Look into my eyes…

by Ant Stone on June 15, 2007

in Uncategorized

Ok. Right. I’m making a new rule for TrailofAnts.com; for every person who asks me “how can you afford to take such a trip?” or any deviation on this question, they have to flick a quid into my rusty can, which as yet is a mirage upon the horizon. I’m going to take you back in time now, via a new process I’ve invented- blognosis (patent pending).

Look into my eyes, look into my eyes. Not around the eyes. Look into my eyes. Your eye lids are getting heavy. Count to 5. 1, a river is flowing melodically over your toes. 2, a field of corn is gently fanning your sun kissed face. 3, all surrounding noise starts to appear distant. 4, all worries and concerns you had are forgotten. 5, I am gently removing your wallet and quietly leaving the room.

As you wake you are presented with the image of a fresh faced 17 year old guy, in his formative years at work within a media company. He slowly looks around, and you can see he is forming an opinion that will forge a pathway for him to follow. He is presented with his first pay packet, and you look on curiously as he abstains from spending it all on Stella and B&H and instead creates a direct debit into a mysterious bank account. The next week he receives a pastel coloured form detailing a saving scheme provided by his company, that links to the performance of their shares (aka a SAYE scheme). Slowly but surely he carefully completes the form, in black ink and block capitals. For 7 long years he continues this ritual, only abstaining for simple(ish) pleasures; travelling, a motorbike, a car, a boat, rented accommodation, a new Mac- plus numerous pints of Stella, and the obligatory packets of B&H.

These two guiding acts of monetary instincts were the basis of the very existence of the Trail of Ants. If you hadn’t guessed, I am that fresh faced 17+7 year old. I made the decision early, that I would strive to achieve my ultimate goal- to travel- through hard work and smart saving. The goal didn’t sway me from the tasks in hand, as it happened I became successful in my job, forged everlasting friendships and harnessed invaluable skills. As I sit here and type, having achieved the opportunity to fulfil this goal, I have been pondering my next. In fact, the goal is still similar, I simply want the everlasting possibility to travel. So I’ve devised a rough tactic, and it’s something I think you could follow right now. I pledge to travel for 1 year in every 5. Essentially I’ll work’n’save for 4 years, and then head out travelling for 1 year and so on and so forth. “You CAN’T Ant, that’s not sustainable, what about a career?!” I hear the voices cry within my head.

The simple answer is I don’t want a career that will exclude my passions.

Seriously though, when you do the maths it works out. If you saved £250 a month for 4 years, you could easily travel without having to work for a year and lets face it, £250 is achievable by tightening a few belts and reevaluating your lifestyle. Naturally I’m talking from a non-dependent point of view i.e. no children, mortgage etc. I realise priorities could change, I’m merely pointing out my dreams. I’d also point out, that this goal would still be one of compromise. My primary goal is to achieve a career that includes my passion- a combination of writing and travel, wrapped up in a nice lifestyle, would see me punching the air with uncontrollable glee.

All this said, first things first… I have a 2 year RTW voyage to embark on. Now, I’m going to count backwards from 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… and wake. You can’t remember anything of the last 5 minutes and you find yourself wanting to flick a quid into my rusty can.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Annika June 16, 2007 at 6:59 am

There’s no mystery here whatsoever – or as Walt Disney said, if you can dream it you can do it. As long as you have a goal, and the will to reach it, you can do just about anything. Nothing is free, but small sacrifices will take you a loooong way. You sure deserve this trip (it’s getting closer with lightning speed!) because you worked hard to do it. Have fun!!


Jim June 17, 2007 at 6:53 am

This is completely unrelated to this post, but I just wanted to say that I’m glad you’re coming to the USA. I think you’ll find that your opinion of our country, and of Americans, will completely change.

Now if we could work on the rest of your countrymen…

Have a fun trip!

-Jim from the USA

PS – Don’t be scared of South America. If anything, be scared that you’re going to love it so much that you’ll never leave. The whole continent is amazing.


Ant June 17, 2007 at 3:49 pm

@Annika- thanks for the comments, great words of wisdom from yourself and Walt, I’ll carry them around with me. Be sure to drop by and see how it’s going (13 days and counting…!). I think it’s important to have goals, no matter what size they may be.

@Jim- I’m completely open minded, not sure if you read elsewhere but my brother and wife (who is American) live there, and love it (NYC). I’ll most probably be there in around 2 years, so be sure to see how my opinions forms (not just on USA). No doubt I’ll have met many of your fellow country folk along The Trail before then, I’m sure we’ll find a common ground. South America is making me buzz…!

@Everyone- thanks for all the emails of support, I’m gradually replying to you all with answers etc but bear with me as I’m inundated with farewells and final bits of planning. But please keep them coming, there’s some fascinating stories 🙂


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