Welcome to the first in our new feature ‘Be Inspired’ celebrating all those amazing people in life who inspire others. From unsuspecting heroes, to those performing epic feats, to people who have changed their lives or the lives of others in a remarkable way. It’s a chance to remember all the things that can be forgotten on a day to day basis, life is amazing and so are people!
We are extremely excited to be starting off the feature by interviewing someone who inspired us to make a huge change in our lives. Sarah Chamberlain aka Sarah Somewhere is a blogger and traveller who quit her job, and sold everything all to follow her dream of indefinite travel with her partner Tyhrone. Sarah’s blog is a beautiful and honest account of her life and travels, ranging for crazy adventures across India in a rickshaw to journeys of self realisation. We are definitely grateful for that day, when a random Google search led us to Sarah’s blog and the realisation that maybe, just maybe, travel could be forever!
1) What made you decide to pack in your job and head off on a never-ending travel journey?
It was a number of things but mostly dissatisfaction with the way our lives were. We had chosen to buy property and work hard in jobs which paid the bills but didn’t fill us up. It served a purpose, but didn’t make us happy. All our friends were buying bigger houses, getting married and having babies, and we knew we weren’t ready for that yet, but we also weren’t happy with the way things were. We had travelled a lot together over the years, and always talked about traveling indefinitely without an end date, thinking how awesome that would be. It was our dream, but we didn’t know how we would make it happen with two mortgages and two fairly well-paid jobs we were afraid to leave.
When my company offered voluntary redundancies in an effort to cut back on staff, it was the sign I needed to make the break from my job of eleven years. I was really lucky to receive a pay-out for my decade of service, and Tyrhone had been working two jobs for a while in order to save for ‘the dream’. We put the properties on the market and sold them. We lost money on one, but it didn’t matter – we were free!
I don’t mean to make this sound like an easy process, it wasn’t. But one thing I will say is that in a period of a year we went from wondering how to make it happen to it becoming a reality. With no jobs, no home and only the stuff inside our backpacks, we set of for Cambodia with no plans except to take every day as it came along and try to travel for as long as we wanted to.
2) What’s your most memorable moment, the one that always makes you think “that’s why I did this!”?
Watching the most spectacular sunset of my life over Mt Rinjani on the island of Lombok, Indonesia was a pretty special moment. I hiked for two days to the base camp with some fantastic girls I’d met in Bali. The trek was unplanned and just kinda happened, yet it was so perfect. Tyrhone and I had taken some time apart as traveling together for several months started to take its toll on our relationship. We needed some solo time to gain perspective and get some individual experiences under our belts.
I was so used to sharing everything with him, but that sunset, one of the most beautiful sights I’d ever witnessed, was just for me, my new friends, and our six amazing guides and porters. It brought tears to my eyes with the sheer magic of the sight. It looked as though the sky was on fire. It was kind of a bittersweet though, because it made me realise that even though I could travel on my own and make friends and have wonderful experiences, I wished Tyrhone could have seen it too. But I’ll never forget that moment – it was something special.
Visiting the grasslands of Ta Gong in western Sichuan, China, was also somewhere that made me go, “Oh yes, this is why I travel.” Miles of rolling emerald-green hills stretching out as far as the eye could see, dotted with Tibetan monasteries and covered in prayer flags. It was totally surreal.
3) What’s been your worst moment when travelling? What got you through it?
We got really sick in China, in Ta Gong actually (at the end of our stay, thankfully). We ate bad yak steaks (seriously! Maybe it was karma). We both got food poisoning, but I got it worse. The altitude didn’t help either (we were at about 3,500m) so we decided to head back down the mountain which took about 3 hours on the bus. I clutched a plastic bag and stuck my face through a crack in the window trying not to vomit.
When we got to town, the hostel we went to was full, and by the time we found somewhere to stay we both hated each other due to us both being sick and me being a whingeing mess. The place was kind of dirty and our room hadn’t been cleaned yet. This was the final straw for me. While Tyrhone went to check us in, I just lost it, sobbing uncontrollably like a baby in a crumpled mess in the hallway.
This lovely cleaner took pity on me (I must have looked quite a sight!). She brought me warm water to drink then after I told her about my paining stomach using pathetic charades, she took me into another room and gave me the weirdest massage. She was pinching me all over, and it kinda hurt but it made me stop crying out of the sheer shock of what was happening. After that, I slept for a day and felt heaps better, so it must have worked! It also made for a pretty funny story….
4) Your blog is an inspirational read and a real voyage of self discovery, which many people can relate to. If you could travel back in time to give yourself any words of advice about the future, what would you say?
Hahaha. I’ve recently shared a bit on my blog about my journey as a recovering alcoholic, so yes, you could say I’ve had quite a colourful ride through life and made many mistakes. But honestly, as corny as it sounds, it all makes me who I am and I really wouldn’t change any of it.
I guess if I could give myself any advice it would be this: Listen to your heart, know you are loved, and that the gifts you have been given are unique and special, so don’t try to be someone else in order to seek the approval of others. You are enough!
5) You have some amazing adventures including the ‘Rickshaw Run’ (driving 3,000km across the length of India, on three wheels, in two weeks!!). Sometimes it seemed a little scary! Were there any moments you really feared for your own safety?
Umm… all the time, have you ever been in Indian traffic?! But it’s funny, because although there were moments of fear, like when we were nearly side-swiped by a truck or run off the road by a bus, the journey actually instilled a strong sense of faith in me.
India is a country like no other and the way it operates without any sense of organisation or reason (that we are used to) can teach us a lot about faith and acceptance. My world got bigger as the result of driving an auto rickshaw 3,000 KM across that frustrating and beautiful land. We were taken care of and shown so much kindness by the Indian people, it also taught me a lot about humanity and how much good there is in the world if we bother to switch off the news and get out and experience it.
6) If you could chose a favourite photo from your journey what would it be? What’s the story behind the picture?
Oh Jeez, tough one! Maybe this one of a little boy in Gokarna, India.
We stopped in this magical little town on day 10 of the Rickshaw run, and it was just a cute moment of him peering out onto the street from his home. Simple, beautiful moments is what travel is all about.
7) We are obsessed with food and constantly seem to be planning our next meal, which leads to the question: If you could travel to one city for breakfast, another for lunch, another for dinner and a final one for pudding… where would you go and what would you eat?
Croissants and café au lait in Paris for breakfast, shrimp tacos in Playa del Carmen for lunch, red curry and pad thai in Bangkok for dinner and gelato in Florence for dessert.
8) Travel can have moments of tedium or time killing, like waiting for flights. We often get through this by filling it with ‘would you rathers’. So, would you rather be only able to shout or only able to whisper for the rest of your life?
Definitely whisper. My boyfriend would happy about this too, as he says I shout all the time.
9) Your journey is very inspiring to us and many others. It definitely influenced our decision to travel indefinitely. Who inspires you?
Russell Brand, Mother Theresa, Martha Gelhorn, Joan Rivers, Arundhati Roy, Oprah, my mum, my sisters, Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, Glennon Doyle Melton, babies, puppies and basically anyone unafraid to live fully and wholly and follow their true calling. My boyfriend Tyrhone inspires me too. He is unique to the point of frustrating, doesn’t care what anyone thinks of him (a quality I really admire) and is really, really kind to people.
10) What’s next for Sarah Somewhere? Do you have any exciting adventures planned?
We’re living in Playa del Carmen, Mexico for another six months, and my sister and my Mum are both coming to visit which I’m really excited about. In February our visas are up, and the plan at this stage is to drive across central and South America. We bought a car in order to do the trip, so we will see how that goes. Honestly though, we’re pretty happy in our pad in Mexico, eating, writing, doing yoga and going to the beach, so the idea of huge overland journey is a little intimidating to me at the moment! Who knows what will happen, but one thing is for sure, this journey has been the best thing we have ever done and I would encourage anyone considering taking the leap to go for it – you won’t regret it.
If you have not already checked out Sarah Somewhere, then what are you doing? Go! GO NOW!! Here’s where: