So you’ve been drooling over video’s, articles books of people going on big adventures and in the back of your mind lies the though “one day I will go out there and explore myself”, yet somehow that thought scares you too because there is so much you don’t know that you don’t feel ready. Today, I will try and convince you to no longer dream, but decide to start planning and pick a leaving date.
1. Life is too short
There are so many things that are uncertain in life, but one thing isn’t. We are all going to die and there have been studies on what people say on their deathbeds. I can assure you, nobody said “I wish I worked more”. There is always more time to work, earn more money but as life drags on you will get older until you are ready to retire. In your mind you might think that that will be the perfect time to leave. And maybe it is, but how far away is that for you? 5 years? 10? Or as it was for me, at least 40 more years to go. And who can guarantee that you will make it that far… Nobody! So don’t let the, I don’t have time, be an excuse, make time!
2. What about the money?
What about it? If you think that all those adventurers out there are spoiled rich kids or old retirees you are wrong. Every single person I met on the road worked hard and payed for their trip euro by euro, dollar by dollar. How much money do you spend at home, per day? Do you know this number? Maybe how much you spend per month? On average people spend around €25 / $30 per day on the road. Most of the times, living on the road is actually cheaper than at home. Especially if you leave Northern America, Europe and Australia behind and explore the other continents.
So start making a budget and at the same time start saving. Go through your monthly expenses and ask yourself if you really need to buy that coffee at the office every day or if you can bring your own to work. Do you really need a Netflix, Hulu or Spotify account? Do you eat out a lot or make your own food? Do you shop at that expensive grocery store around the corner and could you not change and save some there. There are so many ways to reduce your spending but in general I can say I save the most by not going out for food or drinks and not drinking any alcohol.
3. What to do with my family?
You have two options here, take them with you or leave them behind. Bringing young children on an adventure of a lifetime will without a doubt enrich their lives and educate them in ways that are impossible at home. There are plenty of examples on the road and they will tell you the secrets of family travel.
If for some reason you don’t want to or cannot take them with you, you can always go alone. It doesn’t have to be a four year epic. A three month journey will fill your desire of exploration and adventure just as much and you come back home with new energy that you can give back to your family as a reward.
4. I don’t want to lose my job
We are living in the 21st century, assuming you are living in Europa, America or Australia things have changed. People don’t spend all their careers at the same company anymore. The average time we spend at an employer is only 5 years so this might be just the perfect opportunity to take a break and learn more about the world and yourself.
Considering that our lives will change dramatically within the next few years it is even an advantage to learn how to adapt and find new job opportunities for yourself.
Anyone who thinks that such an adventure is a waste of time, I can promise you that this will teach you things that you would have otherwise never learnt. How to trust yourself, how to solve problems in an environment without any social infrastructure, how to connect with all kinds of people, how to be patient… the list goes on.
Don’t worry about the ‘gap’ in your cv either, just write about it and explain what you have learned. It is a great conversation starter anyway.
5. What if I get a flat tire?
What ifs, the great question that everyone wonders about. Well, it might happen. If you don’t have any mechanical skills, this is a great time to learn. Youtube will teach you everything you need to know. The first time you loosen a bolt on your vehicle will be scary, but the more often you do it, the more confidence you will gain. Trust me, it will get easier. And with that mindset, ready to learn new things. Ready to be creative and think of solutions you will get to where you wanted to go.
Take your time to prepare
You can decide now, that this is no longer going to be a dream but that you are going to make this a reality. Maybe not tomorrow, but next year. It took me two years to save and plan my first adventure and for the second one we did it in one. But it doesn’t matter how close or far your departure date is. As long as every day you are getting a little bit closer. Not spending that €1 on a cookie that is not really healthy for you anyway can go straight into the piggy bank. Think about what stories you want to tell your grandchildren and what you want to say on your deathbed. Will it be: I wish I would have traveled more?