What stops people from travelling?
Don’t worry, I’ve heard all the excuses: too many responsibilities, too much work, not enough money, fear of flying, etc.
Well, I’m here to put your mind at ease — because all of the things above are easily rectified, fixed, patched up, or totally avoided. Why? Because travelling is that easy, and none of these fears are legitimately real, and here’s why.
There’s always going to be something to do at work. There is always going to be a project at home that needs your attention. There’s always going to be not enough money, and yes, even people who fly often never really get over their fear of it. It’s just life.
But here’s the thing: I’m all for not letting any of these things stop you from packing your bag, charting a new course, and not giving a flying rat’s bottom that all of these things should stop you. And it’s not irresponsible, it’s self care.
So if you’re ready to make the leap and are looking for the keys to success, check out my tips for getting your mind set on travel mode. Because I know you’d much rather spend your days exploring a new place than being tied down at home.
How to get into travel mode
Get out of your own head
A fear of flying is about being too much in your own head. Sure, it’s totally uncomfortable, especially for cross continental, long hour flights. And yes, you are being transported miles and miles and miles above the ground by a metal bird with a couple of car engines. These same facts do not escape me when I travel, I just know that the outcome is totally worth the risks (especially since you’re 70 times more likely to die in a car accident than in a plane).
But here’s a little secret: if you’re brave enough to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger at a bar, you’re brave enough to forget your anxious fears about flying, or being lost, or getting caught in a rainstorm in a foreign city, and do everything you want to in spite of it all. And if you’re not brave enough to start gabbing, here’s some tips to get over it. That way, you’re equipped to getting out of your own head and out into the world instead.
Combat homesickness before you leave
Homesickness is inevitable when you’re travelling abroad; it may happen before you’ve even reached your new destination, or it may pop up after you’ve been somewhere for a while. Don’t worry, it’s completely 100% normal, and there are easy ways to stop everything from taking over from inside your head before you even leave.
The first thing I do is ask my friends and family to write me letters before I leave; I pack these notes in my bag and every once in awhile when I’m feeling low, I’ll crack open a new one and get to reading. Not only does this save everyone a stamp, but it also means you don’t have to stay in one place forever, or you never miss a letter. And best part: they’re always at your fingertips whether you plan on bingeing or taking one a day at a time.
Arm yourself with good reinforcement
Whenever I get a little down about how things aren’t going my way while I’m on the road (line for a castle was too long, the finances are dwindling, the weather is really poor), I always keep a backup plan for trying to get out of tight situations. And while I have specific solutions for each different problem (I suggest always knowing where your embassy is, buying travel insurance, and having at least one “business-like” outfit with you wherever you go just in case), there’s a pretty good cure-all that works like a charm: positive reinforcement.
When I get lost, I panic just like anyone else; it’s totally natural to be anxious when you don’t know where you are. It’s just everyday life. But the thing I always go back to when I get lost is all the other tight situations I successfully got myself out of. Sure, I have no idea which tram I’m on in Budapest at the moment, but I remember that time I found my way out of the medina in Marrakesh and I immediately feel better about my abilities to get myself out of the next sticky situation.
Set up a payment plan
For those who say they don’t have enough money, I’ve got a payment plan for you. Take $20 out of your bank account. Yes, right now. Put it in a jar in your room. Don’t spend it, don’t even look at it. Totally forget that it’s there. Next week, rinse and repeat. At the end of a year, that $20 is going to be more than $1000 and there’s plenty of spots around the world that you can travel to with that kind of cash.
The key to creating a good payment plan or travel jar if you will, is making a list of the things you want to see, the things to want to do, and the moments that are going to be most crucial for a great vacation. Those are the priorities and the way to build a better budget. I like to backpack and couchsurf but I also like to take a carry on and stay in a luxurious Airbnb every once in awhile, and as long as I know what my budget needs to be on the front end, it’s easy to keep things straight.
There are always going to be things that need more money. Don’t sacrifice your travel jar for the new iPhone! Go a little longer with your old car, or better yet, take your bike to the store! Just do whatever you have to do to save a little bit here and there and before you know it you’ll be on your way to somewhere divine.
This takes some practice, I won’t lie. But it’s something you build on everyday. Try a new restaurant for lunch, read a new author you’ve never heard of. Take the plunge and buy that old stack of records and spend all weekend falling in love with a new sound. The key here is to acquaint yourself with new experiences, and after a while, you’ll just gravitate naturally to things that are new, like traveling to the ends of the earth in search of a new adventure.
When the going gets rough on your way to a travel brain, just remember these words: “We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” If you need to, mark them up on the walls and remember that it’s one step at a time that we take our greatest journeys.
Travel tip shared by claire_traveltio