So you’ve been thinking about the ‘T’ word for some time now. Maybe you’ve even been talking about doing the ‘T’ word.
Perhaps things aren’t going your way and you’re looking for a change. Perhaps things are completely going your way and you’re worried that if you don’t make your travel dreams a reality now, your happy and blissful self will get married and have that baby and get that promotion and buy that house and you’ll be out of time. Maybe you’ve done all that and retirement has graced it lovely self upon you.
Even if travelling is not on your achieving-your-dreams itinerary, it can help you do some sorting out along the way, and maybe is something you should consider. Here are some pointers to help you book that flight and be on your way:
1. Make the decision to go and actually GO.
The Lonely Planet and their publications will become of biblical importance to you. Live by the following philosophy: ‘All you’ve got to do is decide to go and the hardest part is over. So go!’
2. Money is not a restriction
Whether you can’t afford that flight, or your job is paying you so much money it’s hard to quit – if you really want to go, go. If you have to, take that rubbish job and save as much as you can. If that really depresses you, save enough for a flight to Australia, a Working Holiday visa and work whilst you travel there – there are more jobs than there are Aussies, the minimum wage is $21p/hour and you will have more than enough to comfortably live and travel on afterwards.
3. You can travel however you want
There are millions of travellers – and there are millions of ways to travel. You can do whatever you want, however you want – you just have to help yourself and make it happen. You don’t have to follow your guidebook’s recommendations, neither do you have to do what exactly what your travel peers do. Your journey will be unique and will give you invaluable experiences, so craft your itinerary to make sure you get the most out of it.
4. You will learn invaluable life lessons
This might sound like an obvious one, but it is very important and will alter your perspective significantly. Whether you gain an awareness of how lucky (or unfortunate) you are to be the nationality you are or to be in such good health; your social and political awareness will be heightened and only in good ways.
5. You will find yourself
What a cliché. How can you find yourself? To explain this a bit more clearly, you will work out your boundaries and tolerance levels and often find out that you are capable of more than you ever knew. On long, meandering bus journeys, when your ipad or ipod or iwhatever has long run out of power, you will sit still, alone with your thoughts and think clearly about what you really want, why you want it and how you will make the right progress to make it happen.
6. You will understand the importance of having access to clean water
This is a very important one. And it’s true even if you’re travelling in Westernised countries. Travelling on a long road through the Outback? Going for a long walk up a mountain in Canada? Drinking bottled water in Cambodia and still getting ill because one drop of that batch was contaminated? Drinkable tap water never seemed so luxurious, you will fully understand the absurdity of millions of people in the world being without clean water, thus gaining a deeper understanding of what poverty is and how fortunate you actually are.
7. You will work out which people you want in your life
Other travellers can be irritating, some of them can be great company, you might even see yourself in some of them and love them… or hate them. Do you want the namedropper as your best friend? Do you want the career obsessed one who turns his nose up at you when he hears you work in a bar? Who has actually missed you at home? Depending on how long you are travelling for, your relationships can really be defined and save you from wasting your time on the wrong people and encourage you to focus your efforts on the right people.
8. You will learn the value of money
You may never have thought you would become addicted to the Economist (how much will my US Dollars be worth in the next country, in September?!) or that the cost of a pint on student night is the equivalent to a Laotian’s weekly wage. You will meet people living off $6 a day to $600 a day, both having equally enriching experiences, but in very different ways.
9. You will realise how much you have at home
Or how much you don’t. Usually the former, unless things are really, really bad. You will also understand that you cannot run away from your problems – but you can distinguish them.
10. New dreams will be discovered
And how so? By achieving one of your existing dreams, you have done it already – why can’t you do it again and again? Travelling may be for you; you may catch ‘the bug’, you may get it out of your system. Whether you love it or hate it, whether you spend your trip laughing or crying, whether you travel for two weeks or two years – it will be the best decision you have ever made. Until you decide to make your next dream a reality.
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