Years ago, we both came to similar conclusions about our lives. From our comfortable and familiar homes, we realized we wanted more. More things to see, more people to meet, more cultures to experience – more of the whole world! There was an itch that we couldn’t scratch at home, and we both decided the answer was to live abroad and pursue a life of travel.
Others have absolutely no desire to travel. While this may be hard for us to wrap our minds around, we 100% respect it. It is always admirable to be confident in yourself and know what you want from life.
We aren’t trying to change your mind if you genuinely don’t dream of a life on the road (or across an ocean).
But we do have some encouragement for those who long for travel, the way we did, but feel held back by external circumstances.
Honestly, we see ourselves in you! We know what it’s like to feel scared, uncertain, unprepared, or unlucky when wanderlust starts to tug at you.
This is what we needed to hear several years ago, and we hope it will be inspiring for you today.
We want to encourage you to get on that plane.
You don’t need as much money as you think.
No paycheck will ever be large enough if you aren’t keeping a budget that truly reflects your priorities. If you’re determined to travel, your spending and saving habits should reflect that. This might mean giving up other expenses in your life that have become habitual, but actually aren’t as important to you.
It is also easier than you think to save money on travel costs. Learn how to fly cheaply or even for free. Eliminate more expenses by housesitting, couchsurfing, traveling during the off-season, or searching for rooms with hostelworld.com or Airbnb. Choose destinations where the cost of living is very low, and your accommodations, food, and bar tabs will barely make a dent.
If you want to travel long-term, we encourage you to work while you travel. Your job abroad (or online) won’t need to pay too much if you choose the right country where costs are low.
You’re going to be safe.
It’s human nature to feel uneasy in unfamiliar places, especially when surrounded by people who look, act, talk, or behave differently than you are used to. But this instinct is not very accurate. Compared to America and England, many places in the world are very safe. Of course, every country has some crime. There are no guarantees whether you are at home or abroad. All you can really do is be alert and use common sense.
And that uneasiness that you’ll feel? It’s inescapable, but it’s also only temporary. It wasn’t long before we realized we were more comfortable walking in Asia at night than we ever felt back home. The streets are busier, the crime rates are lower, and the locals are friendlier and more helpful than any stranger we met back home.
You don’t need a travel partner.
There is a huge community of solo travelers exploring the world, and they will be excited to meet you and share their experiences with you. You might board your plane alone, but with the right attitude, you’ll have new friends in the next 24 hours. Your best travel companion might already be out there, not waiting around with you at home.
Your perfect travel partner might already be out there.
You don’t need anyone’s permission.
If you’re an adult, this is your decision. If a family member or friend voices concerns about your travel plans, thank them for their input. They just care about you, and you can’t fault them for that. But then come to your own conclusion about what you can and can’t do, and what you do and don’t want.
Your free time is precious – make the most of it!
If you are very busy, that’s even more of a reason to make your limited holiday time really count! Meaningful travel doesn’t have to be a 4-year nonstop trip at the opposite end of the globe. You can do a lot more than you think in the time you have.
Living in England? Give Eastern Europe a try.
Get off the beaten track. Don’t go to the same place twice. Choose your flight times carefully to maximize the time you can explore.
You don’t need to speak the language.
You will be able to communicate everything you need to, one way or another. Read our best tips for overcoming a language barrier.
You aren’t too young. You don’t need to wait until you’re older.
Take advantage of the energy you have when you’re younger – you can sleep anywhere, in any position, and wake the next day without a complaint. You can stay up all night when your flight is delayed or when you decide to take a night bus to your next destination. You can keep up with the party-goers at your hostel. You can idealize the cultures around you with perfect innocence and optimism and people will think it’s endearing, not delusional.
You aren’t too old. You don’t need to regret that you’ve missed your chance.
Take advantage of the resources you’ve accumulated and free time you’ve earned. You can spring for the luxury hotels and a bit of fine dining. You can travel slowly and intentionally, and no one will pressure you. You will be offered respect and courtesy, and you will have amazing experiences while appreciating the comfort you’re able to afford.
There is an advantage to travel at every age. Enjoy whatever it can offer you right now.
Bring the kids!
We can’t speak about family travel from personal experiences, but we are always relieved and impressed to see families traveling far and well even with small children in tow. It can be done, and it might even instill a sense of curiosity and adventure in your children at a young age that will carry them through their adulthood.
You don’t need luck.
We are often told that we are lucky to live the way we do. We do feel lucky in some ways: We are lucky to be native English speakers, because it gives us employment opportunities basically anywhere in the world. We are lucky to have met each other, because we both want the same things from life and we push each other forward instead of holding each other back.
The choice is yours. Keep going straight.
But a lot of it is choice, not luck. We know what we want, and we chose the right path to get it. If it’s also what you want, waiting for a stroke of “luck” is not the way. It’s time to act! And we’d love to help. Not sure where to begin? Let us know your situation, and we’ll offer any pointers we can.