What have you achieved? And why do you think you could do it?

What have you achieved? And why do you think you could do it?

(Be patient. The end is worth it :slight_smile:


I was 18 years old and I’d just passed up University offers from Kings and Queen Mary’s (both Top 7 UK Universities at the time) to study English Literature. I’d been refused a place at Oxford and was determined to reapply to Cambridge and live in the university halls in which I felt I belonged.

It also meant that I had a year to do ‘other stuff’.

This was in 2004.

No-one in my family had ever taken a gap year. So what was I to do with my time? I decided that travelling seemed a good option.

I was 18 years old and I decided that I’d go and travel the world alone for 6 months. My cousin said ‘it will be cool’.

That was all the convincing my impulses needed.

My parents huffed and puffed. Said they would not support me financially or emotionally. I’d have to organise it all myself, save the money and go it alone.

So I thought.

I’ll stick it to them. I was working at the Odeon cinema at the time selling tickets and earning $9 per hour. I then got a second job working in a bank as a cashier/teller for $11 per hour.

I worked 15 hours per day 5 days a week often more (Odeon was shift work) to save money to go and do something my cousin said was ‘cool’. I saved around $10,000 USD within a few months.

My parents looked on, quietly, curiously. wondering if I’d get a VW Polo or some kind of wheels and spend money on parties, dinners and drinks as they expected.

It was a beautiful moment when my parents drove me to the airport as I was about to embark upon a 6 month trip:

India-Singapore-Thailand-Malaysia-Australia-New Zealand-Fiji-USA with no plan, nothing booked, knowing no-one. Just my plane ticket.

My father stood quietly at the gate looking into my eyes as I was about to head through the terminal and say goodbye.

This wide eyed 18 year old with no idea of what would be waiting for him across these 6 months.

He quietly whispered ‘I’m so proud of you son’.

I looked into his eyes; smiling slightly thinking…

what have you achieved? and why do you think you could do it?
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