From a young age, I had this yearning to go travelling. I wanted just to be free, unattached, with no obligations to be anywhere at any particular time. I remember being 12 or 13 and I was begging my mum to let me catch the train alone to the next town a few hours away. I don’t know how long I wanted to go for, I don’t even remember why, but I felt this urge to leave my home and explore a new place.
Clearly, my mum wasn’t happy about this and she offered to go with me, she was probably really worried, now that I think about it. But I wasn’t thinking about that because I was a teenager and teenagers can be assholes. I think she even decided to let me go in the end, seeing how badly I wanted it, but I never went. I guess I just needed to know that I wasn’t tied down to one place. That I COULD leave if I wanted to.
I meet people all around the world who have had similar feelings, this unexplainable urge to go wandering. While others believe we’re trying to run away from ‘real life’, we know it goes deeper than that. It’s not about faking reality or trying to pretend we don’t have obligations; it’s just about fulfilling this calling we have.
If you’ve ever had this burning desire, and you’ve shoved it to the back of your mind because it seems impossible, I’m here to tell you that you should listen to it. If you light up every time anyone tells you about their travel stories, you have the spark and you can make it happen.
1. You’ve wanted to travel for so long
The longer you leave it, the less you’ll think about it, right?
There’s only so long you can keep putting your dreams off. In reality, the longer you wait, the more you’ll crave it. And the more you try to ignore it the more you’ll want it. And some day you’ll crack.
If travel is something you’ve wanted to do for so long, then do something about it! Every single day that passes by without you working towards such an important goal is another day wasted thanks to fear and doubt.
Would you rather spend another year dreaming about the countries and cultures you didn’t get to experience?
2. It doesn’t have to be expensive
After getting hooked on Workaway, and having some ridiculously good experiences with it, I can confidently say that travel does not have to be expensive. If you want to go on an all expense paid holiday, that’s a little different and definitely can add up. However, I know most people who crave long-term travel are after intimate, cultural, one-on-one experiences which an all-inclusive holiday can’t provide. This is where volunteering is perfect.
If you want to start travelling, take a few weeks or a month off first and do some volunteering through Workaway, even if it’s in your own country! Once you get away from your everyday routine and see what’s possible, you’ll be more excited and motivated to start seriously thinking about going long-term.
Just because we’re taught to be good at school, finish university and get a good job to be successful in life, doesn’t mean it’s the right way to do it. I’ll tell you a little secret – I left school at 15. Yep, I left New Zealand and moved to Australia with my parents at 15 where I started a hairdressing career. For the next few years, I was working in salons and doing some other side jobs, all without a significant amount of passion.
Then I went back to Bosnia where I spent almost a year with my family. I wasn’t sure where I was going to end up, but I eventually came back to Brisbane and started working in my previous salon again. It felt like nothing had ever changed.
I had a hard time choosing what to do because it seemed silly to leave such a great workplace. The salon was beautiful and boutique, I had a great boss and fab colleagues. I was attending ongoing training courses and working at Sydney Fashion Week and Fashion Festival.
If I wanted to be a really successful hairdresser, I could have been, all the ingredients for success were there. But I knew in my heart that I wouldn’t ever be happy in a career where I’d have to settle in one place.
Of course, I don’t think travelling is always more important or a better option than succeeding in a career, but, for some of us it is. For me, it was a major life choice which I still don’t regret. There are still times I miss the fun and intensity of working in a salon, but not more than I appreciate the life of travel I have.
If you’re only putting off travel because you’ve been told that you need a degree and good career to be successful in life, you’re listening to the wrong people. The world, business, and success as we know it are all changing, and I believe there are enough lessons in worldly experiences to appreciate travel as your education.
4. Regret will become a thing of the past
Almost every long-term traveller I speak to says how happy and grateful they feel to have taken the initial step to leave. Regret is a word reserved for people who put off their dreams. They regret not going on that trip or regret turning down a wedding invitation in another country. They regret choosing not to follow through with something they wanted badly.
The only time I ever say I regret something now is if we’re too strict with our budget and miss out on a really cool experience. Luckily, now we’re more cautious when turning these down, and if it’s something we really want to do, we’ll do free activities for a few days to average out the budget then spend the money on something worthwhile.
That forces us to think carefully about whether it’s something we’d be happy to miss. And whatever the outcome, we’re happy knowing we’ve made a conscious decision about it.
I’m still yet to hear someone say they regret going travelling.
5. It’s your calling
Just like some people grow up knowing they’re going to be teachers because it’s their calling in life, we know we need to travel because it’s ours. Having a calling to go travelling is a very real thing, and if you’re reading this, I assume you don’t need me to tell you that. You already know for yourself that it’s not something you can silence.
When I returned from Bosnia, I had no idea what I wanted to do. Though I had my old job back at the best hairdressing salon, I still feared being rooted in one place. I saw a career counsellor and according to her testing, my number one most suited job was to be an international aid worker.
I couldn’t believe that my calling to travel and help others was being validated by a real-life professional. Unfortunately, she told me that it wasn’t a realistic long-term solution because you can’t make money from it, it’s something you do in your spare time.
Listening to that last piece of information was detrimental to my travel dreams and is what kept me from following through with them for another few years. Little did I know, had I just gone away and opened myself up to the possibilities, the rest would have worked itself out.
There are ways to support yourself while doing international aid, and even if it wasn’t enough to support me for the rest of my life, who’s to say that by going it wouldn’t lead to more opportunities which could?
By not going in the first place you’re already closing yourself off to future possibilities which could directly or indirectly lead you to fulfil your calling.
6. If you don’t go now, you may not go at all
The longer you put something off the more likely you’ll never do it. You’ll start justifying why you can’t do it and you get comfortable with your excuses. For my husband and I, our reasons were career, buying a house, trying to start our own businesses, worrying about not having enough money, worrying about wasting money on travel when we should do the ‘grown-up’ thing and spend it on a house/business.
We got comfortable with giving out excuses, and the most dangerous part was when we started believing them and justifying why travel simply was not possible. The only thing that’ll get you going is your will, so if you get comfortable with your excuses now, you’ll probably never go.
7. If you don’t go, you’re only sabotaging yourself
There is no one else this affects more than you. Any reason you can think of that you can’t go travelling means you’re hurting yourself. You may think that denying yourself this trip isn’t going to do much damage, but it is.
How long can you choose to conform to doing what you’re told is the “right” thing? How long can you silence that feeling in your gut? How long will you wait until you realise that you’re the only one getting affected, and you’re the only one that can make a change? Hopefully not too much longer.
Are you ready to do something about it?
If you’ve realised that it’s time and this is going to be your year to at least begin the planning process, but you have no idea how to start, I’m here to help. I’ve dedicated myself to helping wanderers, like you, finally get going.
I’ve created an ecourse which takes you step-by-step through the entire process to get ready for travel. From choosing a destination to saving money to working out a travel budget to picking your luggage. It’s all there for you.
The course is for those of us who have decided that living an ordinary life according to society’s expectations isn’t for us. It’s for those of us who are ready to take our lives into our own hands.
To find out more about the course, go here.