“A life of travel is not for special, rich or lucky people. It’s for those who choose to live it.”
Do you dream of places you want to travel, but put it off until “some day” when you have more time and money or when your kids have grown?
Some day may never come.
Most people have been brainwashed to believe that they don’t have the time, the money or the right to live a life of travel and that travel is for exotic people blessed with unusual jobs or trust funds.
And then, when they finally do embark abroad, it’s only for two weeks to a foreign land where they blazed in on a plane, made a mad dash to check off the “tourist to do’s” and then returned home exhausted. Two weeks is child’s play! For a truly rich experience, you need big chunks of time.
Imagine how much you would learn about yourself if you spent a month eating up the epicurean delights of Argentina, swimming with the sharks in South Africa or immersing in the spirituality of Ayers Rock.
You can travel if you want to. I promise you! Please, read on and take this to heart.
I was born with the travel bug. You could say it’s a curse, because the adventure of travel is all I ever think about.
My life and business have been carefully arranged so that my family and I can spend a couple months a year exploring new destinations. Some years we are on the road four months or more.
My husband and I have created our company to enable us travel at the drop of hat. And yes, this loses us money sometimes. Shutting down our studio to travel overseas for a month at a time puts a ding in the revenue of our business. But we choose the fun adventures over money every time.
One of the biggest misconceptions about travel is that you have to have a stash of cash to be able to take big trips. It’s simply not true. You don’t have to be wealthy, or even make an above average salary. You just have to choose travel over “stuff”.
Every year Drew and I discuss getting a new car. My 1997 Toyota 4-Runner has a lot of miles and a few dents. Our conversation goes something like this:
Drew, pointing to a car ad in the newspaper: “How about the Chevy Murano. They’re nice.”
Me: “Let me calculate the cost.”
After a lot of clacking on my iphone calculator, I say: “How about a trip to New Zealand instead? It’ll be cheaper.”
When I’m faced with the decision to buy creature comforts or to take an adventure, the adventure wins out every time!
Most people claim that they want to live the travel lifestyle, but they rarely choose to make it a priority in their life. Maybe they don’t know how, and it’s not their fault. Sometime between when we are born and the time we are old enough to buy our own plane ticket, we are infused with the belief that travel is a luxury item, like a Porsche or a diamond ring.
But what if you knew that you could live a life, NOW, where every year you take a few months to explore other parts of the world?
And when you do finally retire, and you’re old and tired, you have a lifetime of memories of all the wonderful places you’ve been!
It’s not that difficult to create this type of life. You just have to re-program your mind to think like a traveler.
MAKE THE DECISION
Decide that you want to travel NOW, not when you have money, or are retired, or some other anchor point in the far future. But now, starting this year.
ARRANGE YOUR LIFE TO MAKE TRAVEL A PRIORITY
You can either cultivate a career that allows travel or convince your 9-5 boss to allow you to take more time off.
Cultivate a Travel-Friendly Career:
There are numerous careers that allow you to take off for periods of time to travels. They include:
- Fishing / Tourist careers
- Massage, personal trainers, tutoring, dog walking; any skill that can go mobile
For nine-to-fivers: If you have a 9-5 job that only allows a two week vacation each year, there is an alternative:
Train your boss, every year, to let you take a couple weeks extra without pay. (Be okay with losing that pay. You’re buying a wonderful lifestyle!)
Don’t ask permission, but rather make the most convincing argument that this is a lifestyle need, and that when you return you’ll be refreshed and raring to be the best employee ever. Many bosses will surprisingly agree to this if they know that the company would benefit in the long run.
When I had my cubicle job many years ago in the insurance industry, I convinced my boss to let me take a one month trip most years. In 1997 I convinced him to let me take a four month sabbatical. I happily bought a round-the-world ticket and went on the trip of a lifetime.
HAVE LESS, TRAVEL MORE
The less stuff you have to worry about, the easier it is to pick up and go. Stop accumulating worthless junk, electronics and clothing and start unloading what you have.
- Live below your means.
- Get rid of your cable bill.
- Don’t buy that new gadget if the one you have is good enough.
- Get roommates.
- Live in a smaller home (everything costs less when you do).
- Keep your car as long as you can, pay it off and keep driving it until it dies.
- Take good care of the things you have before replacing them with new ones. (My washer and dryer are over 15 years old and they still run great.)
DON’T SWEAT THE COST OF TRAVEL
My wise mother in-law once said “Don’t worry about money. It’s just a bunch of numbers on a piece of paper.”
Travel costs money, but you can do it for less than you think. There are parts of the world where you can travel for very cheap, like Argentina, Nicaragua and Mexico. In more expensive locations, save by staying in youth hostels or by doing a home exchange. With a little creativity, you can stretch your money very far.
If you are worried about spending your savings to go on a life altering trip, remind yourself of what you are working for, anyway. If not for a great time experiencing all that our world has to offer, than what? Enjoy life, now!
CHOOSE TRAVEL OVER LESS IMPORTANT THINGS
Take a good look at what you are spending money on. I have a friend who gets a new car every year and has a big screen television set in every room, but she complains that she can’t afford to travel!
On the other hand, my younger sister works simple jobs so she is free to go to Europe every summer. Many of her friends are jealous. But, she’s never owned a cell phone or a car. She chooses a life of travel over a life of normal!
Never once have I regretted spending the time or money to go on a global adventure. I have enjoyed so many amazing adventures around the world, that if I died today, I would feel fulfilled. I want you to feel the same way, too!
MAKE THE COMMITMENT
When we decided to travel Australia, we planned six months in advance. The first thing we did was choose the dates and then bought our plane tickets. Once the tickets were bought, the trip was a done-deal; there are no refunds. Everything else fell into place after that. Buying plane tickets = Commitment!
My challenge to you: Choose one place that you want to go, and pick a date in the next nine months to go there. Buy your plane tickets immediately. Once you do that, you are committed! Get excited and make a promise to yourself to do this every year.
Adventure, travel, culture: it’s there for the taking. You just have to arrange your life to have it.
Please, share in the comments: Where will your dream adventure take you?
PS: If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard from me for awhile, it’s because I’ve been busy writing a book called How to Understand Art Licensing Contracts. Please, click on the link and check it out!