“How do you manage to travel so f**king much??” people often ask me.
“I just work and save up for a few months, then fly out somewhere,” I answer. “With the exception being Antarctica, of course. Since I am no scientist, and since my set of skills as a writer/blogger/travel agent are in no great demand in Antarctica, no plane was ever going to take me there. So a cruise ship was my only option. But that’s a story for another time.”
They look at me like I’ve lost my mind. “Look, if you are looking for a mythical key to the world, then I’m sorry, but I gotta tell you; there is none!” I tell them. “The real key to travel is much simpler than that. Simple, yet one hell of a challenge.”
They still look at me like they haven’t a clue what I’m on about. Like I’m just being secretive, or have some secret stash of money somewhere I travel on. Only if they knew how close to a state of bankruptcy I usually am…
Anyway, for the benefit of those who genuinely want to see the world, I’ve listed a few simple factors I believe have enabled me to travel extensively. The rest, my friends, is up to you.
1. Do Not Be Afraid Of The World
Travelling abroad for the first time, understandably, is one of the most daunting prospects one can ever face. And for good reason; there are a lot of messed up people and places out there. But there are also a lot of good, and some downright fucking awesome people and places out there too.
It’s a simple choice, really. You can either play it safe and stay where you are, or trust yourself, go out into the world and see and feel things the way they were meant to be seen and felt; not on this screen, but rather playing out right before you in the real world.
2. Do Be Afraid Of The World
As I mentioned earlier, there are heaps of messed-up places and people out in the world. But the most dangerous thing about the world isn’t a particular people or place, but rather what the world tends to do to us if we let it. Look around you; how many of the people you see around you are sleep-walking through life? How many are living stereotypes? how many are working now, to travel later when they’ve retired?
The simple truth is I’m afraid of being forced into choosing a secure but limited life of 9-5 just because the world has deemed my dreams unrealistic.
As that famous quote goes; “I travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape me.”
3. Love Your Wallet
I’ve met far too many people who wish to travel, yet recklessly spend two hundred bucks on a new pair of kicks when they already own half a dozen.
You have to sacrifice your lavish spending habits if you want to travel more.
A gigantic wardrobe, too many coffees from hip cafes and big nights out prowling the bars and clubs, are an excellent way to anger the God’s of travel. Of course, living a frugal lifestyle doesn’t mean not living; but rather pacing yourself and spending your dollars on activities which offer you the most value.
4. Work/Volunteer As You Travel
From a tour guide in Panama to an English teacher in Brazil to working in a tiger sanctuary in Thailand, I’ve often fit in some kind of volunteering/work in my travel itineraries. Not only have these experiences taught me countless invaluable practical lessons, but they have also helped me save on the costs of accommodation and food.
You don’t even need to plan ahead; using a website like workaway, you can find jobs conveniently on the go.
And that’s pretty much it. Seriously, I don’t have any crazy airline loyalty programs or credit cards offering me half price deals. Of course, this list is by no means exhaustive, so if you have any techniques you use to enable you to travel more, please do share the love.
You can leave a comment, or contact me directly if you want it to be added to the list.
And one last word; if none of these works for you, that’s alright too.
Because if there is one thing I have learnt from years on the road, it’s that travelling isn’t the only path to happiness. As long as you are actively pursuing your dreams, wherever they may lay, you are a traveller at heart.
** This article was originally published on Thought Catalog.