I just came across this video that cracks me up. But it also brings up some key questions — the ones that really do keep people from traveling. And though it’s fun to look at the nomad in this video as a spoiled rich gal, that’s not a necessity to hitting the road. Check out the video & read below for my comments:
Okay, so first of all, I know some people have seen me as this wispy dreamy travel fanatic. I love to talk about the wonders of travel and quote the “be bold” “travel makes you richer” mantras. And if I could instagram the world around me while talking about it… awesome!
…But okay, let’s be real about this now. When it comes down to it, travel is more accessible than you think. And when I say it is totally achievable for anyone, I mean it. Anyone with any income level can travel. Sure, depending on your place in life, your career, your commitments, your everything will vary. If you have three young children, crippling debt and two jobs, you may need some time to get your ducks in order. But even you, parent in need of ducks, can do it.
Don’t do it because some lady in a hat told you to. Do it because you want to. And thing is, everyone I come across wants to travel more! (Or at least 96% based on a survey I conducted.)
The time and strategy varies on your unique situation, but you’re a go.
How to Let in More Travel in Your Life
What it takes is a perspective change. And acknowledgement that it can be achieved, and to some, vacation days become more of an excuse than a feasible reason not to go anywhere.
And the reason I know this to be true is because I’ve spent a lifetime discussing the motivations on why people choose to travel or to stay home. And I’ve lived through all the reasons of why to go and why not to go as well.
There was a time in my life when saving money trumped doing much of any travel. Whether it was to pay off $50 on my credit card or the idea that I better fill up my savings account when I was young and had no commitments (isn’t it smart to be the 19-year-old with a healthy retirement fund?), I didn’t venture all that far.
[Note: It’s great to work on savings and pay off credit cards. Just keep reading for my change in perspective.]
Thing is, I had really cool opportunities come up in my early twenties when I had very few commitments. I had a job, but a very flexible one (with no benefits, so no hours of work minimum), no lease commitments (the parents let me stay rent-free for a few months), and a place to store a lot of my stuff (thanks again, parents). So not much of anything was stopping me. But I didn’t want to front the cash for the whole reason of holding on tight to a rainy day fund or paying off college loans.
Now, I know I had it easy looking back. A free place to stay for a bit? An hourly job where vacation time wasn’t a discussion? Dental insurance was still covered by my parents until age 23. I know not everyone has this luxury.
I also felt challenged with that societal feeling that I better not have too much fun. I wasn’t the rich kid with the big family travel budget. And I wasn’t a heathen! I better be practical and work, work, work. Maybe take a road trip with a friend on a tight budget for three days, but then I better get back to work to rake in all I could with my $9/hour wage. So an invitation to go to Cancun with some friends where the only travel cost was the flights? No thank you. I passed it up. (And then regretted it.)
Fast forward a year after that, and I was off to Australia for four months. On my way! This time I made the investment and hit the road with my sister and her boyfriend (now my brother-in-law). I’d always had the drive to do something more, but it really helped to have my sister to get me out of my work-for-low-wage and limit doing anything but make money track. Her nudge helped.
We had time, we had flexibility, and we had our trio to pool together for better value in some senses. Like for example, in the those days we could often get a hostel for about $12 – $15 a night each. And because we were three, we’d often get a private room by commandeering a four bedroom unit. Meals could come out cheaper too, with us sharing plates.
We also had work visas, so the plan was to work, work, work some more, but this time getting the international experience of it all. I think that plan to work is what got me to do it. I may not have gone if the plan was all travel and no working. And this was well before the surge of possibilities with online, remote work.
Really, I’ve learned that the challenge I’ve had all along is that we all limit ourself. Travel helps us face those limits so we can learn to free them.