We all have reasons we don’t travel as often as we like or so we think! We seem to get into our daily grinds and forget about dreams of seeing sun-kissed beaches or snow-capped peaks. The travel world seems like a far off distant place that we never really get to experience. And sometimes we get so entrenched with our lives that we forget we NEED to travel to rediscover ourselves. To de-stress from our life’s problems. To put life into perspective.
If it weren’t for some key people in my life who showed me how easy travel actually is I don’t think I would have pushed myself to travel either. There always was and still is a reason why I can’t or shouldn’t travel, whether it’s because of financial reasons, the perfect timing to go, or because I simply don’t pull the trigger and buy the ticket. Work is a big deterrent and decides for most people if they can travel (I do believe that our system, at-least in the United States, deters us from taking much-needed vacations but that is a different story). I constantly have jobs that are less than willing to give me time off when I really wanted to go. And while I was in college and when I graduated most companies never were willing to work with me. Most of the world has this same problem but this is where being creative comes into play and why you must push yourself to travel.
In 2011 I traveled to Las Vegas, Chicago (when I was living in Austin), LA, and the Caribbean. The year before I was able to get to Texas multiple times, China, Nepal, and Japan as well as a move to Chicago. And for this year I plan to up my travels even more (already went to the Bahamas). Already I have a few places in mind but to be able to do all of this travel you need to spend time planning. If your lifestyle is not conducive for taking some time off to go on vacation you need to change your how you live to fit your vacation needs (we all have vacation needs).
For my Caribbean trip in 2011, I went with my parents and I was able to secure time off in January, the slowest season for cruises and traveling in general. If you’re working and it’s part-time job you are more likely to get some time off but you’re most likely going to have to work during the holidays and December. And honestly you should see this as a blessing. My advice is to travel after December because your employer will most likely be willing to give you time off and the tourist season will be finished. No crazy kids or crowds! If you’re working in a full-time position than you usually have pre-set days that you get off and you must plan on which days you are going to take off.
In 2011 I took a full-time position working as a leasing consultant from October to March (and then I moved to Chicago). I still wanted to travel somewhere during this time so I decided I was going to go to Disneyland for a weekend excursion and I was able to not use any of my vacation days (didn’t have any vacation days anyways). So literally we picked a long weekend to go and just went. Now Disneyland wasn’t incredibly far but the great thing about living in the US is that North America is easily accessible for an extra long weekend. Think jetting off to Mexico, the Caribbean, somewhere inside the US and Canada for a mini vacation. I wanted to get away for the weekend and I did with no regrets. Find a weekend that you can secure an extra long weekend and plan to go.
This is how you push yourself to travel. You have to plan and just do it. You must forget about the what ifs and simply go. Need money before you go? Then plan to get the money you need to travel. Pick up extra shifts or help out part-time somewhere. Do the necessary step ups to be able to financially pay off your trip. Don’t give yourself time to think about the pros and cons. Forget any negative mantras you have in your head on why you can’t. Find a vacation within your budget and just go for it. It’s a black and white decision and you either do it or you don’t. And trust me it will all be worth it.
For example I was at Ikea one day with my then ex while we were still living in Austin. We decided that we needed to get away but to where? I had been to most places around Texas and in Texas (If you don’t know Texas is huge and takes a long time to get out of the state). So where would we go? I had been on road trips before but never spur of the moment.
First we thought we might go to Canada but my ex didn’t have his passport (Oh and did I mention that we were planning to do this all in 4 days). At this time I still held a part-time job but I didn’t feel comfortable asking for time off so I had 4 days to work with (Another thing… If you are more bold than I am than see how far you can get away with when asking for time off… it’s a part-time job after all so live a little)! So I had 4 days and we decided to go to Chicago! It was very little planning and we just got in our car and went one night. That is the fun of road tripping. Just leaving when you feel like it. It was fun to be spontaneous and to push myself to drive 19 hours all the way to Chicago.
The point is that you have to actively pursue traveling to be able to do it. You can dream all you want about places but you have to let yourself actually do it. Get over any mental blocks you have about traveling and experience something new in the world. Traveling is not scary or frightening, but rather fun and liberating. Like the Dalai Lama said…
“Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.” — Dalai Lama
Make sure you go over the cost and try not to burden yourself with over thinking if it’s the right decision or not. Just make sure to have a plan about how much you’re going to spend so you don’t come back broke! Also find a job and lifestyle that lets you have time off. I would never work a jo that didn’t allow me to travel.
Plan to use your days wisely by lumping you vacation days or (even sick days) all together. Write down the pros and cons and throw out the cons. Any negative mantras you have in your head about travel… forget about them. Read more about the destinations you want to go to and allow yourself so you actually make the decision to go. Traveling the world is not as scary as people seem to think it is. And life is too short to sit around and wait for it to happen (because it never will). Vacations are necessary and the great part is, is that it doesn’t matter where you go. The journey part is the vacation and can be equally just as fun. So pull the trigger by laying out a plan (financially); book; and then travel… there is never a wrong day to go.
Have Fun and Happy Traveling!
images by: shawnvoyage