Yes, Even YOU Can Travel The World

Me with a huge skull I found while camping in Africa.

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It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do for a living, who you hate, how you dance, how many white pubic hairs you have, or what your most embarrassing fart story is…

If there’s one thing everyone seems to have in common it’s the desire to travel.

Admit it – the word travel is on your bucket list.

But if our desire to travel is so strong, why aren’t we doing it? What is standing in our way?

My theory: Fear coupled with a lack of creativity.

Today I want to address all the fears that stop us from traveling. I see these fears as hurdles, not barriers– and all you have to do is think up creative ways to jump over them. 

The Reason Why

One of my goals for this year is to travel to Australia and New Zealand with my husband.

But that’s not all.

My theme for 2012 is “Planting Seeds” which involves developing good lifestyle habits while I am (relatively) young. This means that reaching one travel goal is not good enough – Brian and I must develop habits that allow us to travel every year, even after Australia and New Zealand are checked off our bucket list.

The tips below are the result of research I’ve done to prepare for our big Outback Adventure later this year.

Travel Fears (And Me Crushing Them)

1. “I can’t afford to travel.”

Granted, financial restraints are a legitimate concern.

But!

It’s nothing a little creativity, resourcefulness and compromise can’t solve:

  • Get discounted (maybe free!) plane tickets to anywhere in the world plus discounted hotel stays by using frequent flyer miles and travel rewards offered by credit cards. Get all the best tips here and here. For a fabulous, comprehensive, 3-part explanation of how all this works, read this.
  • Consider backpacking and staying at hostels. (But do your research to avoid shady places!)
  • Get free lodging abroad by house swapping or couch surfing.

Side note: If you are struggling with credit card debt, none of these tips apply to you. Because dude…you legitimately cannot afford to travel.

(Brian and I paid off 28k in credit card debt in two years. During that time we didn’t do any traveling aside from a honeymoon that we did not spend a penny on — from flight, food, activities, to lodging — thanks to our incredible friends and family.)

The good news is that once you are out of debt, the tips above will help you stay out of the hole, even with a life full of travel.

2. “I’ll travel when I’m older and retired.”

I’m a bereavement counselor for a hospice program. Every day I work with people who are literally on their death bed or who are grieving the death of a loved one.

So you guessed it — I don’t believe in putting off big dreams for a later date in your life.

Also, read this inspiring article on why you should travel while you’re young.

3. “I’m afraid of flying in an airplane.”

Get over it.

No, seriously.

Fear and anxiety aren’t good enough excuses to live a life you are not fully satisfied with. So talk to a friend who has overcome a fear of flying, or perhaps get help from a therapist. For now, read this post on overcoming phobias.

Of course, you can try Greyhounding it, touring the country via private sleeper car on Amtrak, and taking a freighter or cruise ship overseas. But you won’t always have the time for these slower modes of transportation, so you might as well learn to face the inevitable with courage and grace.

4. “I can’t get time off from work.

There’s no such thing as “I can’t get time off from work.”

If you tell yourself this lie it’s probably because you are afraid of something bigger — like being hated by your boss, feeling like you let others down, or fearing that your co-workers can get along just fine without you.

Stop thinking exaggerated thoughts that negatively influence your quality of life. Ground yourself in reality. Ask yourself: What’s the worst that can happen? Make a way.

5. “I’m unemployed.”

Dude. The best time to book a long trip is when you don’t have a job. This is obviously counter-intuitive (and you should also review my tips under fear #1), but as long as you don’t have tons of credit card debt right now, do it and thank me later.

You will find a job (eventually). But you will never forgive yourself for passing up an extended stay at your Dream Destination during a pocket of time when there was a dip in your number of daily responsibilities. Don’t waste your unemployment.

Last Thing

Consider going on a vacation that involves volunteer work. Check out this cool site to find out how.

Volunteer vacations are the kind I want to take my kids on (when I have ‘em) because they teach a ton about compassion, adventure, and humanity.

Your turn: What traveling tips can you recommend?

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9 Responses to Yes, Even YOU Can Travel The World

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  6. Sheryl says:

    I’ve done some travelling when I’ve had the chance – high school trips to Florida and New Orleans (kicking myself for not going to Greece when I could have there, lol), and plenty of camping up in northern Ontario … but I’m always wanting to do more.

    Money is definitely a concern for us with travel – but a workable one, usually.

    For me, #5 is super scary, even though it’s probably what I should be paying attention to right now – mostly because of money. Vicious cycle?

    • Kimberly Eclipse says:

      I hope you make it to Greece one day — my parents LOVED it there and I think it’s their favorite travel destination out of the countries they’ve visited so far.

      As for #5…yes it’s scary but you don’t want your unemployment to turn into passed-up-high-school-Greece-trip Part II. ;)

  7. Lehho says:

    Several of these apply to me to some very small degree. I think the biggest, though, might be flying. Not fear of it; hatred of it. Greyhound buses are far more comfortable than most commercial planes. To subject myself to hours of it, on top of TSA and other boarding concerns, possible delays and cancellations, etc., and I have trouble thinking of another experience that actually happens in my life aside from breakups that even approaches this unpleasantness. The Island Continent and its satellites is at the top of my list, too, but it requires the longest of all possible flights. [Exasperated sigh.]

    Anyhow, my balls moment will come when I decide to suck it up and then follow your advice at #1, #2, and ESPECIALLY “Last Thing”. I wish I had thought of that. Brilliant. Thanks!

    • Kimberly Eclipse says:

      Hi Lehho! You reminded me that there are some cool alternatives to flying that I should have mentioned in the post. Greyhound works but I also know a few people who have toured the US via private sleeper cars on Amtrak (with your own bed, bathroom, dining services, etc.). Traveling by ship is an option for going abroad.

      Yes, I’m excited about trying the “Last Thing”, too. Glad this post was helpful!

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