Travelling the world without flying

Obsessing about celebrities? Gorging on take-out food? Working an unfulfilling job? Buying lots of useless crap?

It reads like a checklist of society’s collective bad habits; a sad testament to our modern day malaise.

And these, say Niall Doherty, are also the tell-tale danger signs you’ve fallen victim to the so called “rabblement”.

A successful blogger, Niall is on a mission to travel the world without flying and uses his website Disrupting the Rabblement to rail against the status quo along the way.

 His is a disturbing picture of modern day society in which the zombie-like masses endure the daily drudgery of a thankless job and boring existence, feeding on fast food and taking temporary solace in vices such as TV, consumerism and alcohol.

Originally from Waterford in Ireland, Niall quit his own job as a web designer in New Orleans back in 2010 to pursue a more personally fulfilling lifestyle.

The following year he set off on a three-year journey to travel the world overland.

He gets around on trains, buses, boats and sometimes by hitchhiking, breaking up his journey for a few months at a time to experience living locally.

He says the catalyst for his life change was the realisation that he was simply going through the motions without growing as a person.

“I’m a very growth-oriented person, so it’s important to me to have big goals and challenges in my life that push me to better myself and have memorable experiences.”

A self-confessed hypocrite and attention-seeker, Niall says his life has undergone a complete shake-up since embarking on the trip.

“I’m in a different country every few weeks, I get to meet new and interesting people regularly, I see amazing sights and experience unusual cultures just as I go about my days,” he says.

He says too many people fell into the trap of going down the usual path – pursuing higher education, getting a job and settling down – simply because they thought that’s what they were supposed to do.

“When I use terms ‘rabblement’ or ‘status quo’, many folks assume I’m railing against that traditional lifestyle of work 9-to-5, pay a mortgage, get married, have kids, etc…

“But I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with those things.

“The problem is when people fall into that kind of lifestyle by default, because they feel like they’re supposed to do those things, and not because they made a conscious decision to do them.”

He says bowing to traditional lifestyle choices simply because of society’s expectations often resulted in feelings of frustration and regret in the long run.

“And that’s essentially what’s wrong with falling in with the rabblement: You end up letting other people do your thinking for you, and living a life untrue to yourself,” he says.

As well as blogging on his own lifestyle experiments and various personal development concepts, Niall has also tackled taboo subjects, including religion and casual sex – a stance which has at times attracted the ire of readers.

After one particularly vitriolic online outpouring, Niall re-introduced himself with the tongue-in-cheek post ‘Hi, I’m Niall, and I will Eventually Disappoint You’.

Niall, who follows a vegan diet and abstains from alcohol, concedes he wasn’t always this outspoken, having struggled with crippling shyness up until early adulthood.

However, he says he no longer baulks at sharing his vulnerabilities or admitting his own failures publicly.

Blessed with a humorous and engaging writing style, Niall’s global adventures and no-holds-barred take on life now draws a wide audience.

“Readers seem to appreciate that I often acknowledge just how much of a clueless fool I am,” he said.

“I can’t help but admit that I’m stumbling along blind like the majority of people, doing the best I can to make sense of everything.”

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About the author


Kate has written 63 articles for MeetingLife

Kate is an Australian journalist and is now based in Rome. She collects red shoes and postcards. Her favourite experiences to date include hangliding on her 30th birthday and travelling overland from China to Russia.