The Wish List Tourist: Setting off

Rebecca, the Wish List Tourist
Rebecca, the Wish List Tourist

A Northamptonshire woman is about to set off on a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

You can follow her progress with the Northants Telegraph.

Here Rebecca explains why she’s undertaking the trip of a lifetime.

I’ve always felt a sense of urgency in life, driven by its terminality.

I grew up in a single parent family with my mum and sisters in rural Northamptonshire.

Then the news reports were about starving children in Africa, Nelson Mandela and apartheid, war in Beirut and IRA terrorism.

At 16 I was a boiling mass of ambition to understand the world better and change it.

I had never been abroad, so I chose to start my travels in Australia, once I’d finished college.

I had two waitressing jobs and I worked at Saxby’s pie factory during the holidays; the money I made was saved in NatWest piggy banks and was meant to buy a plane ticket.

But at 17 life took an unexpected turn, so I put my plan on hold and went to university instead.

Now, 22 years later, I have sold my flat in London, one of the most thriving cities in the world, I have left a job I loved, leading a PR team that campaigns for better lives for vulnerable children, and I’m a pescetarian.

What’s more I’m about to realise my teenage dream.

I take off on a one way flight to Colombia today!

As sad as I am (and I have cried more than once) to leave it all behind, I have never been so excited to own sensible shoes and a backpack.

I’ve been abroad numerous times, I’ve pushed myself to my limit and experienced extremes of climate, from the Norwegian Arctic to the Rajasthan jungle and Australian Outback, but never for more than three weeks at a time.

It just isn’t enough. I need the opportunity to do it properly, to immerse myself in other cultures and feel a real sense of distance and understanding of other ways of life before I can satiate this compulsion and happily go back to where I began.

Life’s dots are joining up and this will be my first step on the road home where I have five young nephews and nieces, my sisters, mum and dad.

My own personal pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is waiting for me.

Today, exactly six months before my 40th birthday, I leave the UK and start the trip back to my birthplace, albeit the long way round.

And I’m going to slow down and savour every moment of the journey.

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