Want to Travel More? Internalize This Simple Habit

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I like to have conversations about traveling. This topic gives me great insights into some else’s personality, their viewpoint, and daily struggles (pains). Throughout the years, I was able to discover certain patterns from the discussions. These patterns may classify the set of people into several groups:

  • Adventurers. Wherever they go, it is always fun to be around them. They have unique stories and are not afraid of taking risks. You won’t hear lame excuses from them. Typically, they are very energized and exciting people. Their life is one big adventure. I would say it’s a very small group of people; perhaps, less than 1% of all the travelers I met.
  • Travelers. Nice people to be around. They’ve been to many countries and often travel for months or years. They appear as more normal than adventurers and have more self-preservation instincts. They have some interesting stories, yet the discussions in hostels are almost always the same: generic travel-related stuff. You can meet quite a few travelers.
  • Business travelers. They travel, because it’s part of their job. They are well-traveled, but do not interact with other travelers. I have never heard crazy stories from these people. My guess is that their travels are as exciting as their jobs. It’s a pretty big group of people.
  • Tourists (i.e., occasional travelers). They typically travel once a year, and, unnecessarily, spend a lot of money. Tourist destinations is where they head to and where they take pictures that you can later see on Facebook. Due to lack of experience, they are not very open to other people. Often, they are scared of the world and prefer to hang out with their travel-buddies. They would love to travel more, but they think they cannot. This is a huge group of people.
  • Non-travelers. They don’t travel, either because they feel no desire or they think they cannot. As visiting domestic spots (for pleasure) counts as traveling, this is a very small group.

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Where do you think you fit into? Where would you like to find yourself? Let me focus on tourists here. It’s always the same story:

tourist: I want to travel, but I cannot, because of X, Y, Z.

where X = work/school, Y = I have no money, Z = I’m afraid of traveling alone.

In our previous posts, we already addressed these issues. If you constantly rely on these excuses, then there is something messed up with your priorities. Maybe it’s time to fix them? I cannot do the hard work for you, but I suggest one inspirational habit: dream more. This is how it goes:

  1. Check out the world map. Feel free to use maps available online, on your smartphone, tablet, or put a huge map on the wall in your room.
  2. Pick one destination. If you could go anywhere, right now, where would you go? What is it that you’d love to experience at that destination?
  3. Search. Search for images and videos (e.g., on YouTube) from the destination.
  4. Read. Go to Wikipedia and Wikitravel to read about the destination and the local culture.
  5. Get yourself pumped up. Think about all the cool activities that you could be doing there.
  6. Stop dreaming and make it happen. Make a strong commitment to save money for your travel. Save 10% of your budget every month. It won’t hurt your budget too much, yet you’ll be able to travel to most destinations in the world (Antarctica may be more expensive, but there are other ways to get there!).

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Is dreaming a strong-enough motivator for you? It worked for me. For example. As a PhD student I had to live on a student budget for four years. Sure, I could have got a car, a better apartment, an expensive bike, or any other thing, like some of my peers. I decided not to. Instead, I spent all my savings on traveling. To me, it’s not a numbers game, but numbers talk to people: I was able to visit almost 30 countries on 3 continents, and 15 provinces/states in North America. Some of my friends are better-travelled. None of them is a millionaire, but they do have dreams and a list of places that they want (and will) visit. Why don’t you make one?