Grief has a way of putting our time on Earth in perspective.
Charlie Hammerton had every reason to be angry at the universe following the tragedies he suffered in 2017. But the 25-year-old chose to view his losses in a different light: as a reminder to appreciate all of life’s wonders. So began an incredibly uplifting and fulfilling journey around the world, with his furry friend, Bandit, by his side.
Within the same year, the Royal Air Force airman lost three of his loved ones: his biological mother, Jan, his adoptive mother, Samantha, and his best friend, Will Moss. He struggled to cope at first. Then Charlie decided to turn his grief into joy with a change of scenery.
Charlie left everything but his rescue ferret behind, including his job and home in England. He also sold all his possessions to pay for the trip, which began with a ferry ride to the Netherlands.
“I was living in a nice flat, had a good job and had three cars. I had a lot of savings behind me and I was lucky enough to be very secure,” he said. “But it was all just ‘stuff’ to me and didn’t really mean anything. So I decided to get rid of the lot and set off with Bandit.”
Over the following eight months, the two traveled about 8,000 miles in a camper van. They visited 11 countries, including Italy, Scotland, Holland, Germany, Sweden, France, Spain, and Norway.
“I have less money now but I am much wealthier as a person,” Charlie said. “Travelling was the most amazing experience of my life and it was completely liberating. We followed the sun across the world and camped under the stars in amazing places.”
But his favorite part? Having Bandit there every step of the way.
“It was incredible to do it with Bandit. He has seen me at my best and my worst and has always been with me. Bandit has been with me through thick and thin,” he added.
Charlie credits that trip — and Bandit, of course — with turning his life around for the better. Since then, he and the critter have helped raised awareness for different charities close to Charlie’s heart. Charlie also published a book detailing his life “Before Our Adventures.”
Bandit has since passed away, but the impact his friendship made on Charlie will never be forgotten. Now Charlie is a celebrated motivational speaker. He works with schools across England to boost kids’ self-esteem through outdoor adventures of their own.
“It’s more than just a dude and a ferret,” he wrote. “I’ve dedicated my life to my passion of inspiring others and making real change for people suffering, especially children.”
The best way to honor the people we’ve lost is to enjoy every second of every day. Charlie continues to do so for Jan, Samantha, Will, and Bandit, inspiring the world in the process. You can check out every stop of Charlie and Bandit’s adventure here.
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