Seize The Opportunity – A New Beginning

Seize The Opportunity

Seize The Opportunity

I didn’t think I would be breaking our self-imposed ‘no flying’ rule so soon. Only 6 and a half months into our Thailand to South Africa overland journey and I am already about to set foot on one of those large flying contraptions that I so desperately wanted to avoid. But there is a good reason for this. It would be a shame to not seize the opportunity when a good one comes along.

Life is what happens to us when we are busy making other plans – Allen Saunders

Today I am sitting in Cambodia, relaxing outside a characterful restaurant called ‘Happy Special Pizza’. Across from my outdoor dining table is a quiet road running alongside the river that bares the same name of the town I am in – Kampot. The Vietnam border is only an hour’s ride away. I am sipping on a fresh mango smoothie. It has been made with just the right amount of condensed milk to mask the slightly bitter taste of the out-of-season flesh of my favourite fruit. Cirrus clouds drift by on this unusually humid day. Dedicated Buddhists are bringing out offerings of rice, money and canned soda drinks to the monks who walk the streets collecting alms. They give their blessings to all who seek it. Life is simple here, just the way I like it.

Kampot River Sunset Seize The Opportunity
Us sitting on the Kampot River for sunset.

Tomorrow I board a flight to Germany. I have never been to Europe before and besides the images I have seen on the internet and the stories from fellow backpackers, I have no idea what to expect there. I did not think I would get a chance to visit Europe so soon due to the high costs of backpacking in the region. The money spent in 3 months in Europe could potentially last us a year or more in Asia. So when I received an email back in June regarding a short story I had written, our current adventure had been thrown a huge curveball. I was lucky enough to be selected as one of the three finalists in the World Nomads travel writing scholarship and as a result am being sent to Europe to conduct a two day writing course with a Lonely Planet author and then hit the road for 10 days to document my travels.

Kep Buildings Seize The Opportunity

To say this had come as a big surprise would be dramatically undermining the actual emotions felt when I heard the news. An opportunity of this magnitude doesn’t come around often. I definitely did not think it would be something that I would qualify for. I had never considered myself a ‘travel writer’. I just simply travel and write about it. Same as I do not consider myself a motorcyclist just because I ride a cheap, unreliable motorbike.

Nevertheless the opportunity was offered to me and I intend to make the most of it. My love of travel grows more and more everyday and the passion I hold for writing continues to burn deeper with every new article I have published. I have never wanted a ‘career’ but at the age of 27, backpacking around Southeast Asia, I stumbled upon something that excites me almost as much travel itself. The notion that travel and writing go hand-in-hand is more appealing than the deserted beaches and remote mountains I find myself writing about.

Lesh Beach Seize The Day
Lesh enjoying the beach in Cambodia

It took a while to discover this though. I left home at 20 and am still travelling, 7 years later. I was a single guy when I left and now I have the beautiful Alesha by my side. I can’t even say my dreams are coming true because our lives have progressed faster and better than we ever could have dreamed. As Allen Saunders wisely noted (and John Lennon re-worked into the song ‘Beautiful Boy’), “Life is what happens to us when we are busy making other plans”. We have decided to ditch any plans, and now our life is evolving in a beautiful way.

Wave Seize The Opportunity

I will step onto the flight tomorrow from Phnom Penh, Cambodia to Berlin, Germany. Even though my entire European trip is planned and paid for I still am unsure about what the outcomes of this kind of adventure are going to be. The best I can do is to embrace every moment and focus on life’s ever-changing opportunities. In three weeks time I will be reunited with Alesha back in Southeast Asia. The journey doesn’t end on that flight back. Far from it. Instead it will continue with a new added element that we could never have anticipated.

Perhaps at the end of my writing scholarship, I will honestly be able to consider myself a travel writer. A new unexpected career flourishing from an improvised adventure. Maybe this was part of a plan we had unknowingly made, or maybe this is what happens when you just let life take its course. Either way I am not going to let this opportunity escape me.

But for now I sit here looking out at the Kampot River, wondering what the poorly concealed innuendo of a restaurant named ‘Happy Special Pizza’ really means. Europe and its exciting opportunities are still a world away and I still have this mango smoothie to enjoy. I don’t want to think too much about tomorrow as that would result in me making subconscious plans. Instead I am focusing on this fruit shake. The waiter is walking over. Perhaps I will seize the opportunity to order another one. It is delicious.

Jazza Stoked Seize The Opportunity
Jazza – stoked on life!
Picture of Jarryd Salem

Jarryd Salem

Jarryd 'Jazza' Salem is a freelance travel writer and chief author of the stories and articles found on NOMADasaurus. Having left his home of Sydney in 2007 to pursue a life on the road, he aims to promote sustainable, community-based travel through his experiences backpacking the world. You can find him in some random country trying hard to quench his thirst for adventure. Follow his journey on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram

Hi, We’re Alesha and Jarryd!

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16 thoughts on “Seize The Opportunity – A New Beginning”

  1. This is a fantastic opportunity—-well worth flying in a metal tube at 37,000 feet for. Congratulations. I agree with you. I love to travel and I love (well, most of the time) to write, so writing about travel is a no brainer—-that took me about 40 years to figure out. Oh well, better late than never. A corollary of your quote about life happening while you’re making other plans is, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” (Woody Allen).

    • Thanks for reading, Suzanne. It doesn’t matter if it takes a week or a lifetime, at least we have discovered what we both love to do. Definitely better late than never. That’s a great quote from Woody Allen as well! I’ll have to jot that one down.

  2. Hi there! Have enjoyed your reflections on life and seizing opportunities as they arrive. Aleshia, you are an awesome partner with Jazza. Thanks for encouraging him! Jazz, we’re all very proud of you and your writing is developing with each ‘post’….is that the lingo? Love it anyway and experience what you are experiencing through it all. Love you guys! Aunty Lin

  3. Wow! That’s amazing. Your writing is really good so seizing the opportunity is the right way to go. I’m sure you will be proud to call yourself a true travel writer soon. All the best for your future ventures 🙂

  4. Huge congrats. We are newcomers to your blog after hearing about you two from our friends Dale and Franca. Hope you enjoy the time in a europe!!

    • Hey guys, thanks for stopping by! Dale and Franca are awesome people. So far Europe has been amazing. Great to be connected with you both! Happy travels, Giselle and Cody!

  5. Wow, you must be feeling really muddled. What an amazing opportunity, but leaving Asia is always hard. Let us know how it goes!

    • It was pretty surreal to win that scholarship. So stoked about it. Thanks for reading Katie!

  6. Many congratulations on being selected, this sounds like an amazing opportunity. What are travel plans if they aren’t flexible?

    I’m sure you’ll enjoy this breaking of the rule and love Germany, it is a beautiful country.

    I look forward to seeing your updates post course.

    • Thanks so much The Guy! It is quite a huge opportunity for me and I intend the make the most of it! You’re right about remaining flexible with travel plans. And as much as I hate breaking my own rules, I’ll let this one slide 😉 Germany does seem beautiful so far!

  7. Congrats!! That’s so incredibly exciting! You’re so right: we have to seize every awesome opportunity put in front of us. Take the bull by the horns, and go! Can’t wait to hear all about it 🙂

    • Cheers Penny. I’m definitely excited about the whole situation! You’re so right about taking the bull by the horns! It’s the best thing we can do!

  8. Congratulations guys!!! The fact that Europe is expensive is true, especially compared to some part of Asia, but there are ways to travel cheaply even in Europe. I like you are embracing the opportunities are coming to your way, it’s the best attitude 🙂

    • Thanks very much Franca. It would be such a shame to not make the most of every opportunity that comes along (and a lot do when you put yourself out there). Cheers for reading!

  9. OH WOW! Congratulations! I wish you all the best on this wonderful trip and have a blast. I can’t wait to read about it. Safe travels 😉

    • Thanks very much, Kavitha. I am pretty excited about it!

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