About me

Hi, my name is Ugo, a middle-aged former banker from London now backpacking around the world as a digital nomad.

I decided to create this travel diary/journal/blog (hate that word) as a way to catalogue my journey and remember my experiences as I embark on this new phase of my life, which I like to refer to as, "my time".

My experience on a previous month-long trip to Morocco and the cities of Southern Spain was that backpacking and hostels was still the domain of those in their 20s and 30s. I was the exception and not the norm being 52. I hope to inspire others in their 50s/60s to buck the trend and shift perceptions.

The past

So, how did I get to embrace this change in my lifestyle. The origins began while still working in asset management in London. As a banker (yes I know the word that comes into your head), I had the obligatory sports car and took it on a two week journey around the countryside and mountains of Europe.

I enjoyed every moment, often driving up to 10 hours a day. The country roads in France, Switzerland, Italy and Croatia were fantastic to drive with pretty much zero traffic. Around 6pm every evening I would start looking out for a nice hotel. european-drivingOnce I had settled in, I would take a quick shower and head out for dinner, this was my life for two weeks.

The next year, I vowed to go on a longer, one month trip. However, the effects of the 2008 recession took its toll. The company I worked for, shed over 2,000 of its 6,000 workforce…I was one of them. The stigma of being made redundant lasted only about a week, I realised it's a very common occurence in finance and usually not a personal decision. As the years have passed, many friends have also joined me in this club. Once my new reality took hold, I decided, what the heck, I would embark on another driving trip, this time for two months.

Compromises had to be made, so out went the 4 star hotels and restaurants. The only way I could afford the trip would be by going camping. Having stayed in a tent only once in my life, I began a big learning curve. Buying all the gear was fun - I was entering a new world. I decided on one of those 2-second pop-up tents, a large inflatable mattress, bbq equipment etc etc.

Every night I would put pen to paper and gather my thoughts and experiences from that day into my diary, If I'm honest, most of the days Diary were pretty similar…lots of spirited driving, stop off for lunch, more driving, find a campsite and then pitch up the tent, fire up the bbq and pour a healthy few glasses of wine.

My two driving trips taught me that we really do not need much in life to feel fulfilled…water/wine, food and shelter. I think, that was the beginning of letting go of my familiar comforts and started me on the backpacking scene.

A 3-month trip to Southern China, Vietnam and Cambodia was when I would dip my toes into long term travel. Instead of being a true backpacker, embarrassingly, I had one of those roller travel bags with the pull-out handle. To make matters worse, I stayed in hotels and guest houses having my own room for the entire trip. I did not consider myself a "real" backpacker despite hanging out with many during the trip. However, that was another step into the backpacking world.

A month long trip to Morocco and Andalusia-Southern Spain was closer to the backpacker life, in that I stayed in hostels and had a backpack without wheels. I also learned that the definition of backpacking has moved on from my perceptions. Where once, the 90 litre huge heavy backpack was the norm, backpackers seemed to be gravitating toward cabin-sized bags with far fewer items, choosing to wash clothes regularly, rather than carry more items.

The present

All of my past travel experiences have led me to my present situation embracing long term travel as a lifestyle choice. The current plan is to explore South-East Asia for approximately one year and then move onto South & Central America for a further year.

My backpack has evolved into fewer and lighter items. I would have loved to bring my leather bound diary, but that was one of the hard choices I had to make. I also had to concede, that keeping a diary has moved on. Smartphone apps being much more capable of capturing various moments of my day with photos, video and sounds; not as romantic as pen and paper, but more useful keeping everything in a digital format.

My interests are focussed on various projects such as updating this travel journal, a questions and separate photography website. Running a portfolio of online businesses together with a new fascination for short-form film making take up the rest of my time.

The future

I have decided to dedicate this last "third" of my years on planet earth to pursuits that interest me 100%. Being creative was the key, something I had truly embraced as a child……mind you, don't we all, but this is something many of us have lost becoming adults.

As always, there is a price to pay. My lifestyle will be simpler, some will think you are crazy, most will simply not understand, this is to be expected as you challenge life's norms.

Ultimately, I am standing up for what I believe in, regardless of acknowledgement or reward. I am rapidly learning, that much of what we believe to be control in our lives, is in reality an illusion. I am willing to see where the flow of life takes me, this may, or may not, lead me back to my home in London.


Get in touch

If you have any comments, questions or just want to say hello.....let's chat


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