If you didn’t have to worry about money, what would you do?
Chances are you mentioned travel in your response. I’m surprised how many people I’ve seen respond with “travel the world.” But it absolutely saddens me how most of these people will do nothing to work towards this goal and will only have traveled modestly by the time they die.
To them, it’s a distant, unattainable dream that never gets fulfilled.
I’m a personal finance junkie myself and know all about the power of compound interest but even I don’t want to wait until I’m old before I start enjoying life and completing bucket list items. It’s not even guaranteed you’ll live until retirement. Travel is a metaphor for every life goal in your life that you hold off, never to accomplish it, until you’re lying with regret on your deathbed. I’m not going to let that happen to you. I’m going to help you achieve those dreams.
The good news is that there are young people on social media with no money or connections who have made traveling the world for a living a reality. We can find out what they differently and learn from them…
I’m not a superhuman who has managed to seize life by the balls and travel around the world. I’m also chickened out traveling once upon a time.
There was a time a couple years ago, where I was tempted (and desperate) to take a gap year or month volunteering at a farm in California through WWOOF just to travel there. I was willing to spend most of my days working for free on a farm for mediocre food and housing and the ability to experience California. I paid the $100 membership fee — applied to every host in the state– and no one responded.
But there were other opportunities. I could’ve traveled to Southeast Asia and lived for pennies on the dollar like a king. Why didn’t I?
In this podcast and article, I’m going to discuss why most people never follow through on their travel goals, the excuses holding people back from travel that are never addressed and aren’t true, and how to live your dreams.
Listen to the podcast episode now:
Subscribe to this podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher to listen to on your phone while you’re on the go:
2 Myths About Travel that Travel Bloggers Are Great At Busting
Travel bloggers have posted extensively debunking common excuses for not traveling.
This is the first stage of believing that long, better, and more affordable travel is possible.
Most people don’t ever move past this stage because they were never given this information and don’t believe it’s possible. I was fortunate enough to stumble across this information but many never do.
Unfortunately, many people still never take the next step after seeing evidence for how all these excuses aren’t true. We’ll address some of their counter-excuses later on.
But ultimately, you have to be honest with yourself and ask if you’re psychologically coming up with false reason to not face some emotion or discomfort. But, in general, this is the stage where many non-believers are converted into first time travel hackers.
I’m going to address these limiting beliefs but I’ll skim through them quickly because the top travel bloggers out there have covered them well already.
I’m more focused on the next section, which is the second stage of that determines whether you live your travel dreams or stay in silent desperation.
Here are the two most common travel myths:
1. “I Can’t Afford It.”
The best resource out there to solve this is Nomadic Matt’s book, How to Travel the World on $50 a Day: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter. Few resources come close to addressing this concern.
“It’s not magic; it’s math.” -Ramit Sethi
Matt walks through mathematically how to travel the world for $50 a day or less — that’s only $18,250 a year, less than many Americans make and substantially less than the six figure golden standard.
I can’t summarize his book in one sentence but if I had to, I’d say that it’s a matter of realizing that locals in the place you want to visit, like Paris, aren’t staying and eating at 5 star establishments every night — and that the cost of living is a lot cheaper in many areas of the world so your dollar goes a lot farther.
When you expand the possibilities of places you consider visiting and realize that there are plenty of beautiful, scenic areas that are cheaper, your perceptions of the practicality of world travel start to change.
2. “It’s Dangerous.”
There are dozens of countries that the general public wouldn’t consider dangerous to visit. So when people say this, they’re usually talking about less popular countries they want to travel to for the affordability, scenery, monuments, culture, etc.
In short, travel bloggers explain that statistically, these places aren’t as dangerous as you think and it’s fake, sensationalistic news that blows out of proportion the tiny amount of crime that exists. They say you should be fine if you use common sense to stay in popular areas with others and hide valuables.
4 Common Excuses For Not Traveling That Bloggers Fail To Bust
Now, let’s address some excuses that no one talks about — what I call the second stage of travel prevention. I’m not sure why but maybe it’s because these are excuses that no one wants to admit out loud.
If I can address and dis-prove these excuses, it may be the final step that is needed to move some of you to live the life of your dreams.
1. “It Will Ruin My Career Development. I Don’t Want To Only Have ‘Bartender’ or ‘Volunteer’ On My Resume in My 30’s and 40’s.”
This one is huge for me (and maybe you too)…
I’m a bit of a travel blogger junkie and follow many of the top travel bloggers. Unfortunately, almost all of them started from this mentality of “I don’t care much about anything else other than traveling the world because I need to get out of this dead-end 9 to 5 job.”
Some were hippies. Some had receptionist jobs. Some had office jobs in finance. The common theme was that they clearly had a belief that there was no way up the corporate ladder to higher earning potential, so why not just travel the world?
I didn’t come from that world. I came from the world of “I’m going to make something of myself.”
I missed out on studying abroad out of the hundreds of countries my school offered because I thought I would fall behind my competition by taking a limited set of programs not related to my major in some other country just to travel.
Considering the fact that many successful people don’t always work in what they majored in (I don’t anymore), I wish I could have done study abroad much more. Don’t make my mistakes.
But this legitimate fear still has me in its hold even to this day.
I feel like having nothing but “10 years of traveling the world” on your resume may not carry as much weight when you apply for work again as “11 years of experience working with the top corporate managers in the biotech app department.”
I thought it was almost as useless as if you’re starting from a blank slate when you’re applying but it’s not. Many interviewers will be impressed that you did what few people dare to do, which is take life by the balls and do what most people wish to do but don’t.
I haven’t seen a top, famous travel blogger address this concern so I went and asked one of them I’m a huge fan of, Nadine Sykora (a.k.a. Hey Nadine), in-person:
2. “What About Fitness, Nutrition, and Family/Friends/Dating?”
Frankly, I found that none of them really care much about lifting weights, tracking macro-nutrients, getting in enough protein in a day, or strong social relationships with people they meet daily.
These areas are important for me because I want to improve my physique and happiness. Unfortunately, it seems like they will just buy enough to stave off hunger regardless of how healthy it is.
And what about lack of access to a proper gym? How can you maintain or grow those gains without the right weights and equipment?
While some travel bloggers will argue that you can find and establish new relationships with new friends on your journey, I don’t think it’s natural or optimal to constantly be making friends and then losing all but virtual contact with all of them in a fairly short period of time.
My theory is that we’re not genetically wired to be traveling so frequently and living a lifestyle where 99% of who we meet are strangers. It’s not mentally healthy. We get a good amount of well-being from the friends and family we see and continue to see in-person daily.
Some travel influencers, like Hey Nadine, have admitted that it’s tough to find the right healthy foods abroad, as you’re limited to quick nutrition bars, and it’s hard to date, as you’re always moving to a new country or area.
Having said this, I don’t think it’s that hard to fix these issues more than most travel hackers have (Skype and FaceTime with your parents only take you so far). My idea is that you can establish a home base in your native country for at least half of the year and take a couple month-long vacations — you don’t have to travel non-stop year round like the influencers do. That way, you get the best of both worlds.
As for fitness, that’s harder but one way is to earn more money so you can pay for the healthy vegetables and lean meats to cook it yourself. Every country has them and sometimes, they’re cheaper than the junk food. Also, you can maintain and still grow your physique (though not as optimally) with body weight calisthenics training that require no gym, as many calisthenics YouTubers prove.
There is no “perfect” or even “close to perfect.”
Currently, I have a home base location almost every day of the year. Just because I live in one place doesn’t mean I’m doing as well as I hope to with establishing strong bonds with family and friends. I do average or slightly above average but I don’t have tons of activities I get invited to or a core group of friends that I have to see or talk to daily, let alone, weekly. Plus, my family and I are getting sick of seeing each other so often and we would all agree that it’d be better for me to find some independence and travel more.
Abroad or at home, you still need to put in effort to make those connections and even then, it’s not guaranteed that you will get those strong relationships.
3. “I Don’t Want To Just Get Some Dead-End Job To Finance Travel.”
Most travel bloggers recommend working as a bartender, attendant on a cruise ship, hostel worker, or volunteering to finance their travel.
Am I the only one to think that this is
4. “Making Money Virtually Is Harder Than You Think.”
The most common suggestions for earning income in a way that doesn’t tie you to a physical location revolve around low-level jobs, like freelance writer, transcriber, virtual assistant, designer, developer, SEO, or consultant.
The problem is that these jobs, and quite frankly any job or business online, is darn hard to start and build into a profitable business — and not hate the grind if you do.
You’re competing against a global set of applicants that are willing to work for a fraction of the price and the jobs can be repetitive.
The best of the best may get a higher pay but only a small portion of people have the potential and passion to get there.
I don’t have a golden counterargument for this one here. I’ve blogged myself about how it’s much harder to make money online than the experts claim.
I’ll have to echo what travel bloggers say, which is that “Sometimes you have to suck it up, work hard, and make sacrifices to make your dreams [travel] come true.”
The one thing I’d add to this that no one else mentions is that there are countless more options than are highlighted to make money virtually around weird industry topics. SideHustleSchool.com is a daily podcast that profiles some of the best and most unique ways.
Also, I believe one of the key factors that will set you and I apart from the rest of people who stay in a rut with this problem is that I am willing to hustle and keep trying out new stuff until something hits in my free time forever.
When you look at people with jobs that have little growth potential (janitors, virtual assistants, etc.), most of them tolerate their job during the day and then go home to watch TV or do other tasks that don’t move them forward. They’ve given up on the idea that they can grow or get out of that rut.
If I was in that position on the other hand, just like the entrepreneur Noah Kagan says, I would spend all or most of the free time I have trying something until I got out of the rut (blogging, Instagram, freelancing, etc.)
This isn’t just theory either.
Many of the top travel bloggers, by accident, started making a lot of money from their blogs through sponsorships, ads, partnerships, courses, and affiliate deals. Their initial intention was to just explore their hobby but it had the potential to grow into something commercially great.
Travel bloggers and Instagrammers have been fantasy dream lords to me because they live a life they find fun most or all of the time. I’ve lived my life obliged to do what my parents and situations require me to, so it makes me marvel that it may be possible.
Travel doesn’t have to be your muse. It’s just a metaphor.
At the end of the day, no matter how many excuses we knock down, there may still be a leap of discomfort you have to make.
Successful people who achieve their dream lifestyles do what unsuccessful people are unwilling to do. They destroy the excuses they come up. One family that demonstrates this is the Griggs family. Jermaine Griggs build a profitable online business and was living a good life with a house and three children in school.
He stumbled across many Instagram profiles of people traveling the world. He had all these excuses about how he couldn’t do the same because he had a wife and kids to care for. But one day, he decided to be done with his excuses.
I want you to have that dream life of travel but at some point, you will have to make that jump. It will be down to whether you want it badly enough.
Hopefully, one day, you’ll realize that the jump was possible and you’re glad you made it.
Did I miss any obstacles with travel that I missed? Let me know in the comments and tell me what’s holding you back.
I mentioned travel bloggers throughout this article. This section points to my suggested resources if you are new and unaware of travel and points hacking. If so, prepare to be amazed; this will change your life. The links to books are affiliate links.
- How to Travel the World on $50 a Day: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter (book)
- The Four Hour Work Week (there’s a section of the book that covers travel hacking)
- Nomadic Matt’s site (a massive travel hacking site)
- Nomadic Matt’s excuse-busting article
- Hey Nadine’s YouTube channel
- Vagabrothers’s YouTube channel
- 10x Travel (a more personal points hacking site)
- The Points Guy (the titan in the points hacking blogging industry)
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