Tag: inspiration

The cost of travel besides MONEY

I”m not shy about giving out details about my personal budget, because, believe it or not, just like you, I had to work for my money. I still work for money and I will continue to work for money.

So many people have it wrong. It’s not all about the money. Admittedly, I drained my bank account in order to finance my traveling lifestyle. Sure, I’ve created many a marvelous memory by not working and spending money, but that’s not the only cost to consider when choosing a traveling lifestyle. The other costs include:

1. Physical- This year alone, I’ve done so much flying that I’m exhausted. I’m truly suffering from burn out. That doesn’t mean that I still don’t enjoy flying off to new places, emerging from the plane bright eyed and bushy-tailed, ready for adventure, but it leaves your body physically exhausted. Jet lag is a serious concern. When I left Australia earlier this year, ready to engage in a 4 flight, 23 hour fly-a-thon back to the U.S., I left on Wednesday morning, February 29th, leap year, traveled for 24 hours straight and landed in L.A. Wednesday morning, February 29th. Believe me when I say it took WEEKS for my body to adjust to THAT time travel!

Tired.

My good friend the flight attendant is constantly on the go as well. One time I asked her what day it really is for her because of all of her traveling and time zone differences. She opted for “no comment,” saying that trying to figure that out would drive her insane. It would drive anyone insane!

The road burns your body out. Toting a 50 pound backpack after a shitty night’s sleep in a hostel isn’t for the faint of heart. Trying to sleep when others are partying is even worse. I combat this by trying to maintain a relatively normal sleep schedule (by normal I mean at LEAST seven hours/24 hour period), eating healthy and maintaining a healthy attitude.

2. Emotional- I’ve gotten good, I mean REALLY good at saying goodbye. That doesn’t mean I like to say goodbye, but I have to force myself in order to move on. Luckily it’s not goodbye, just see you later. Part of my goals when traveling the world have been to create contacts all over the world. As I start on that goal, I often grow close to and have to say goodbye to many people that I love. I love their generosity, their kind hearts, their laugh and their unique life perspectives.

My Hawaii friends, aka Family

I also have to deal with feelings of homesickness. Like every traveler on the road, the pangs of homesickness haunt you when you least expect it. You miss birthdays, graduation parties, engagement schindigs, holidays, you name it: any occasion where the family gets together to make mirth and merriment, it seems you’re sleeping in a tent 3,000 miles away. These are the sacrifices we make. 

Aloha until next time!

3. Mental- It’s no secret travel changes you. I’m dealing with this right now. I’m trying to hash out how my life goal’s have changed, how everything I’ve been spoon-fed growing up doesn’t exactly jive with my old interests, now that I’ve seen how other people live successful, happy lives alternate to the “American Dream.” I am dealing with how these differences are changing me as a person, how to reconnect with others who still might subscribe to my “old way” (not wrong, by any means, just confusing and different), and trying to explain my “gypsy” lifestyle to my parents. It’s an on-going struggle. I have to be an ambassador for my life’s decisions. If I won’t stand up for me, who will?

On my magical mystery tour

As a good friend told me, luckily you don’t have to figure it all out today, or tomorrow. The questions I’ve been asking myself are some huge, philosophical, transcendental questions about life, questions people don’t often ask themselves until their midlife crises. Thinking and obsessing over my observations and how they will manifest themselves in my future is unhealthy mentally.  I am prepared to think of life as a mysterious journey, and although I can’t possibly perceive my future right now, I think that through travel, my future will be a brighter place. Growing pains.

I will leave you with an Anthony Bourdain quote, one that describes how I’m feeling in this moment. Just because you can’t strike gold every day while blazing the trail:

“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life – and travel – leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks – on your body or on your heart – are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.”
— Anthony Bourdain

Notes on abandoning fear and letting go

I have been traveling full-time since January 23rd, which puts me a little over 2 months on the road. I’ve had almost ALL amazing experiences. Rarely there is a day where I wish I back in my old life, working the same old job that held little value for me. It’s safe to say that I’m utterly addicted to the lifestyle.

People have begun to ask me, with much curiosity, peppered with a bit of jealousy, “How do you do it?” Well, here’s a very honest run-down. I hope you’re listening, all you would-be Round The World Travelers. Here are some values and courses of action to consider:

1. FEAR: This is the biggest one, in my mind at least. Fear is the force that holds us back the most from accomplishing what our hearts truly desire. Fear will cripple you with feelings of “What if?” Fear doesn’t encourage, it thwarts, steals, belittles, beguiles.  Instead of having a self-defeating attitude, develop a positive, proactive mindset. Do you do what you want everyday? Really what you want? Do you WANT to commute to your office job, work the 9-5 plus overtime for the man, appease your boss? Imagine a world where you’re utterly free of that. Is that enticing to you? Are you afraid to leave behind the comfort of your “old life?” It’s very probable.

Fear will get you lost

2. COMFORT: It’s comfortable to live a life in the status quo, a life that follows the traditional trajectory. Graduate, find a job, maintain a relationship, possibly get married, have children. That’s a “comfortable” life path that people tend to follow. Why? Because we’re told to? For the most part, yes. For some people that works, and there is nothing wrong with that. But what about the people that hate their jobs? Feel unfulfilled? Dream of choking their bosses, airheaded co-workers, skipping off into the sunset for adventure? Stop holding yourself back. If you are UNCOMFORTABLE  in your current situation, resolve to find comfort in the unfamiliar. More often than not, novelty is the cure to a boring existence. Imagine leaving behind the “comforts of home,” the ones that are boring you to death. Sit an contemplate what would make you happy and pursue it.

An imagined happy place

3. RESEARCH: Get addicted to doing research, even if it’s a complete “Lottery Scenario.” Where would I be right now if I won the lottery? Picture yourself on an unspoiled stretch of beach somewhere? Living in a lean-two in the Philippines? Riding the metro in Paris? Where is your “Happy Place?” Start researching what it’s really like to GO there. How much would it cost? Where would I stay if  I could? Sometimes just a bit of poking around will be enough to fuel your dreams into action.

4. PRIORITY: You might be asking yourself how on Earth am I going to be able to travel when I have my rent to pay for, a car to care for, my Starbucks addiction to feed? Truthfully, it IS too expensive to travel around the world when you’re trying to maintain your same lifestyle back home. Sorry to tell you, but if you want those life enriching experiences of the road, you NEED to get rid of the pricier elements of your “old life.” Not saying that you have to ditch all of your Earthly possessions, but you’ll certainly have to prioritize what you’ll need to succeed.

For instance:

I moved out of my apartment in Philadelphia, saving me $400/month on rent, plus an extra $100/mo. on bills. I left my car in the care of my friend, so that I might avoid the awful gas prices ($4.65/gal? No thanks!). That’s nearly $600/mo. saved, halfway to a plane ticket to Thailand for one month without those expenses.

You might be asking yourself, but I can’t live without my IKEA couch and my loft apartment! Then you’re certainly reading the wrong article.

Goodbye humble abode, hello open road

5. ACTION: In a phrase: Take the leap. This has a lot more to do with letting go of FEAR, but also takes a combination of bravery and literally putting one foot in front of the other. If you’re a procrastinator, this will be difficult for you. Putting things off is not the traveler’s style. We’re the get up and go type. Don’t dream a better life for tomorrow: live it today.