Seeing the world has got to be high up on anyone’s list of life goals. How often do you hear someone grumbling about how they wish they could travel, if only they had the time and money? It’s all too easy to get caught up in the grind of the 9 to 5 lifestyle, grinding away day after day and feeling like life is passing you by. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram only serve to exacerbate the problem; colorful photos of our friends and associates seemingly living life to the fullest can really drive home the need to escape the rat race and experience adventure.
It's not always easy to know where to begin; there is so much information out there and so many different ways one can go about in achieving their travel dreams that the plethora of options can serve as a barrier in and of itself. Here are a few strategies that may help you realize your aspirations of seeing more of this amazing and beautiful green and blue orb we call Earth!
What do you want to do?
A great place to start with planning any voyage is by asking yourself exactly what kind of trip you really want to create. Do you want a relaxing and do-nothing vacation getaway, a two-week escape of decadence and luxury? Or perhaps you are looking for something deeper, a personally tailored adventure into a foreign destination, rife with experiences that will shape your growth and help you discover a definition of self you never knew you possessed? Wherever your goals fall on the spectrum, it can be especially helpful to make a list of specific things you hope to build into your trip to make it fit your ambitions and desires. There are a slew of travel websites that are teeming with ideas for amazing trips, both before you leave and once you are there.
Where do you want to go?
Once you have identified what kind of trip you're hoping to achieve, the next step is choosing where you want to go! This is usually the most fun part of the process, and can often precede the previous step. How many times have seen someone get a far-off look in their eye and say something like, "I've always wanted to go to Paris." There is no correct way to order these first two steps, sometimes the destination shapes the quality of the trip and sometimes it's the other way around, the important thing is that this trip is about you and your experience!
Pulling the trigger!
I know so many people who make it through these first two steps and yet never actually make it on their trip. All too often someone will spend lots of time researching countries, vacation packages, even looking at flights but never actually pull the trigger. It can be scary to say yes to adventure, that one click of the mouse can change your life forever! That is why I always tell my friends that if you really want to take that trip, the most important thing you can do is to just buy the plane ticket. It is so easy to sit there and rationalize on why or why not now is the time, to tell yourself that maybe you should do some more research to make sure you have everything perfectly sorted. No. If you truly want to escape the mundanity of normal life and experience something truly extraordinary, you need to say yes. I've found that by buying the plane ticket I set the ball rolling and the rest never fails to fall into place. Once the ticket is purchased you have given yourself a deadline that will motivate you to get the rest all sorted, and that can be an immensely liberating and exciting feeling!
"Ok," you say, "I'd like to buy a plane ticket, but that's a lot of money." I get it, a plane ticket is a big purchase, and we don't all have an extra chunk of cash lying around we can use to spend on an impulse. Saving can be tough, sometimes it is harder to realize our goals if they seem so far away as to be unrecognizable or unreachable. Lucky for us there are many options to get past this early financial hurdle and into the seat of an airliner! Many people have broken-down vehicles taking up space that can be quickly converted into travel cash. There are companies that will pay you cash for trucks that you can then turn around and use to book that ticket and start your adventure!
Planning for the Trip itself
It is important before you depart that you put into practice some plan for managing the most vital of travel resources, your money. There are various sources on the internet that can help you strategize your finances while traveling. I suggest utilizing these to support the ideas you articulated in the first step. Who knows, you might find a paid or volunteer opportunity that will allow you to hit two birds with one stone while making your travel dreams come true!