How To Travel The World: Part One
If you want some yummy homemade banana bread, you need to get the ingredients together, make a bit of mess in the kitchen and wait for it to bake. If you want to lose some weight, you need to put on your trainers and go for a walk instead of sitting on the sofa (eating that banana bread). If you want that incredible tattoo you’ve been pining over for the last year, you need to sit through the pain until it’s finished. What am I getting at here? If you really want something, more often than not you have to invest some time, effort and perhaps a few tears before the dream can become a reality. If your dream is to travel the world, you need to be prepared for the hard work that comes before slipping on your backpack and boarding the plane.
In just over a month – 53 days to be exact, but who’s counting? – I will set foot in Africa for the first time. It’s within an arm’s reach now but for a long time I wasn’t entirely sure I would actually make it there. Over the next few weeks, I am going to discuss the more practical side of making your dream to travel the world come true.
How To Travel The World: Part One
Make Up Your Mind
The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one’s feet.
– Lau Tzu
Your friend has booked a two-month trip to South-East Asia and every time you meet her you find yourself saying, “I really wish I could do that too.” Or perhaps, “You’re so lucky! I would love to do that.” Now, this is a heavily guarded secret and I may get in trouble for spilling the beans but here goes … Guess what: You can! You don’t need any special powers or to be anything other than ordinary to travel the world.
All it really comes down to is this: make up your mind to go. No more “I wish…”, “If only…”, “Some day…”. Instead, let your next sentence be: I will travel. If seeing the world is something you are passionate about, do it now; not when you finally get the next promotion, hit 40 or retire. Remember that no one else can make your mind up for you; you’re on your own on this one. If you are reading this blog then chances are you already have and if that’s the case – Bravo! You have overcome what is probably the biggest hurdle. So many people live their lives without ever managing to get past it but you have. You have a made a commitment to yourself and now you need to stick to it.
In my experience, two things will help to make your decision more concrete:
- Start to talk about it
- Set yourself a deadline
I still remember the day I made up my mind. I had just found out that my request for a pay rise had been rejected but, oddly enough, I wasn’t particularly bothered by it. I realised that whether I made more money or not, I didn’t want this job to be my future anyway. The more I mulled over that point, the more I understood that I needed to focus the energy I had been pouring into a job that didn’t fulfil me, into something I was actually passionate about. And that was when I said it: I will travel. It took a split second to make up my mind and suddenly I felt more animated than I ever had before. After work my friend was waiting for me at a coffee shop and I chewed the poor girl’s ear off about my decision to travel. Talking about it made it more real; not only did I have my own expectations to live up to, but now other people’s too.
Setting yourself a deadline is important. You might talk about travelling, flip through travel magazines or browse travel blogs online, but if you don’t set yourself a date to aim for, chances are you will forget about that commitment you made. Make sure you follow through! I initally set myself a deadline of May 2012; turns out I’m actually starting out in September. So what! The fact is I am going and if I hadn’t been aiming for something then I would probably still be daydreaming about it.
Making up your mind isn’t easy and you could sooner make up hundreds of excuses as to why you can’t commit to travelling just yet: you can’t leave your job or your family, you don’t have enough money or enough time … What you need to realise, however, is that the only thing that is stopping you, is you.
This article by Chris Guillebeau inspired me in a big way to focus on my dream to travel: Why You Should Quit Your Job And Travel Around The World.
Once you have decided to travel the world, you can start to tackle the more practical matters – but more on those next week.