I’ll be the first to admit, travel isn’t for everybody.
There are millions of people in this world who cannot travel. Whether their limitation is financial, physical, or other…seeing the world isn’t a possibility for them today, and it likely never will be.
I say this because—it’s more than likely if you’re reading this page right now, you are not one of these people. If you have access to Internet, computers, iPhones…you have the means to travel.
I’d venture to say that if you’re reading this now, you’re also interested in traveling more than you do now. If you asked ten random people what one thing they wish they could do that they’re not doing is…I’d bet that at least half of them would say “see the world.” Likely all would say “go on vacation.”
It’s natural for humans to seek exploration, search for meaning, and desire connection with nature and with humanity outside of our own circles. There is so much beauty in this world—it’s a crime not to try and see some of it with your own two eyes if you have the ability (and you do.)
It’s NOT natural for humans to embrace uncertainty, leap without looking, become comfortable with being uncomfortable, face our fears, break out of what we know. Why would we want to do these things? I assert it’s because we grow, change, and become better versions of ourselves. Also…because it is worth it.
10. STOP making excuses.
Do any of the following sound familiar?
….I don’t have enough money
….I don’t have enough time
….I have obligations at home
….I can’t leave my job
….I’ll get fired/won’t get promoted if I ask for that kind of time off
I don’t care.
We all have something holding us back from traveling IF we let it.
There are some times we have legitimate reasons why it’s not right for us to travel. But they’re usually not permanent. Stop letting yourself believe they are.
9. Take a look at where you’re spending your money outside of the essentials…and stop spending it there (if you can.)
Buying multiple Starbucks each week? Picking up that round at the bar? Ordering that pizza AGAIN? Do you REALLY need another shirt from H&M? I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but these things add up, people. I’m no budget stickler….until I realize that paying less for my rent/cable/phone/car or omitting that beverage/movie/concert/dinner can quickly equal a plane ticket somewhere fabulous. Start a travel fund, and start putting the money you would have spent on these unnecessary items into that fund. You’d be surprised how much you can collect in a year’s time. It’s about priorities.
By the way, essentials are rent, groceries (NOT from Whole Foods), and anything else you have to do to continue living and breathing. Your Netflix subscription and mani/pedis are NOT essentials, and if you believe they are I would ask you to reassess how badly you want this.
8. Refuse to settle for anything less.
There was a time, not so long ago…where travel was truly a luxury that most could not afford, or even participate in. That time is not now. With the spread of technology, globalization, and an ever-growing, competitive travel/tourism market, it is easier than ever to hop a plane and be worlds away in what seems like the blink of an eye. (Especially in comparison to how we used to get around the world. Four months on a boat…no thanks.)
Take advantage of the enormous opportunities that we have to stretch ourselves, to experience other cultures, to have adventures. Unless you’re happy without those things, in which, I say…carry on, and consider the fact that you might not know what you’re missing.
7. Visit your friends abroad.
Right along with what I mentioned about the increasing ease of traveling to the corners of the earth, I want you to think about friends and even acquaintances that you know living/working/studying abroad. Chances are, whether they’re truly expats or living there temporarily, they are going to welcome a friendly face and be proud to show you their new world. It doesn’t hurt to reach out and mention you’d like to visit, or that you’ll be in the area and you’re hoping to meet up. More times than not, my bet would be you’ll get an invitation to crash and/or the best type of tour guide there is…local and FREE.
I will add that if you decide you can visit someone living abroad, it goes without saying that you must act as a gracious guest. Discuss the timeframe of your visit and their availability to spend time exploring with you. If you’re going to be housed with them for more than two weeks, offer to pitch in on utilities. At any rate, buy them dinner or a bottle of wine to show your appreciation. You’ll still spend far less than you would have on accommodation, and this way it’s a win-win, and hopefully they will continue to offer the chance to stay to other friends and travelers.
If you’re thinking to yourself…I don’t really have any friends abroad, should I be sad? Absolutely not! You can travel solo cheaply, and it’s wonderful! (but that’s a whole other post…) This is just one avenue, something to get you thinking. Furthermore, traveling is the best way to meet other travelers and like-minded, global people (which is just another way of saying, someone who has been bitten by the travel bug like you have.) The majority of friends I have had the pleasure of visiting abroad have been friends I made while traveling. Not to mention that with social media and the reach of the Internet, you have the opportunity to connect with others all over the world (potential friends in another country!) If none of these seem feasible to you, there is always couch surfing.
6. Pretend you’re already there.
‘Get pumped’ on your dream destination.
What’s the place you see when you close your eyes and imagine yourself in a foreign country?
Feel it, see it, research it, ask about it, and ask about it again. Read travel blogs, pick up some travel guides at your local library, Google image search it. Maybe even hang a picture of the place up in the room in your house where you spend the most time.
Feel it like it’s already here. This will make traveling there a subconscious priority. It will set you up for actually going when the opportunity arises.
5. Ask for the time from the appropriate person.
Be it your boss, your partner, or…your self.
You’re not alone in feeling pressed for time. Somehow though, when we really want something, and we make it known to others, we seem to find the time. My manager, for example, knows I live (and especially work) to travel. My partner knows how much my time abroad means to me, has shaped me. When you truly want something, and you don’t ask permission—you ask for a finite time away to do what you believe in—you get the time you need to do it.
Finally, stop beating yourself up about not having enough time and therefore not feeling like it’s “worth it” to go at all. Did I feel crazy for trying to spend only one week in Nepal? Did I worry that I wouldn’t be able to see much or do it justice? Did I go anyways? Was it one of the best weeks and most memorable trips of my life? You get my point…
4. Stop worrying.
Stop worrying about all the things that could go wrong when you get there. Stop worrying about the language barrier. Stop worrying about paying for it (you have that travel fund set up, right?) Stop worrying about your safety (ok, maybe worry an appropriate amount here, but do your research. And in most places worry no more than you would at home.) Stop worrying about what you’ll be missing out on. I have been there, and I can tell you that 9 out of 10 times nothing has changed at home when you get back…except for you.
3. Tell others about your plan.
Bring others into your travel dream. Those who care about you, and even some of those who don’t, will support you. Better yet, they will hold you accountable to actually going.
2. Ask yourself what is holding you back.
How badly do you really want it? Just like anything worth having/doing in life, it takes determination, courage, and prioritization to consistently travel.
And yes, I know plenty of people who travel with their baby…kids…mortgage…baggage (literal and figurative.) “Can’t” and “won’t” are two different things. You can do this!
…Last but certainly not least…
1. Book a ticket and GO.
I realize that there are exceptions to every generalization. I stand by my assertion that you CAN travel more than you are now.
If there is something holding you back that I did NOT address here and that you feel you cannot navigate through yourself, email me and let me know about it. (Just be prepared, I will call you out if you’re feeding yourself BS.)