A few months ago I made the decision to put all of my belongings in storage and travel around the world. It’s something that I have wanted to do for many years, but I kept putting it off. I noticed that other people tend to push their life goals out too until some ‘future date’ that they think will serve them better.
The interesting thing is that when I told my friends and family about my plans, they were very supportive, but many expressed that they wished they could do the same. When I asked people why they felt they couldn’t pursue their dreams, most notably all of them involved some future date or if/then scenario.
Some of the common objections that people told me when I asked them why they didn’t feel they could do the things they really wanted involved money, time commitments such as a job, family and children and of course, fear. I have had those same excuses, but I when I really thought about how I could live the life I wanted despite the perceived obstacles in my path, answers started to appear.
This was high on almost everyone’s list that I talked to about traveling. People seem to think you must be rich in order to travel. You do if you want to fly first class and stay in five-star hotels.
Truth be told, I am not rich. I don’t have family money, and although I own my own business, I have expenses and don’t consider myself wealthy in a monetary sense. I do pretty well, but not rich.
What I did was come up with ways that I could travel inexpensively and live on the road so that my expenses month to month were relatively similar to what I was spending when I lived in one place. I do a variety of travel-hacking activities, such as searching for cheap flights, using travel rewards points and house-sitting. The other thing to keep in mind about traveling is that many countries are inexpensive to live in, relative to my Canadian currency. You don’t need as much as you think you need to live on.
Whatever your goals are, don’t let a lack of money stand in your way. There are always creative ways to get started today.
I am fortunate that I have a business that allows me to work from anywhere in the world. I only need my laptop and good WiFi to keep things running. However, this wasn’t something that I built overnight – I’ve been working at this for many years to get to this point.
There are many companies that allow you to work from home or remotely now. There are many options available to employees these days, including job sharing, and time off for personal sabbaticals.
So many people are waiting for retirement so they can travel, start a business, or pursue their other goals because they feel they don’t have time. With a full-time career, it’s often challenging, but not impossible to still work towards your goals.
There are many ways to find the time to pursue your other goals. For example, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average person watches TV 2.7 hours per day. That’s an extra almost 20 hours per week, the same as a part-time job. They also cite that household duties take up just over two hours per day. Delegating those tasks will add even more time to live your life the way you want.
My children are grown now, but in hindsight, I wish I had pursued traveling when they were young. My oldest son traveled to Japan and China for a school project and the benefits were immeasurable. I’ve also noticed that my friends that have traveled with their children notice their kids have more confidence, are less fearful when trying new things and are generally more well-rounded. Exposure to other cultures is a great teaching tool.
If you have a position at a multinational company, consider applying for a post overseas. The company will pay for your expenses, and your family will be able to come with you.
Involve your family in your pursuits, whether it is travel, starting a new business or living off the grid. Make it a family adventure.
None of us know how much time we have. In the book by Gary Keller, The One Thing, he tells a story about a woman and her husband that scrimped and saved their whole lives so that they could travel in their retirement. The woman had purchased bundles of fabric to make clothes for traveling, but she sadly passed away the year before she retired. The husband kept all of her fabric, as it represented a dream left unfulfilled.
The thing you need to know is that there is only now. Not “someday”.