Why did Andy pack his bags and leave the comfort of the United Kingdom?
I had wanted to travel ever since I graduated from university back in 2006. I'm not sure when my desire to travel was first instilled in my brain. Perhaps it was those family holidays which gave me a taste for different cultures or maybe it's an inherit nature within the human species to head off into the world and experience adventure.
The unknown is something I hate. I hate to not know why things work, who's who and what's where. The unknown is exciting. It's an opportunity to learn and to understand. The other side of the world was completely unknown to me. China was a collection of preconceived photos floating around in my imagination that I had developed from books and films. I needed to experience these things first hand and to the unknown a little less unfamiliar. The great experience of travel is being submerged into the unknown and surfacing again with familiarisation and understanding. I do not wish to understand the world in one go for that would leave the rest of my life empty of new experiences, however I must not hold back from doing anything as you must live for today.
In my mind, travelling by land and sea is the only way to truly experience the world in which we live. To feel the earth moving under one's feet provides you with the experience of how big the earth is. By travelling by land and sea ultimately mixes you with the local travellers heading on business trips or going to see their families. It gives you the opportunity to meet, talk and understand the local psyche. Sometimes it's pleasant, sometimes it's agonising but it's always enriching.
Between University and my departure on Andy's Epic Voyage I taught in Poland, Italy and travelled Europe in a motorhome with three friends. My life at home was good, I made great friends, my job was OK and my work in the theatre flourished. Time got away from me. If you're not too careful time can run uncontrollably quick and life flashes by with you hanging onto to it by a thread. November 2009 I had decided that enough was enough and I was going to embark on a voyage around the world by land and sea. Even though I had decided that I was going to leave, preparations needed to be made before I left as it's unfortunately not as easy as jumping on the next flight out. You have to save money, have vaccinations, apply for visas and then buy your ticket. My good friend Mark was also getting married in October 2010 and there was no way I was going to let him get hitched without me being there.
I ended up flying out of the country on the 14 November 2010. It was the beginning of an extraordinary journey that would take me to places and meet people that I could never have dreamed of.
People ask me when will my journey end. The answer is unknown and in my mind I hope my journey never ends. For life is to be grabbed by both hands and running with.