“I want to travel the world. I just can’t afford it and I don’t even know where to start!”
Have you ever said this before? It’s okay we all have.
Do you want to travel the world? Do you want to figure out how to travel the world?
Long term travel is often viewed as a dream.
Traveling in general has become nothing more than another accessory. It’s just something that we put on our credit card and it adds to our debt with all of our other crap. The art of traveling is just another commodity that’s putting us all in debt. It really shouldn’t be like this. Why is traveling the world viewed as some dream? It’s as if only people that win the lottery or retire rich can afford to see the world. This is not the way that travel should be perceived.
Are you afraid to travel?
Traveling around the world is statistically no more dangerous than traveling across your hometown. I’ve felt more safer stumbling around drunk out of my mind in Varadero, Cuba than in my own hometown. If you insist that you think problems might occur on your travel excursions, then simply check out World Travel Watch before taking off. Stop stressing over the evenings news and start planning. The more you stress the less likely you are to ever leave home.
Getting started/planning your trip.
I’m a very realistic person. My problem with most lifestyle design blogs is that they give irresponsible advice out casually. Quitting a high paying job or leaving your current life situation is not exactly all that easy.
Below are some realistic tips to help you plan your long term travels financially:
Figure out what’s holding you back. There must be something holding you back. It usually comes down to two things: debt and lack of money. Debt usually comes from student loans and consumer crap. The lack of money comes from spending money on crap always. Once you figure out what’s holding you back from traveling you can move on to the next step.
Earn your freedom. You need to work to pay off your debts and save up some money. Long term travel is not just something that you jump into after a book motivates you. You need to earn it financially and emotionally. This is why paying off your debt and saving up money should be your two main financial priorities in 2011 and moving forward.
Consider “anti-sabbaticals.” These are jobs where you stay for a limited period of time just to save up enough money to move onto something else. Perhaps something more meaningful. As you move from job to job and city to city you’ll be able to test out a variety of jobs until you might even find one that you fall in love with.
Finding work. There are two go-to resources that you need to check out when looking for work abroad: Overseas jobs and Dave’s ESL Cafe. I check these sites out all the time to see what jobs are on the rise around the world.
Travel mistakes that you’re bound to make…
Don’t stress about problems that will occur on the road. Just be ready to deal with these main issues while traveling the world.
- Ripped off by merchants. You’re bound to get ripped off. Don’t let this interfere with your perception of an otherwise positive experience. Just because one person rips you off it doesn’t mean that the whole region is full of scam artists.
- Cultural issues. Cultural situations are bound to arise. It will happen no matter how hard you try to prevent it.
- Getting lost. Yes it is possible to get lost in the world of iPhone tracking apps and Google Maps. All you can really do is be humble and ask for directions.
The long run:
Remember to keep it real. This is the only way that you’ll survive in the long run on the road. Pretending to be too cool for school might work out at the local bar, but such an pretentious attitude will not get you anywhere while traveling the world. It will only interfere with your experiences. Keep an open mind and just go with the flow.
Don’t confuse vagabonding with a vacation. When you go away for a one week trip the goal is often to escape. While vagabonding, you’re rediscovering reality itself. Instead of always trying to escape, the goal should be to embrace the moment and to enjoy every facet of your travels.
World views. You might have to sometimes mute your instant reaction to judge the views of someone else while traveling the world for a longer period of time. Just because you’re open to something it doesn’t mean that others are. Keep in mind that everyone you meet was raised in a different way by their family and society. Some cultures will emphasize an afternoon siesta. There will also be cultures that move faster than were used to in North America. Every culture is different and follows a different set of internal policies. Enjoy it but don’t judge it.
Switch up transportation methods. Taking the bus everywhere or flying to every destination can hurt you financially and it can become redundant. This is why it’s important to switch up your transportation modes when on an extended travel mission. You might even find the journey to be more fun than the final arrival.
“People say you have to travel to see the world. Sometimes I think that if you just stay in one place and keep your eyes open, you’re going to see just about all that you can handle.” — Paul Aster.
Finding long-term work. You won’t make a fortune in your travel jobs you might end up making a profit or at least breaking even on your travels. You can also travel for free. I know personally that when I was researching ESL jobs in Asian countries, most places were offering to fly you in and out as part of the deal. Not a bad arrangement. You could also learn a thing or two about humility. Serving drinks at an upscale bar or handing out flyers in a poor area can really teach you a lot about human interactions. Teaching Korean kids how to speak English can also really test your patience.
A few more options for finding work overseas: The Frontier Club, Idealist, and Escape Artist.
On routines. You will lose all standard procedures and routines when traveling. This can be really exciting. You’re going to have to find a new grocery store, gym, and laundromat just to name a few things. You won’t have a standard routine any longer. You could find yourself doing laundry in a hotel sink or at a 24-hour laundromat at 4 in the morning. I’m looking forward to this sort of break from normal routine.
Spirituality. Don’t search for instant spiritual gratification. A major part of long term travel will often involve some sort of spiritual aspect. When you do go on a spiritual journey you should remember not to expect instant results.
Coming home. This can be the most difficult part. Deciding when to go home will not be easy. It might come out of necessity (running out money or an emergency). You might get fed up with traveling. Either way you’re bound to venture back home at one point. This will be another experience in itself. How will you assimilate back into every day life?