Excuses are kind of like stuffed animals. They’re warm, fluffy and comforting. But sooner or later you should probably grow up and let them go.
A lot of the time, I find myself in situations where people will be telling me all the reasons they “can’t” travel, although they’d like to. And normally, it’s directed at me like I have some kind of immunity to those same problems. Well, I’m here to shout from the mountain tops that that’s simply not the case! And to prove it – here are, all the reasons I shouldn’t/can’t travel (but do anyway).
1. I’m too young to travel: I’m in my early twenties, and I’ve been traveling since I was 4 years old. At every point in my life, the experience of traveling has been so different! No matter what age you are, the time is now! Don’t wait for endless tomorrow’s.
2. Traveling alone is dangerous: I used to have a professor that said “Don’t be scared, be prepared.” I’m really a huge advocate of preparing for situations that cause you to be nervous. There are dangers to being any place (even your hometown) at any time. Make sure you know how to stay safe ( take a self defense class, carry mace, don’t wear headphones when you’re alone at night) and you’ll be fine.
3. I’m a woman: So. What. I’m sorry to be blunt, but if you’re going to let your gender decide what you’re capable of in life, you’re going to be missing out on a shitload of experiences. Woman or man, you are capable. Strap on some boots and get out there!
4. I have student loans: I do. And they suck. I am one of the masses of higher education drones who went to college and could have probably paid cash for a house instead. Conquering this really just comes down to budgeting. Figure out how much you need to pay each month in order to pay your loans off and still put away some money for traveling. Inch by inch, it’s possible to be responsible AND travel!
5. I have a job: Haha, not true. I have FOUR jobs. And I still make time to travel! It is hard to get time off, but usually if you ask off well in advance, you can get your higher ups to work with you to some extent. One of my jobs is actually to write about traveling and that’s an even better solution! Be creative! Where there’s a will (and a hard worker) there’s a way!
6. My family doesn’t approve: My mother has a panic attack every time I travel. She made me watch “Taken” before I went to India, explicitly telling me that was what would happen to me. She worries because that’s her job as a mom, but when I make up my mind and start working toward something, I know she’ll ultimately support me. Strike out on your own, and find people who will support your dreams and ambitions!
7. I don’t know people where I’m going: Friends are just strangers you’ve already met. Everywhere you go there are tons of new friends to be made! Use websites such as Couchsurfer.net to meet people before you even touch down in the place you’re going!
8. I’m not a millionaire: Be smart with your money and it will reward you. Couchsurf, buy plane tickets last minute or way in advance, grocery shop instead of eating out, travel outside the tourist season. There are so many little ways you can save money. And if you budget to save money beforehand, you’ll find out that traveling is so much more accessible than you ever thought!
9. I look terrible in travel clothes: Ha. Ok, but really. I hate the whole tourist/travel clothes look. I like skinny jeans, not khakis, and I’d rather be dead than caught in one of those canvas wide brim hats. The great thing is: YOU CAN WEAR WHATEVER THE HELL YOU WANT when you travel. I don’t wear traditional travel clothes when I travel. I like looking cute, and a quick trip to REI generally allows me to put together outfits that don’t scream, “I’M A TOURIST!” but still get the job done.
10. I have no organizational skills: I truly believe everyone has an inner OCD diva in them, if they truly care about something. So, CARE. I hate putting together plans before hand, but facing the reality that it’s that, or sleeping in the streets, helps me focus on keeping paperwork organized and my trip running smoothly.
BONUS: I have no reason to travel: Shut up. Seriously. If you are a living, breathing, contributing human being to this planet (which you are) then you have a reason to travel. People who travel are able to interact with the world through a lens of understanding. They gain a better understanding of themselves and their own global impact, and they become a part of a global community that starts to care about issues beyond their front doors. So, get out there! The world awaits, and has some pretty awesome lessons to teach you about yourself!