Vagabonding Case Study: Troy Whitmarsh

Troy Whitmarsh DCIM100GOPRO

Age: 26

Hometown: Ceduna, Australia (A small town of 4000 people – 8 Hours drive from the nearest city.)

Quote: Every bad decision leads to a good story.

How did you find out about Vagabonding, and how did you find it useful before and during the trip?

I found out about the book on a list of “must read” travel books I saw online somewhere and read it early on in my trip. It was very inspirational and really helped me think about why I was travelling and what I wanted to get out of this. It helped me to get a new perspective on solo travel.

How long were you on the road?

I left Australia in January 2013 and haven’t been home since. So far that’s 20 months.

Where did you go?

South and Central America, all over Europe, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and I am now in Canada.

What was your job or source of travel funding for this journey?

I saved a lot of money in my 9-5 sales job before leaving Australia, which funded a lot of my trip. I had an awesome career that I really enjoyed and was able to save enough to travel for quite some time without working.

Did you work or volunteer on the road?

I did some volunteer work in India at an animal rescue center which does great things, mostly helping street dogs who are injured by cars or people. I also helped out painting at a home for street kids in Kathmandu. I have worked at a few hostels along the way and now I am working full time in Canada.

Of all the places you visited, which was your favorite?

India. The country is so diverse. It is by far the most difficult place I have traveled in, I was constantly having my world turned upside down. For this reason it was also the most rewarding and eye opening. There are more amazing things to see in India that any other country I have been to. It’s also the most different to Australia.

Was there a place that was your least favorite, or most disappointing, or most challenging?

As stated above, India was the most challenging, but it was in no way disappointing. I can honestly say I have loved every country I have ever traveled to and there are not any I don’t want to go back to and visit more thoroughly.

Which travel gear proved most useful? Least useful?

Merino Wool Clothing, especially underwear. You can wear them so many times without washing them. Life saver!! Also a big warm jacket. Even if you are traveling in hot countries it makes a great pillow when you are on a bus, plane or train or even if the pillow at your accommodation is terrible it’s often an improvement. 

What are the rewards of the vagabonding lifestyle?

The biggest reward for me is that I am continuously learning new things. When you are in a new environment and around new people you can see how others live and deal with different situations and it can help you to figure things out about the world and about yourself. When you are vagabonding, this is usually happening 24/7 whereas at home the opportunities for exposure to new experiences are much smaller.

What are the challenges and sacrifices of the vagabonding lifestyle?

Not having a support network nearby when times are tough. Sometimes when you are feeling down your go to friends just aren’t available for Skype because they are all working or asleep. This can leave you feeling pretty alone. You also sacrifice a lot of stability which can be a good and bad thing at the same time.

What lessons did you learn on the road?

I could go on for days, but I will just mention some of the most important things. The first is not to rush through life. In my old job I was working in a stressful environment all of the time and trying to compensate by having as much fun and doing a lot of things on the weekend. It left me always in a hurry. Since I started traveling I have learned to take things slower and savor new experiences. My appreciation, understanding and ability to communicate with all types of different people has also been of huge benefit to me personally. Learning how to connect with people very different from you is a valuable life lesson.

How did your personal definition of “vagabonding” develop over the course of the trip?

For me, Vagabonding means going with the flow. Say yes. Don’t miss out on any opportunities because you are too afraid or unsure.

If there was one thing you could have told yourself before the trip, what would it be?

Don’t make any plans. At the beginning of my trip I had some things booked in and it was great but I missed out on some opportunities because of it. These days I cringe whenever I need to book anything in advance!

Any advice or tips for someone hoping to embark on a similar adventure?

Just do it. Don’t be afraid. Catching a bus, booking a nights accommodation, finding things to do – it’s actually easier than most jobs you would have to do at home, easier than organizing and renting or buying a house and those kinds of things. If you can do that then you can travel. The only difference is that all of your friends aren’t doing the same thing.

When and where do you think you’ll take your next long-term journey?

Explore Canada! I am living in Banff, Alberta for the time being and looking forward to seeing the rest of Canada. I am going to take my sweet time doing it too.


Read more about Troy on his blog, Troy Story , or follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Website: Troy Story Twitter: @troystorytravel

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Posted by | Comments Off on Vagabonding Case Study: Troy Whitmarsh  | May 1, 2015
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