By Nicola Bleach (http://nicolableach.co.uk/)
I'd always wanted to travel. Simple as that. I can't think where the idea came from (possibly my Dad, after he travelled the world back in the 70's), but after several aspects of my life which were once constants became not-so-constant, I realised it would be now or never for my round the world adventure to finally materialise.
So ensued a substantial period frantic saving, working three jobs, living with my parents again and raiding my savings account in order to buy my round the world flights. And once that was done there was no turning back. After about nine months following my decision to up sticks, I was in my first (and favourite) country, Nepal; and I haven't looked back or regretted a thing since.
You probably think you're already pretty familiar with your own personal traits (because, well, you're you), but until you've been regularly forced out of your comfort zone to be resourceful, flexible, alone, patient or just utterly independent, you won't know yourself at all.
Once you do eventually get on the road you'll inevitably come face to face with obscene wealth, devastating poverty, heart-aching beauty, extremes of weather, truly awful accommodation and thoroughly fascinating people; and it will all be in a completely foreign world to the one that you're used to or are entirely comfortable with. But you'll be a more tolerant, understanding, courageous and better person because of it.
I can definitely say I've learnt a lot about myself in the last six months. For example, I'm definitely more sociable than I thought I was and can only handle a few days alone before craving some kind of companionship. Having said that though, I'm now completely comfortable enjoying a meal in a restaurant by myself. And you can guarantee there's still more I'll discover about myself by the time I eventually arrive back in sunny England about a year from now.
So in short, my advice to anyone playing with the idea of travel would be to just DO IT! Stop making excuses for not doing what you've always wanted because, in reality, most hurdles that are holding you back can be quite simply overcome. It's just your own skewed reasoning holding you back.
You only live once: that's been my motto since I left home. And it's served me well.