This guy will convince you to quit your job and book a flight round the world...
Now if there is a man who knows how to live life to its absolute fullest, it’s our very own Caleb Van Schmal and if you have a mate who you’ve been trying to convince to quit their day job and join you travelling then send them this interview. The man makes you want to just throw some things in a backpack and head straight for the airport with a one-way ticket to anywhere and everywhere…
Read on for a serious injection of wanderlust as Caleb talks about the year he spent travelling around the world...also NSFW as it will make you want to actually quit work - thanks for that one Caleb.
Check out Student Flights latest travel deals here, warning tho, you're going to wanna book asap...
Why did you take a RTW 'Gap year'?
I needed a work break so in 2009 I took a year off with my best mate and went backpacking around the world, we'd been saving for ages for just such an opportunity and the stars finally aligned for us both. We travelled all through Asia, did the Trans Siberian from China through Mongolia and Siberia to Russia, then all through Europe and the Middle East, all over the States and the Caribbean and Central America (including Burning Man), then down to Brazil for Carnivale and all through South America. I ended up managing a bar at a hostel on the beach for 3 months to finish in Brazil. It was an awesome year away, to say the least.
Do you think taking that year to travel expanded your view of the world? How?
Oh my gosh yes. Travel gives you empathy, it opens up your eyes to how lucky we are in Australia. It showed me parts of the world I could never have imagined, it forced me out of my comfort zone and grew my self-confidence in my own resilience.
It was really helpful work wise, my career and results soared following on from the trip so that was an unexpected bonus. I am less quick to judge, more open-minded and truly try to say yes now whenever possible. It's something I will never forget - life is either an extraordinary journey into the unknown or nothing!
Do you have any insider tips for someone thinking of doing something similar?
The first step is always the hardest. Just buy the ticket - take the ride. Once you do that, everything else will fall swimmingly into place. Don't plan too much, let the winds take you where you're supposed to go. Save as much money as possible. Always have your first night of accommodation booked in a new destination, it's amazing to arrive by plane, bus, train to a new city and know straight away where you're going.
Don't worry too much about what's happening at home once you've departed, nothing much is changing here meanwhile you might be missing an opportunity. Say yes to something new/different/exciting/scary at every turn. Talk to people, open yourself up and listen to their stories. Try and give something back to poorer communities even if just volunteering your time for half a day. Take the time to learn some key phrases of the language spoken in your planned destinations. And stop waiting for the right time to do it, it may never come.
What's one of your favourite travel memories/ or big picture realisations from this trip?
My favourite memories of the trip are all small but powerful at the time. The feeling of freedom when hitchhiking and catching a successful ride in Texas. The vastness of the world when hurtling through desolate Siberia on a train. The peace of lazing in a hammock with a beer on the beach in Mazunte on the Pacific Coast of Mexico.
The energy and power of dancing on the Erik Morillo bloco at Carnivale in northern Brazil. The "no worries" attitude of missing a ferry off the Croatian Islands but then getting invited onto a superyacht to drink and play the guitar. The beauty of surfing in Puerto Rico. The family vibe of the beer halls at Oktoberfest in Munich. It's the smaller moments in between the bigger experiences that make life such an exciting ride.....
What do you think are some of the biggest benefits of booking with SF -especially for a RTW trip?
The consultants at Student Flights are awesome, we know because we go. Not only do we get amazing Black Market discounted airfares for students and youth under 30, but we are fantastic at putting together clever solutions for complex itineraries and suggesting things that you may not have even considered. You can do it all yourself, but why bother? Come to the experts and let our passion save you time and money! I'd love to hear from you on firstname.lastname@example.org (haha - you can take that last line out)......(Ed note: Ya cheeky bugger - alright we’ll leave it in but you’re gonna have to deal with all of the fan mail)
Finally, how did you arrive at SF and how long have you been with us?
Gosh, I started with Student Flights way back in 2004 as an "in between trips" role. I've left and come back quite a few times since but I just loved it so much that it finally stuck and has now become my career and I couldn't be happier......
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