleep, as well as to schedule a break, which anyone currently hunched over their desk might find ironic.
“I try to have a month off every six months where I’ll find somewhere I like that has OK WiFi, and I’ll just chill out and try to get fit again, and eat well I think that is an important part of travel, because otherwise you just get sick.”
Still, this sort of intense, lengthy adventure remains the dream for many. In fact, it seems that “quitting your job to travel” is a trending topic these days, and that literally everyone is doing it.
However, Hatton doesn’t think that’s such a good idea either.
“If you want to quit your job to travel, it is definitely something you should do, however, what you need to realise is that you need to have a bit of a game plan,” he explains.
Long term travel is not the same as taking a vacation, and it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.
“I’ve been travelling for years and years, but for many of those years I was really, seriously scrabbling for money,” Hatton says. “Sometimes I didn’t even have enough money to eat, or if I wanted to go home I didn’t have enough money to pay for a plane ticket home. It was fun, it was an experience, but it’s a young man’s game.”
Hatton suggests that instead of dropping everything to gallivant the globe, people should find a job that enables them to work from their laptops.
“There are so many things you can do out there, it’s really out there for the taking at the moment. You can do drop shipping, blogging, freelance photography, you can get into SEO… There are so many options.”
He explains that quitting your job to travel should not be the ultimate goal, but that being location independent should be.
“Let’s be honest, that’s the dream. If you can [do your work] whilst looking over some paddy fields with a nice cold beer next to you, it’s so much better. I really think that people should be more interested in finding these digital nomad opportunities, rather than just going and travelling the world, and having an amazing time, and then having to go home, and to get a shitty office job all over again, because that’s depressing. No one wants to do that.”
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