Have you ever wanted to just pack up and go to a different country? Quit your job, leave behind your responsibilites and experience something new? Most everyone has fantasized with this idea, but how come so few actually go through with it? Here are some common excuses as to why people don’t travel and my rebuttle for why they should.
I don’t have enough money…
This is probably the most common excuse for not adventuring. For many people their first experiences abroad are family trips to Europe or Mexico staying in resorts and eating nice dinners. Because of this we have a preconception that going abroad is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Choose a destination where your dollar can go along way like Central America or Southeast Asia. Hostel dorm beds go for less than $10 per night and meals for only a few dollars. If slumming it isn’t your thing why not try and work during your time abroad to prolong the experience. Simply being a native speaker of English provides you with an opportunity to educate locals for money all over the world. You can work during the week and explore the country during weekends.
Perhaps temporarily, but when it comes down to it most careers last 30-40 years, so what difference does it really make if you get started a few years ahead or behind. Those who dive into careers early will probably retire younger, but would you rather have these carefree years in your 20s or 60s? Who knows what your health will be like then? In addition, jobs are looking for “experience” above all else when hiring a new employee. If having the confidence to put your mind, body and soul to the test trying to survive in a culture completely different to your own is not “experience” than I don’t know what is!
I’m waiting until I make more money to travel…
Don’t wait too long, because the more money we acquire the more responsibilities we inherit. With every purchase we make we become a little more tied down to a place. Before you know it you will own a house, have a spouse, kids and cutting loose for an adventure will be more difficult than you thought. Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up, there’s plenty of time to be a responsible, hard-working adult, but the years of little responsibility are few and fleeting.
I don’t have anyone to go with…
If this is your problem then you are not alone, there are millions of people all over the world in the same situation as you, so just get out there and you will find them. The easiest place to meet them is to stay in hostel dorms. Here you are forced to sleep in a room with 6-12 other young travelers and I can almost guarantee that at least one of them is in the same situation as you and looking for companionship. Utilize websites such as http://www.couchsurfing.org/ where you can set up a coffee date or even stay on the couch of a local in the area you are visiting. What’s great about solo traveling is that you force yourself into situations where you must be social. If you were traveling with a friend you wouldn’t necessarily NEED to meet anyone else, but spend a few days on the road without talking to anyone and you better believe a new air of confidence will allow you to approach everyone you see that speaks your language!
Is it really worth leaving all my friends and family to go be alone in some strange new world?
YES!! Since we were children our parents and mentors have always been telling us that testing the limits of our comfort zone is a positive thing. We learn and experience new things that develop us as human beings and expand our reality of what is possible. Why should this stop as a child? There’s a quote from St. Augustine that says “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” It’s so easy in this world to get trapped into a routine because we are comfortable. The pay is good, work becomes somewhat automatic and the days just start to go by. We may be learning a great deal in our area of expertise and about where we live, but think about how much else is out there? Traveling allows you to understand the values, habits and activities that occupy people of a completely different culture than our own. No matter how many documentaries you watch, books you read or people you talk to there is absolutely no substitute for the real thing. Get out there and experience the world for yourself, you will not regret it!!