Ever since I started telling people about my plans to quit my job and go travel for a year, I kept hearing the same thing: “That sounds amazing! I wish I could do that.” When digging into what stops them from traveling, I often hear the same 5 excuses. Those same excuses I used to convince myself were valid blockers.
The truth is, it’s up to you whether to let them holding you back. As Henry Ford once said, “whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right”. And while I do realize that long-term travel is not for everyone one, with this post I want to encourage you to be honest with yourself. Don’t let these 5 excuses stop you from traveling. Reflect on the limitations that currently hold you back in your life and what you would do differently if those were gone – be it exploring the world or something else.
Excuse #1: I can’t afford it
Traveling doesn’t have to be expensive. We truly only need water and food to survive. There are ways to live cheaply abroad. To save on accomodation, you can do couchsurfing or house sitting. You can also volunteer in exchange for food or accomodation. With a little budget planning, there is nothing to stop you from traveling with little financial resources. To get some inspiration, check out Ramon Stoppelenburg’s website. Ramon traveled around the world for two years without any money, relying solely on other people to invite him over!
Think about how much money you currently spend on things you dont really need. Those new pairs of trousers, this very expensive fancy restaurant. Instead, you could buy yourself a low-cost flight ticket or rent a bed in a hostel for weeks. Choose what you value. Figure out how much you need to put aside, start saving, and go travel.
Excuse #2: This is not a good time for my career
Whether you think you first need to gain more experience, wait until your next promotion or land that big project you’ve been working on, timing will never be right. But remember that while there will always be more corporate ladders to climb, you will never be able to take back the time you spent in that cubicle instead of doing something you love. Like watching the sunset in the Serengiti in Tanzania. Or trekking Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit.
Besides, traveling can help you build valuable skills for when you return. Managing a budget, learning a new language, understanding the local social and political situation – nothing like traveling makes you understand the actual world we’re living in. You will also be able to develop transferable skills such as adaptability, problem-solving, communication and empathy. In addition, you can use the extra free-time to work on personal passion proyects that might end up becoming a source of income.
Excuse #3: I don’t have anyone to go traveling with
Don’t wait to find a travel buddy. Go solo! Yes, you might feel lonely and miss friends and family from time to time but it will make your experience much more rewarding. And your loved ones will always only be a Whatsapp or Skype away. Traveling solo is the best way to get out of your comfort zone, make lots of new friends, interact with locals, experience self-discovery, and indulge in yourself.
For once, you can only think about you and make your desires a priority. You don’t need to convince anyone to go visit that museum with you. You can sleep in until 12pm without anyone waiting for you. You will spend your days exactly how you want to spend them. Your trip will belong entirely to you and no one else. You will be able to decide which stories to tell and which memories to keep for yourself.
Excuse #4: I have too many responsibilities
I often hear people say one of the following:
“My company needs me”
You might be the greatest expert on your topic but at the end of the day, everyone is replacable. Your teams will probably need to adjust and learn how to operate differently but things usually work out just fine. Also, while you have so much concerns about your company’s future, I’ve very rarely seen companies go out of their way to retain employees and show genuine interest for what is best for them. More often than not, you end up receiving limited gratefulness for the impact made and energy invested.
It’s time to think about yourself first. If your company truly values you, and if you want to go back there after you trip, they will wait for you and accept you to take a sabbatical. If you’re actually not that excited about coming back, it will be a great opportunity to find something better.
“My family or friends need me”
For some of us, putting our happiness first is associated with being selfish. Whenever I feel guilt about putting myself first, I remember that great quote from Abraham: “The greatest gift that you could ever give another is your own happiness.” Whenever we sacrifice our happiness under the guise that it’s for our kids or our partners or whoever, it’s not helpful to you or anyone that you truly love.
Valuing yourself, feeling full and being joyful will result in you having so much more to give others. Your vibe and energy will be infectious. There will be no future regrets and no resentment. Let go and be happy now. Your family and friends will love you even more for having the courage to pursue your dreams.
For the parents out there worried to travel around the world with their little ones, you can find some key tips to get you started here. Yes it will come with its set of challenges, but many parents did it before you and are thrilled they did.
“I have bills to pay, health insurance, a car, a mortgage, etc”
For sure it may seem scary to leave the safety of your daily routine and duties land. It’s warm and fuzzy there. But let’s be honest, it also gets boring. When your grand-kids will ask you why you never went for that dream trip, how will you feel telling them you didn’t know what to do with your car?
List out all the things you need to take care of. How much savings you need. Make a plan with milestones and timelines. Sell all the things you never use. Rent your house out. You got this. Figure something out. Do your homework and create a plan. Don’t let all those things make you feel stuck. Go travel, it will make you feel alive again. It will inspire you and sparkle your creativity. You will come back anew and with a sense of freedom.
Excuse #5: Is it really worth it? I have a decent life
You don’t need to go through some terrible drama, a mental breakdown or have a miserable life to decide to escape your daily routine and go explore the world. I had a pretty satisfying life when I decided to quit my job and go travel. But after working for the same company for almost 7 years, I didn’t feel like I was being my best self anymore. I had to change that. And I am so glad I did. It was totally worth it!
Too often, we are afraid of what we might lose instead of focusing on what we might gain. Jumping into the unknown is never easy. But living with regrets is worst. As you travel, you will realize there are things more important than money and security, like new adventures and experiences. Venturing out will bring you the greatest feelings of accomplishment. Traveling will help you gain new perspectives and figure out how to live your life in a way that you love instead of letting it pass you. You only have one live. It should not just be okay. It should be the best life you can possibly have. Go pursue your wildest dreams now.