An RAF airman quit his job and sold everything to travel the world — with his pet ferret.
Charlie Hammerton, 25, was grieving following the deaths of his best friend, mother and adopted mum in just a year.
In a bid to feel more positive, he decided to travel the world with his ‘best pal’, rescue ferret Bandit.
He quit his job, sold his three cars and almost all his possessions, drumming up £15,000 for his dream trip, allowing him to buy a campervan.
The inseparable pair travelled for eight months, driving through 11 countries, from the Arctic Circle to southern Italy.
His hilarious holiday album is full of snaps of Bandit posing in front of iconic landmarks – from the Eiffel tower to the Colosseum.
Charlie has written a book inspired by the trip and now travels the country visiting schools to teach outdoor education.
Single Charlie, from Falmouth, Cornwall, 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.
“It was beautiful and I spent it with my best friend.
“I have less money now but I am much wealthier as a person.”
Charlie rescued Bandit from an animal sanctuary in 2015 and the pair have been the best of friends ever since.
The little ferret even stayed with him at his military digs in RAF Coningsby whilst Charlie was working for the RAF.
But Charlie suffered depression and suicidal thoughts after a string of heartbreaking losses in 2017.
His mum Jan died in March 2017, aged 53, after suffering with motor neurone disease, then his best friend Will Moss passed away aged 22 just a few months later following a following a night out with friends where his family suspect he took drugs.
At the end of the year his adopted mum Samantha passed away after a heart attack.
Living in Arnold, Nottinghamshire at the time he decided to turn his back on a promising career and plough almost all of his money into a globe-trotting adventure – with Bandit.
His adventures have included road trips with Bandit to raise awareness for different charities.
The pair walked across Hadrian’s Wall in aid of motor neurone disease charity, MND, and also skateboarded 40 miles across London in aid of a drug awareness charity.
“It was horrible for me but I didn’t want to get into a rut because of it all,” he said.
“I did think about killing myself a couple of times. I didn’t know where to turn.
“It took a lot of courage for me to do what I did.
“At the time 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.
“But it was all just ‘stuff’ to me and didn’t really mean anything.
“I decided to get rid of the lot – and set off with Bandit.”
Within the space of just a couple of months Charlie quit the RAF, sold his cars and gadgets and even moved out of his flat.
He managed to drum up £15,000 – and spent £5,000 on a camper van which he would go on to call home.
Starting out in February 2018 Charlie and Bandit ventured from Edinburgh, Scotland, to Holland, Germany, Sweden, Norway, France, Spain and Italy on their European road trip.
Just a month into the trip Charlie’s girlfriend, Chiara Corsa, 21, joined him and Bandit in Berlin for the rest of the adventure.
They visited some of the world’s most iconic places, including the Eiffel tower, Colosseum in Rome and the Arctic Circle.
The pair visited more than 25 towns and cities in 11 countries and Charlie documented the adventure on a Facebook page, ‘Adventures With The Bandit’.
He posted photos of Bandit at Europe’s most iconic landmarks.
“We visited some incredibly scenic places and camped next to some of the most famous places in the world”, Charlie said.
“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.”
Charlie and Bandit slept, lived and ate in their camper van before travelling back to the UK in September 2018.
In November 2018, Charlie released a book inspired by his travels.
Before Our Adventures is available to buy on Amazon and is a story all about making the most out of a bad situation.
Charlie said: “The trip was completely liberating and I really did have an amazing experience.
“I needed to just go out and do something for me.
“The book is all about how you can take anything bad and turn it into something really good.
“Everyone has the right and the ability to do that.
“It’s easy to get stuck in a rut but there’s no need to. I feel so much better for what I did.”
Charlie now works in schools across the country teaching youngsters lessons on how to build confidence, self-esteem and outdoor living skills, such as camping and bushcraft.
He said: “I went through a really rough time and developed serious depression.
“I felt suicidal and just didn’t know what to do with myself.
“A chain of bad things had happened to me and I had good reason to feel really miserable about my life.
“But I decided that was not what I wanted to be, I didn’t want this to define me.
“I sold the lot and just took off. It was the making of me.
“I channeled the negative energy and turned it into something positive.”