How to make travel a priority and realising there’s never a perfect time

This topic is such a toughy but it’s something that comes up again and again. How do you make travel a priority in your life without being held back by ‘real life’.

You go to school and then maybe uni. You get a job, you start your career, you buy a house, you get married, you have kids, you buy a bigger house, you get a better job…

(And then I’m not really sure what happens after that as I’m not there yet!)

But where does travelling fit into this? What if this isn’t what you want? What if this structure that society has created for us makes you want to scream and terrifies the bejesus out of you because that’s not what you want for your life!? But that’s what everyone tells you to do, so you start doing it and then you get trapped in it and you can still hear the little 16 year old in your head quietly whispering, “I just want to travel the world and be happy.”

Oh I hear you!

It might just be a whisper but it’s there and you want to do something about it.

As you guys know, I get lots of lovely lovely emails from lovely lovely readers and one of my favourite things is to answer the questions in these emails in the form of a blog post. An email I had recently was from someone asking how to make travelling a priority and not let the pressures of life get in the way. She found herself settling down and now the grown up things like bills and commitments is making it even harder to tear herself away and live the amazing adventure she’d always dreamt of.

This post is for that lovely reader, who will remain anonymous, but also for the hundreds of people who I know will read this and feel exactly the same.

There is no answer to this question so I’m going to cheat and head over to Pinterest for some help in the form of an inspirational quote!

There is never a perfect time.

There’s never a perfect time for anything.

Whether you’re thinking about travelling the world, having a baby, changing jobs or buying a house. There’s never going to be a good time.

You’re always going to want a little bit more money, a bit more information, a bit more time to sort yourself out. You will never have enough because you can always have more.

 

 

‘One year from now you will thank yourself’

This is something I think about all the time because there are lots of things I wish I’d done when I first had the idea. I wanted to start making videos about 5 years ago but it’s hard and I’m shit and it’s a whole new skill to learn. But if I’d started learning 5 years ago when I first had the thought then I’d be shit-hot at video making by now. I’d be flipping awesome and I’d be saying to myself, ‘I’m so pleased I started making videos years ago…’

So why not do something NOW that you’ll thank yourself for later.

When I was pregnant I thanked myself for all those years of exercising and when I have a tough meeting with a client I’ll thank myself for all the prep I did. And now I’m nearly 30, I thank my 21 year old self for being brave and adventurous and travelling the world.

 

What’s stopping you?

No, really, what’s stopping you?

Think about it. Write it down. What is stopping you from doing that thing you want to do? Or, often more importantly, who is stopping you?

If it’s a ‘who’ then talk to them. Find out what they really think. Maybe they don’t even know you feel like this. Maybe they secretly share your dream. Maybe they’re supportive of your dream. Maybe they think your dream is a stupid idea so maybe it’s time to take a deep breath and just do it anyway.

 

Don’t forget your dreams

This is kind of embarrassing but I wrote something when I was about 13 years old in my diary. I’m sure that diary is still hidden somewhere on a dusty bookshelf at my parent’s house but I wrote something like.

“I just want to travel the world and write about it. And I’m writing it down now because I don’t want to forget that dream. I don’t want to be old and boring and normal and never live my dreams.”

It went on and on in typical teenage waffle but that first sentence is the exact words I wrote and I remember that because I used to read and re-read it all the time. It became engrained in my brain so I could never forget it.

I went through a phase where I thought it wasn’t possible but the dream was still there.

If you’re on the verge of forgetting your dreams then make something visual so they’re always there in the forefront of your mind. Make a scrapbook from magazine articles, write it down, stick postcards on your fridge. Do whatever it takes to keep it at the front of your mind so you’re always thinking about it. Because as soon as you stop thinking about it, it’s all too easy to forget it.

 

 

Just book the ticket

If you want to travel but you’re scared to give up the life you’ve worked so hard to achieve, the hardest thing you’re going to do is….you know…actually go. Actually getting on the plane and going is the hardest thing. Just the thought of waving goodbye, stepping on the plane and flying off into the unknown if flipping terrifying. But possibly the most exciting feeling of your life.

And if, like me, this thought is really scary, you’ve just got to force yourself to do it. It’s like ripping off a wax strip (not a plaster/bandaid, it’s worse than that). Just do it. Don’t think about it. Don’t countdown from 10. Just trust that it’s going to be OK and do it. Just open your laptop and book a flight. Book it for a weeks time, a months time, a years time. Whatever. Just book it.

When Sam and I went to Australia, we booked a one-way flight almost a year in advance. We didn’t plan, research, schedule, save or even talk to anyone else. We didn’t know what we’d do or where we’d go. We just drank a bottle of wine and booked it. I paid for my share with my student loan (it was the beginning of a new term so I’d just had a lovely lump of cash into my bank) and worried about the rest later.

And while we’re on this topic I should probably admit that Sam didn’t actually want to go to Australia. I told him I was going and that I’d love for him to come with me, but if he didn’t want to come I was going anyway. It wasn’t an easy decision for him and this wasn’t a lifelong dream for him. And it wasn’t easy for me to say I’d go without him, but that’s what gave him the push to do it and he now says it was the best decision he ever made. So if you’re waiting for the perfect travel buddy who shares your dreams then you might be waiting a long time.

 

You can always come home

When I went travelling, something I always kept at the bank of my mind was the thought, ‘I can always go home’. No matter what happened I always had £1,000 in my bank so, if I needed to, I could just jump on a plane and go home. If I didn’t like it then I’d just go home. At least I tried it and would never have that lingering doubt creeping around the back of my mind, always wondering if I should have done it.

And while we’re on the topic of home, most people I know who travelled came home and said nothing had changed. It’s weird and wonderful in the same way but you come home and slot back into normal life as though you’d never been away. So if it’s the thought of leaving home that terrifies you, just remember that home will always be there and home won’t change.

 

For me, the main thing that pushes me to keep travelling (even when it’s too expensive or a logistical nightmare or I have a million other things I should really do) is the thought that when I’m old I don’t want to have any regrets. I don’t want to sit in my rocking chair when I’m 90 years old and think, ‘Do you know what, I really wish I went to Bali when I was younger.’

I want to sit in my chair with a G&T and think, ‘Hell yes, I’ve had some adventures.’

It’s this Jack Kerouac quote that always comes to mind and it pushes me to do more…

 

 

TheTravelHack

Monica is the founder and editor of The Travel Hack. She began the blog in 2009 when she left the UK to travel around Asia and Australia for two years. She's now a professional blogger and has travelled around the world in search of stylish adventure travel. Monica has recently had her second baby and is determined to prove that travelling with a baby is possible!

SHOWHIDE Comments (9)
  1. Feeling quite smug reading this after having booked for my big adventure but this might have given me the push I needed if still considering this. Think it’s very true about keeping it in the forefront of your mind. The more I’ve thought and read about travel, the more travelling I’ve actually managed to do.

  2. I agree with your words completely. I have a similar mindset to you, but my partner does not. He LOVES to work and is more of a traditional 4-weeks-leave-per-year kind of guy. I planted the seed very early on in our relationship that travel is priority for me & I would travel my whole life, with or without him, and 7 years later he just knows he has to factor it into our plans & budget. I suggested long trip to Central America about a year ago, we’re going in November. I find the earlier you state your intentions, the better.

    At the end of the day, I agree, you won’t remember sitting in an office, or that job you had when you were 30. But you will remember sipping Mojitos on the Maelcon in Cuba, so if you have to sacrifice a few things to get there, just do it!

  3. I love this!! I bought a business when I was 20 and in some ways it was the most stupid thing I’ve done because five years passed and my dreams were running away from me, which is something I never thought would happen. I eventually managed to sell it and I never looked back! But there’s always something. A big family party, a wedding, an event that you really don’t want to miss. My favourite band re-united and I missed their tour. I could have said “right well I’ll wait until after that… and then after that. And after that. Oh wait, now I have kids and a mortgage” haha. There isn’t a perfect time, you’ve just got to prioritise it. 🙂 And I think now that I’ve realised how quickly life can sweep you up, I’m scared to prioritise anything OTHER than travel!

  4. Amazing quotes you have used in this blog – so inspiring! I am currently binge reading your blogs and this one is so good for making me want to just book that flight and disappear off for a while, thanks goodness for overdrafts! After all “I wasnt born to just pay bills and die!!”

    http://www.scrapbookadventures.co.uk/

  5. I agree! Writing down dreams, challenges, obstacles.. whatever.. gives you so much clarity and vision. I’ve noticed that the dreams I’ve accomplished are always the ones I’ve written down. Great quotes too, Monica!

  6. This is so true! I can totally relate to this! John and I book our tickets and tried to find ways to make more money for our travels and even change our spending habits. When you book your travel, you will figure out ways to find or save more money. Traveling has become our motivation. The next thing we know, we ended up booking flight tickets to different countries in a year! Our journey has just begun but I’m so excited for all of our travels this year! I just wish we started traveling earlier, but it’s never too late to start! ?

  7. I think just booking the ticket is my favorite of this advice. I have a lot of travel dreams and it’s really easy for me to think about where my life is at right now and think about what ifs in the future, but that’s silly. I should just book the damn ticket and go, regardless of the other life stuff. Going is my heart, so I should just go.

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The Travel Hack

The Travel Hack is a blog about stylish adventure travel and affordable luxury.

We believe luxurious travel can be affordable and isn't just for the rich. Follow along with our worldwide adventures as we share our trips and tips for incredible travel experiences on a modest budget.