So, I want to travel. It’s something I am drawn to, something I feel I need and want to do. Traveling makes my life fuller, it gives me the freedom, it brings an enormous amount and sense of joy into my life and puts me in motion. All that and more.
Why is it that so many times we get stopped (mostly by ourselves and our way of thinking) by the seemingly unimportant word: BUT? Seemingly, because we’re mostly unaware that it can (if said often enough) sabotage the slightest chance of actually searching for solutions and taking necessary steps or decisions to change the way of seeing things. I’ve been a ‘can do’ person most of my life, which often got me into trouble. Surely, not playing by the widely-accepted-rules or making my own rules doesn’t always get me the approval I sometimes still wish to get.
Finding those endless streams of but’s often seems a much easier way of living the life in order to fit in and be more like others. Of course, some but’s and excuses are legit, while some of them just distract us. It’s that inner voice telling us it’s not our turn, so we can’t possibly take the journey.
I gathered some of the most common but’s I often hear from people around me and sometimes still tell myself from time to time. Changing the way of thinking about these situations can many times bring us closer to actually traveling (more) and seeing no boundaries in doing something we love.
…I don’t have the time
Some of my best travels were quite short, day trips or weekend getaways that I didn’t think would be anything special in the first place. I guess not putting out the expectations can bring many surprises and fill that travel time with great experiences. Sure, these are short hikes or trips, but hey – they still count. You can always include your friends and family in those short getaways, so the ‘not having enough time for everything and everyone’ excuse really can’t stand your ground.
Sometimes it just comes down to planning, priorities and the importance you put into your travel goals and wishes. You really want to take that travel but don’t have an extra 3 days of vacation time left to use? Talking to your boss, putting in some extra hours and working longer for a couple of weeks might be the way to go. Trying to go on a travel around the public holiday and stretching that weekend as far as you can, might also do the trick. Choose few shorter and closer traveling options instead of taking the whole month off. I truly believe there is always a way when there is a goal and a strong will. For me it’s quite simple: somehow you just make time for things you really really really want and enjoy doing.
…I don’t have the money
It seems quite a legit reason, money being one of the most common excuses for not traveling. Money is important and necessary when traveling, however, there are few things that need to be pointed out about that. I believe that you can stretch a certain amount of money as far or as close as you can. Traveling doesn’t have to be a luxurious, first-class experience. It can be as affordable as you make it.
Also, living on a budget and saving for travels is always a rewarding experience in the end that no one has ever regretted doing. Our everyday lives are very much hijacked by consumerism. Implementing some minimalistic behaviours and living a simpler life can truly make a difference in spending less and saving more. While ‘saving more’ experience usually proves to be quite freeing, real changes in the lifestyle still need to be done, which is sometimes the hardest part. Additionally, there are many ways to earn money on the road, while traveling, so it’s always a good idea to explore those options as well.
…I don’t have anyone to travel with
Traveling with family, friends or partner can be fun and exciting, and can also provide a sense of safety while on the road. Traveling alone, on the other hand, can be lonely. It can also bring the anxiety and fear to the surface. In my experience solo traveling can truly build person’s character in ways they’d never imagined. It makes us stronger, self-reliant, more free and open. We begin trusting ourselves and our decisions more and more while realizing we can have a joyful and liberating experience even when nobody joins us on the journey. Facing ourselves is sometimes the hardest thing. Well, on a solo trip you are definitely pushed into situations where you have to dig deep, sometimes cry, do unimaginable things, get yourself out of the mess by nobody but yourself and basically figure everything out on your own.
Starting with a weekend getaway might be the first step in trying out solo traveling. You’ll quickly know if that is something you would like to proceed with in the future. You might also want to consider Topdeck Travel, Contiki and similar companies that have the itinerary laid out for you and you’re able to travel with the group of other travelers. Also, traveling solo doesn’t always mean you are alone, as you quickly come across like-minded people who often become your travel buddies. You’ll surely find the right people along the way.
I believe it’s necessary and also healthy to take solo trips from time to time. The rewards are huge, as we get the chance to experience other cultures, understand social differences, challenge our limits, become independent, gain confidence and life skills that can’t be taught in a classroom. All these things are liberating and can help us remove the self-imposed boundaries.
…I don’t know how/where to start
Have you just rediscovered the passion for traveling or maybe you are overwhelmed with options and choices? Do you believe that traveling only means visiting some faraway country or place? What traveling means to you is totally up to you. For me, it means a change of scenery and experiencing something new, among other things. It doesn’t necessarily mean I have to spend hours and hours on airplanes or in a car to reach my destination. So, why not starting where you are? We often know so much about far away places and cultures while on the other hand, we know nothing about the area we live in. So, start where you are. One of my favourite quotes summons this nicely: Do what you can, with what you have, where you are (Theodore Roosevelt).
Other than that, you can talk to your friends. There sure is one that seems to have it all figured out and you admire because of her/his adventures. Go talk to her/him and ask questions. I bet her/his beginnings were just like yours are now. There are many amazing blogs out there that offer tons of information and can help you answer many questions about your destination. Everyone does at least some basic research before the travels, even the most experienced travelers. Stepping out of the comfort zone will soon turn into the best thing that ever happened to you.
…I have a small child(ren)
I don’t have children yet, but I often come across parents (especially parents with small children) that feel traveling would take too big of a toll on their young ones. I also have many friends that travel and explore the world with their child(ren) all the time. They’ve done it since their child was born. Sure, I understand that if you never traveled before, it’s so much harder to do it with a newborn or with a small child for the first time altogether.
However, I often see children quickly adapting to new situations. Exploring the world with the young ones can be enriching for you all. Generally, children are very open to adventure and new experiences as they learn about new cultures, languages, and history. Traveling with them might, in the beginning, mean a visit to a nearby forest or lake and exploring places around your home country. Going out to nature/spots where they can explore something different and special together with you could be a wonderful experience. Later on, your travels might be longer and further away. It’s all about those small steps, extra preparation, and planning in my opinion.
…I really don’t want to travel
Well, that’s ok then. You’ve done the soul searching and came to a conclusion that traveling is not for you. Not at this point in your life. Maybe never. You can’t find the slightest piece of desire inside of you to explore, travel or experience the wide world out there. You are happy as you are and where you are. You learn about different cultures and places through reading or watching documentaries. Or not even that. You simply feel you already live your life to the fullest. You’re happy.
I might not completely understand that, but I accept it. However, if you do wish you had the desire to travel, then wait for that spark to get ignited and your time will surely come soon enough to do all the ‘crazy’ stuff.
…it’s not the right time
This excuse is maybe the one that gets me feeling the most uneasy when I hear it. All we have is now, this moment. Even if right now is not the ideal time, you can start planning ahead or make that future booking so you get the ball rolling. You’ll have time to adjust to the thought and to grow into this whole traveling idea. That way you are getting yourself some extra time. But what I really can’t understand are words like: ‘I am too young / too old / too ___ (insert your choice of a silly excuse)’. For me, that’s the biggest BS and I don’t really have anything else to say but: ‘Snap out of it.’
…I am afraid
True, traveling is often associated with a slight anxiety. It happens to everyone. Traveling does put you out of your comfort zone a bit, so it’s even easier to find those reasons and excuses for not traveling at all.
However, the practice quickly makes you an expert. Once you get comfortable dealing with all the aspects of traveling like bookings, accommodation, activities and other itineraries, you can ease into the enjoyment and even start turning all the anxiety towards the anticipation. It’s also good to be honest with yourself and get clear what aspect of traveling scares you in the first place. Once you have an image of all the things that make you feel uncomfortable, you can start looking for solutions and steps to eliminate those aspects one by one. You can get prepared and educated, do a research, be cautious and travel smart. But that is as much as anyone can possibly do.
If planning every single detail of your trip is something that puts your mind at ease and gives you a sense of control, then certainly do it. I guarantee that once the traveling starts to happen, you’ll find yourself relaxed as, enjoying the new landscapes, cities, places, people, and culture. I always give myself 1-2 days, and that’s all anyone usually needs to really start enjoying. Don’t let the fear stop you on your journey because you are capable of so much more than you think.
There is really no reason not to travel, not even the lack of time or money. Starting with the tour in your backyard, going out into nature, searching for those near inspirational landscapes, is often all it takes for memorable experiences and journeys. Beauty is here, wherever you are. These spots can strike you even more just because you find them unexpectedly and out of the blue. It’s really not about how far you’ve traveled or what places you’ve seen, but about the willingness and general curiosity about life and the explorer part of your being that you allow to be brought out. Travel always finds you when you really want to pursue it.