Travel stories with Joe Bayfield – November 2015


”Don’t worry about what other people think”

// November 2015 //
What is your story? Why are you travelling?

I had to get away after University. I had barely travelled in the summers I had off and didn’t come out with the best grade (this put me off getting a job!). An email came through one day about teaching English in Thailand and I thought “Yeah why not?!”. That single email changed my life.

Three months later I had committed to a six month teaching contract and was on a flight. Before leaving home six months seemed like long enough – this soon changed!. I made an amazing group of friends, they were all staying on and falling in love with the country. Six months quickly turned into 12, before I knew it 18 months had passed!

After an unforgettable year and a half, the educational system started to grate on me. My close friends were moving on too – I needed a change. As my contract was coming to an end fate intervened and dealt me a lucky hand – my best friend from home was just about to start his travels around South East Asia, Australia, New Zealand and America. There was now no question of what I was going to do next. I met him and his two mates (who are now also my best friends) and we spent the next six months on a wild adventure.

Why are you where you are now? Why that place?

I’ve been back in England for just over a year. The combination of running out of money, burning out and my parents giving me some convincing reasons to come home contributed to that.

My parents argument was simple; come home, we will help you buy a flat or house (spoilt only child, deal with it), get some qualifications behind you and if you want to leave again, you will have better prospects and something to come back to …

This made total sense and the thought of being home for a while didn’t make me want to kill myself quite as much. So I headed home, along with the teaching experience I had got under my belt abroad. It made sense to get into teaching at home (and the thought of 10 weeks holiday a year sounded pretty good!). So, now I’m currently training to be a teacher.

At one point I was considering staying here, moving to London and joining the rat race. Maybe I still will, you never know what will happen. But crazy rent prices, long working hours (yes, even with 10 weeks holiday!) and the utter shit that is the English winter has seriously convinced me against it.

Give one good/ inspiring/ funny (high) story?

I’m sure all the boys will agree with this one, even re-telling it doesn’t sound real. On our last night in Singapore we got upgraded (completely at random) to a £4,000 a night suite at the famous Marina Bay Sands Hotel. For one night only we were the very proud owners of the 51st floor. The suite looked across Singapore bay, it had a cinema room, a grand piano, a massage room, a pool, the list goes on … We dined in the Michelin Star restaurant and had a night out as ballers! It’s one of those things you hear about but never think will happen to you. Well, believe the stories because they happen!. Will never forget that day.

Give one bad/ sad/ tragic (low) story?

There weren’t many to be honest. Just those rare days where you are extremely hungover, feeling like crap, low on money, missing home and your own bed. Having to travel on a shitty mode of transport brought a few ”what am I doing here?!” moments. These are the worst. Where you think to yourself ”yeah I’ve had enough, I want to go home now”. But any bad feelings never last long on the road!.

Where are you going next?

Next is always somewhere new. New is always better. A bit more of Asia in the summer holidays. Taiwan, China, Philippines or Indonesia. My options are wide open, I haven’t decided yet. I’ll aim to cram in a weekend away somewhere in Europe before then too.

What motto do you live by?

More of a train of thought than a motto that always occurs to me when I think about going travelling again (but it can relate to anything I guess / any decision you have to make about life) …

I have very few good memories from my last year at home, nothing comes to mind except a few good nights out, and the small holidays I did with friends. I think about my two years away and I can recall so many days, so many memories that still bring a smile to my face.

… So I like to think about when I’m old and wrinkly and looking back on my life. Will I be happier that I spent 2 / 6 / 8 years of my twenties on the road? Will I be happier that I spent 2 years living in Japan and learning how to speak Japanese? Will I be happier that I have seen and experienced the world, and made friends from different countries? Or will I be happier having slaved away, working a 9-5? Looking back and regretting not enjoying my younger years/ wasting my youth is what truly scares me.

To put it into a succinct quote. Benjamin Franklin – ”Most men die at the age of 25, we just don’t bury them until they are 70″.

Share a secret about a place …

Live in a country truly different to your own, even just for a few months. Learn the culture, try your best to learn some of the language. It will broaden your mind in so many ways.

Life lesson / tip you would give?

First things first; don’t worry about what other people think. They might say you are running away from ‘real life’. Who are they to tell you what ‘real life’ is? Just because society deems a steady job, lots of money, a family and kids a success – it doesn’t mean you have to conform to this. There’s nothing wrong with that either, of course. I think it’s all about your own priorities in the end.

If you have a deep burning passion for a career / if you want a home life with a family and kids / if you want to be rich – as long as you are happy with your own choices and its truly in your heart then its the right thing for you! If however you want to travel the world then great – see you out there!

Essentially, stay true to yourself. Don’t worry about the pressure of society or what your family and friends may be trying to push you towards because of the need to fit the ‘norm’. Take whatever path you want and you will be fine.


Everyone has a story to share … Thanks Joe for sharing your story 🙂

”The People Make The Place”


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