Vagabonding according to the dictionary;

Vagabonding¬n. (1) The act of leaving behind the orderly world to travel independently for an extended period of time. (2) A privately meaningful manner of travel that emphasises creativity, adventures, awareness, simplicity, discovery, independence, realism, self-reliance and the growth of the spirit. (3) A deliberate way of living that makes freedom to travel possible.

The word vagabond is derived from the Latin word vagari or 'to wander'.

Vagabonders have historically been synonymous with derogatory terms; thieves, drunks and diddykoys among others.

Recently the word has been used more and more to label a group of people. These people (and hopefully me soon) look to travel the world for extended periods of time.

So am I running away? Am I escaping some terrible haunting? YES I'm running from the norm. The typical life of education, 9-5 job, buy a house, find a lady, get married, have kids, work hard, retire rich. I don't feel that normal life fits what I want. And this is a fairly new thinking for me. It was always set in my own mind that I would be married by by the time I was 23 (2012). I thought I may even have little sprogs running around, or at least be seriously thinking about it.

And I've had a good go at the normal life. I've got a fairly well payed job. Granted, its shift work so not your typical 9-5 but still an average of 40 hours per week. I've even gone as far as getting on to the property ladder with a 30% share in my apartment. It has literally only been in the last year to 18 months that my mind set has changed.

So rather than say I'm running away from anything I'd much rather say I am running towards something. There is a massive world out there and I've been fortunate to visit many different places through my relatively short life. But I have only scratched the surface when it comes to 'Travel'. Every time I've had to leave a new city I've wanted more.

But travel cannot be quenched through holidays. Holidays have their place. Usually they are a break. A break from that norm I spoke about earlier. I'm looking for something far from a holiday.

On a weekend break to Munich with a group of friends in 2011 we tagged along on a guided walking tour. Half way round was a short pit stop in a bar just outside the infamous Hofbräuhaus. I started chatting to a Canadian girl not much older than myself. When I asked where she'd been travelling she couldn't wait to reel off a whole list of amazing places.

"Well yesterday I was in Stuttgart and before that I was in Belgium. I spent 2 days in Amsterdam after getting the ferry over from London. I started in Naples and it took me 3 days to work my way up through Italy and France to Paris"

As a wannabe traveller I was astounded at the places she'd been to. Until I thought about her travels. It had taken her the grand sum of 10 days to travel up from Naples, Italy to London and across to Munich. Stopping in 6 countries along the way.

She went on to say that she had to get a flight that very afternoon to Marseilles before flying back to Edmonton in Canada from Barcelona airport in 3 days time. All the while with a beaming smile through very tired eyes.

I view travelling as much more than simply seeing a place. To travel (for me) means to have an appreciation for the place (or conversely not an appreciation). Not just view a place. I guess you could say that about most parts of my life. I'm very rarely a spectator and always want to be doing the thing in question. Probably the reason I have had failed attempts at most sports or activities. I'm known to have 'fads' that never last.

So whilst the 'whisle-stop-tour-of-Europe-in-2-weeks' trip that my brief Canadian friend had above has its place, its not for me. For me travelling (rather than holidaying) should be a total immersion in that countries landscape, culture and society. Experiencing first hand how others do things, their rituals, religions, customs. This sort of travelling I feel fits more with the dictionaries understanding of the word Vagabonding;

(2) A privately meaningful manner of travel that emphasises creativity, adventures, awareness, simplicity, discovery, independence, realism, self-reliance and the growth of the spirit.

And interestingly the whole ethos of travelling for immersion lends itself very nicely to travelling slowly. The ultimate limiting factor in most trips, be it long term vagabonding or a weekend holiday away, is normally money. Paid transport, commonly air travel, is the biggest expenditure in a persons trip followed closely by accommodation costs.

My aim is to limit these costs by travelling on slower, cheaper modes of transport (Or even free!). Working in exchange for accommodation is another major part of keeping costs down. Practising these trains of thought will means longer periods of travel and hopefully a fuller sense of immersion. Sitting next to local people on a bus rather than sitting next to international people over the bus in an aircraft.

(1) The act of leaving behind the orderly world to travel independently for an extended period of time.

So in a nut shell my mission is to travel, immersively, for an undisclosed amount of time.

(now you know you needn't have read all that^!)

As always your comments are much appreciated


  1. Helen Fennemore Jones27 February 2012 at 18:34

    Adam, I congratulate you on your desire to take control of your life and follow it wherever it leads! I travelled and worked in the USA & Canada for a year and whilst I was petrified about quitting a job and leaving home, it was the best thing I could have ever done!

    If I had not travelled I would have spent the last 16 years of my life saying "I wish I had..." and that kind of regret somehow seems harder to cope with than wishing you hadn't done something!

    So I say go to it Adam, YOU decide what road you are going to travel down next! Take Care!

  2. Thanks for your support Helen,

    I think at the moment the unknown is pretty daunting but the first hurdle of committal is done. I feel a mix of fear, anxiety yet wanting and anticipation.

    It will be interesting to see how the emotions change as hurdles are jumped and the planning progresses

    Thanks again for the support. Hopefully you can follow us for many years to come!

  3. Helen Fennemore Jones28 February 2012 at 09:06

    Fear is good Adam, it stops us from taking too many stupid risks - the world is not a nice place so you must take care! Embrace the fear and it will become a faithful old friend who will travel with you, but you should listen when it speaks!

    Fear does not need to become a solid brick wall that you can not get past!

    Now I am 40 and linked with too many of society’s chains, I shall watch your journey with much interest and live (just a little) vicariously through your actions!

    Stay brave Adam. Life should be the adventure you want it to be and only you can make it happen!

  4. I've defenitly found the kind of support I need. It's amazing how we have the same...well, mission: to travel, immersively, for an undisclosed amount of time. I haven't started mine yet. But I'm gonna do it, real soon... I'll keep you posted.

  5. Travelling definitely enriches your life Adam so I wish you well in your venture.
    Cheers, Geoff