Daydreaming, financing travel and getting inspiration from Gunnar Garfors

Image credit: Leo Hidalgo/Flickr

Image credit: Leo Hidalgo/Flickr

I often sit at my desk and peer out of my bedroom window. If we’re fortunate enough to have blue skies over the region, then I’ll quite often capture a glimpse of an aeroplane either heading off to a destination unknown to me or returning to nearby Manchester Airport.

Today is not one of those days. Although the sky is beginning to clear bit by bit with the clouds moving at what seems to be a pace much slower than its co-tenants in the air, it is still gloomy and characteristic of stereotypical weather here in ‘Great’ Britain.

The gloomy view out of my window on this March afternoon.

The gloomy view out of my window on this March afternoon.

But seeing those aircraft take to the skies or embark on a descent always gets me thinking. As if I don’t already have travel on the mind most of the time, watching flights go to and from always seems to put me in a daydream-like state. As you can imagine, it usually leads to heading on over to the website of some budget airline or Google Maps to help plan my next trip.

And that’s what I seem to be doing a lot of lately. One of my ultimate goals in life is one which has already been accomplished by the man whose book I’m currently reading – Gunnar Garfors.

The Norwegian ex-football player (he had a trial at Plymouth Argyle!) actually managed to visit all 198 countries (or what he officially classes as countries, as there are different evaluations) before he turned 40. But although he did so before a certain age, I would not look to place myself under any such time restriction.

Though his story is still inspiring, because – all things considered – he’s still a relatively normal man. By that, I mean that he has a full-time job and says that he travelled whilst only having five weeks of paid holiday, and a further two weeks of national holidays per year.

Currently reading: Gunnar Garfors' 198: How I ran out of countries*. I'm yet to finish it, but I highly recommend it based on what I've read so far.

Currently reading: Gunnar Garfors' 198: How I ran out of countries*. I'm yet to finish it, but I highly recommend it based on what I've read so far.

And that’s what my blog, really, is about. I am not getting paid to travel, and I still have to work a part-time job and go to university. When I get my postgraduate degree I would still like to enter the working world, yet I would still be as devoted to travel as I possibly could be. If I can do it, then I’m sure that plenty of others can, too.

I honestly sometimes wonder myself how I can afford to go to so many places in such a short period of time, and then I remember.

The first two years I spent in university saw me go out a lot of the time. I’d probably spend about £50 per week on getting pre-drinks, then perhaps going onto a bar and then, ultimately, spend the rest of the night in a club buying more expensive drinks.

I wouldn’t hesitate to buy new clothes, either, even when I didn’t really need many new garments, if any at all.

But this year, I decided to dedicate more of my finances to helping me travel. As a consequence, I haven’t really gone out on a regular basis. Though that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it has allowed me more time to get on with university work as well as my blog and other journalistic exploits outside of my studies.

I’ve stopped buying new clothes all the time because when I look back at my youth in 50 years, I’m going to remember with far more vividly and with greater fondness that trip I took somewhere, rather than that nice £45 t-shirt I wore a handful of times which had no real bearing on my life.

I’ve also kept a fairly laid back attitude when it comes to the future, too. I know some of my friend that are saving money for houses, are getting mortgages and are even engaged to be married. But that’s just not me.

There are obviously things that the majority people want to do with their lives and those things should always be pursued if that’s what they really want. But mine, really, differ from the norm. Sure, I would like to get my own place, get married, have kids at some point and all the rest of it. But I’ve always been a big dreamer and I want to explore the world and its possibilities before tying myself down.

I want to make sure that I don’t have any regrets in how I spent my younger years and think “I should’ve done this,” or “I should’ve done that.”

I know that I have got to work hard every day to achieve such lofty ambitions, but I don’t think it is unreasonable to try for what you really want in life no matter what the intended outcome is because if you don’t, then you’re just wasting time.

As Gunnar said in an interview with the Daily Express – “A lot of people claim to not have money, but it [travel] is all about priorities and dedication.” Those are wise words that anyone wanting to travel seriously, must take on board.

And hopefully, if I do end up doing what I want to do in life I can look back to the time I was looking out of my bedroom window watching planes glide across the sky.