Yes, You Can Travel Too


“I’ll never be able to do as much in my life as you have in yours…”

I’m sitting across the table from a guy I just met.

I was out with friends, who brought more friends, until all of a sudden we were all playing a game of “hello my name is and this is what I do.” The abbreviated version, anyways.

I was having a lovely conversation with a seemingly lovely person, and naturally the topic of my travels popped up. It always does…

The reaction is generally the same.

You just came back from where? New Zealand.

And you were where before then? Australia, and before that Paris and London.

Where’s the favorite place you’ve been? I couldn’t possibly choose…

Wow. I wish I could travel as much as you do.

And that, my dear friends, is the kicker. Because you CAN travel as much as I do, and see as much as I’ve seen. Travel is not some impossible feat that floats just outside your reach, forever taunting you with promises of sun-soaked holidays and more stamps in your passport.

[Tweet “If you want to travel, make it a priority, and make it happen. And take lots of pictures!”]

The trick is, most of us can’t travel and have it all. We have jobs, and we have bills. And we will have to flip our perspective – those are realities, but they don’t have to be insurmountable obstacles.

Here’s how:

You will have to make sacrifices.

If you want to travel, you are going to have to allocate funds to do so. You might have to skip all those meals at your favorite restaurants every week, and drinks out every weekend. Maybe curb a shopping habit. But it will be worth it in the end once you jump on that plane for your 10-day trek through Thailand.

If you’re young, consider study abroad.

Most people don’t realize when I tell them I lived here, there and there that I did it as a student. Take advantage of any study abroad programs you can – it’s the perfect stepping stone to international travel. You are able to stay longer than a typical vacation, but you have a built-in support group. And they usually take care of finding your housing. Could it get any easier? The other option is to enroll in a foreign school, like I did in London and Paris. This take it one step further, integrating you more into local culture, all while preserving that support group. Plus student visas usually let you work part-time, so you can offset costs.

And finally, use your time wisely.

Many people complain that they simply don’t have the time off from work to travel. BUT, 42% of Americans DID NOT take vacation in 2014. WHAT?? The argument is that workers are too busy to take time off, and too stressed to want to leave the work undone on their desks. But how productive can we be if we’re running on empty? Learning to find a work/life balance not only increases productivity, it benefits your health and overall happiness. So do yourself a favor and take the days off. The world will not collapse if you don’t answer emails for a week.

These are my tips on how to overcome the excuses for why people don’t travel. If you want to do it, make it happen. If it’s not a priority, and that’s fine if it’s not your thing, don’t fling out reasons why you couldn’t.

And stop looking at me like I’m some mythical unicorn with an unattainable lifestyle. It took me more than 10 years to go all the places I’ve been. And so many others have been so to many more (those lucky ducks).

My hope for 2015, for everyone out there who wants to get away, is that you find the courage and the commitment to just do it. Stop making excuses, and get out there and see.

What are your thoughts on why you, or others, don’t travel?

If you had no work or budget to consider, where would you go?

{Image by Robert Couse-Baker}

  • I find it ABSOLUTELY INSANE that people don’t use their vacation times! What are you saving those for??? My problem with them is that they’re not enough! It all comes down to priorities, and if you don’t know what you want out of life, you’re just going to be waiting and wishing forever, haha.

    • PS I was super busy over break but will respond to the lovely email you sent me soon xx

      • Haha no worries!! Reply whenever you get the chance – it’s amazing how hectic the holiday “down time” was!! 🙂

        And yes, I can’t even begin to wrap my head around unused vacation time. Personally, I have noticed distinct differences in my productivity when I remind myself to just take a day off. Sundays, no real work. Only play and recharge. Otherwise I get completely burned out and get even less done. Prioritizing is the key, and then having the drive to follow through. Waiting and wishing alone doesn’t get your anywhere! lol 🙂

  • It’s all a matter of priorities. To me, “I don’t have time” or “I can’t afford” often translate to “this isn’t as important to me as this other thing, that I’m putting all my time and resources into.” If people gave up Starbucks and dinner and drinks out for three months, they’d have more than enough money for that plane ticket.

    That said, as much as I’ve enjoyed designing and DIY renovating our house, I’m REALLY ready to be done with that so we can free up more money for travel!

    • That’s just it! We are all afforded the same amount of time, and as for money, if people started really paying attention to their spending habits they might find ways to squeeze a bit more travel into the budget. Not that we can all afford to jet-set around year-round, but I get so tired of people saying “I can’t.” Nonsense!!

      Sometimes funds do need to be allocated towards other things, and travel has to take the backseat for a little while. That’s natural in the ebb and flow of life. It’s about to be me when I move to a new place here in the States, wherever that may be! 😉

  • So true and such easy steps to take if you want to… the problem is people often don’t want to step outside their comfort zone or do the extra work to make a different life possible. Such great points!

    • Thanks Casey! It is a matter of comfort zone, and being willing to put in that extra effort. We so often get caught up in a world on instant gratification and forget that some of the greatest rewards are had by working long and hard for it. And small tweaks in habits can make all the difference!

  • Yes, echoing what Kristin said below, it’s absolutely about priorities. I actually hate when people say this to anything that is a choice they could absolutely make if they wanted to. Most of the time, these people do not have extenuating circumstances that make it impossible for them to travel or move or change their lifestyle, like illness or looking after sick relatives or extreme poverty; they’re just afraid and instead of facing that fear, they pretend like it’s something that only other people can do. Any sentence that starts with “I wish….” I immediately think, “Don’t wish; do.”

    • You’re so right!! I think sometimes people say that can’t simply because they don’t want to own up to responsibility of owning their choice. There’s very little material things we NEED in this world, outside of food, shelter and water, so if you really wanted to, you could make it happen. I love “Don’t wish; do.” That’s a great motto to live your life by! 🙂

  • Sand In My Suitcase

    Some trips are actually less expensive than many people think. You can fly to Asia from Vancouver, Canada, for just over $1,000 Cdn a ticket (eg, to Bali or Bangkok). Once there, you can live quite well for relatively little money. So you can experience a more exotic trip than say going to Hawaii, stay in nicer places and even pay less than for a Hawaii trip. Money can never really be an excuse for not traveling – as you say, it’s all about choices ☺:-).

    • That’s the thing! There are affordable ways to do it – I like checking the Kayak Explore, for example. And I was constantly perusing the RyanAir website for deals when I lived in Europe. I was once able to find return airfare to Spain for 20 pounds! Now if that’s not affordable I don’t know what is lol. I think it often boils down to wanting it bad enough, and then allocating the proper funds to make it happen. 🙂

  • Megan Hogarth

    Great post Amy. Travel really is far more accessible than most people realise. But I don’t think it’s the practicalities (money, time etc) that hold a lot of people back. If people say they want to travel but aren’t then they just don’t want it bad enough. Making travel a reality is about priorities and motivation (as are most things in life). If people want it to happen, they’ll make it so.

    • It does seem that travel become a sort of buzzword – people talk about how much they want to travel and the fabulous destinations on their bucket list, but they never take the steps to make those dream trips a reality. Why not?? I think it’s a comfort zone thing, and maybe a drilled-in belief that spending money on travel isn’t the “responsible” way to handle your money. It’s an interesting topic, why people who profess to want to travel don’t actually do so. Could merit further exploring, and future posts! 🙂

  • I feel that I encounter the same questions all the time. To be honest, I think people are lazy. It’s easy to look at a facebook post and day “must be nice” but it’s not easy to save or give up cable or downsize to travel. My humble opinion 🙂

    • I couldn’t agree with you more Jessica!! It’s the same with anything – weight-loss, fitness, whatever. It’s so much easier to look at a photo of a fit person and say “must be nice” than to actually get off the internet and work towards it yourself. 🙂

  • It drives me crazy when people say that to me as well, about how they wish they could travel. I often just say look for places to go within an hour or two of your house and I’m sure you’ll find somewhere new to go and explore. You’ve just got to get out and do it!

    • That’s just it!! So many of the places I go is because I’m willing to drive a few hours on the weekend, or do a day trip. I hardly ever go anywhere where I don’t know someone to stay with either! It helps keep costs down, and I truly enjoy going to visit people. If people really, really want to do it, they could find a way! 🙂

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