Sometimes when I talk to people about traveling for long periods of time to distant places, many tend to say something like “I would really like to do it sometime but for that I’ll need to quit my job” or “It sounds great, but will I be able to do that? ” or “What if something happens to me abroad? ” etc…
I can summarize all these arguments into one: “Traveling is my dream! But…”
And all the “buts” can be summarized by “I am scared. What if… ” followed by different scenarios.
So how can a person overcome all those fears and set off for real traveling? Here are basic steps that will help you.
1. Stop and think whether traveling is what you really want to do. Think if it really excites you to see new places, meet new and very different people, try to talk in language you never heard before. Finding your way in various unexpected situations that you may encounter during your travel.
If the answer to this question is “Yes!” then proceed to the next step.
2. Decide on specific places that you want to visit. Write them down. It must not be a whole list of all the places in the world that you would like to see sometime. It should be a list of two-three-four (but not much more) places that you would like to visit the most. It can be one specific country that you always wanted to explore or two adjacent countries. Basically it can be any scenario you want, but keep it doable.
3. Plan how much time you want to spend at each location. The important thing at this point is to give yourself enough time. Plan big. It is easier in many aspects to shorten your travel than to extend it. When thinking about the duration of your travel forget about other circumstances and obstacles, and just think about this specific question. After deciding on the duration of your travel, write down next to each one of destinations you wrote in section 2 the exact amount of time you desire to spend.
4. Next give yourself some time, a couple of days, or maybe a week to get used to the idea that soon you will leave everything and devote yourself to realizing your dream. Think of this journey as of something that is already decided. Imagine yourself getting on the plane and then landing at your first destination. Remember that such traveling is one of the things that are worth living for! (You answered “Yes!” to the step number one, didn’t you?)
5. Set an actual date for the beginning of your trip. Be realistic here, and don’t set it for the next day, but also the date should be close enough. In my opinion no later than half a year from now. You still need the time to prepare for the trip: Decide what type of accommodation you want to stay in for the first leg of your trip. Do you want added luxury in a time share resort, or would you prefer to be a little more rustic and stay in a hostel or campground? You will also need to buy tickets, equipment, leave your job… about leaving your job read in the next step.
Don’t skip the steps! Next step should be done only after all previous five were successfully completed!
6. Now we get to the most frightening part – leaving your job (if you don’t have a job – this step is not for you). Think about yourself, your professional and personal qualities. Would it be difficult for you to find another job after you get back? From my experience, and experience of many people I know who are traveling a lot, people tend to be afraid too much to loose their jobs. Surprisingly in most of the cases the job that you find after getting back is much better in many ways than your previous one.
There are several explanations to this fact: First of all while working at your previous job you learn about yourself: what you like about it and what you don’t like, so when you will be looking for a new job, you will take this experience into consideration. Another reason is that during your travel you, as a person, have changed (this change is inevitable as traveling teaches you many things about yourself, life, people, and human nature), and as a changed person you possess more value in you. During travel you may discover new thing about yourself, such as what you would really like to work at.
These are just an examples, and actually there are more reasons to it, so the bottom line here is leaving a job is not as “bad” as you think, so you shouldn’t be afraid of it (unless you use it as an excuse, and here we don’t accept any excuses – it is your DREAM we are talking about, remember?).
7. Look where we are now:
- You know for sure that traveling is your dream.
- You have a definite plan for your trip – written destinations and duration.
- You have the real date on which you take off, and you quit (or gave notice to your boss) your job.
Now you have no choice but to travel. The main part of the preparations, which is mental, is behind you. Now you have to complete the physical preparations for the trip, and it is just a matter of time. There are a lot of useful tips on the internet about how to prepare for traveling, what to take etc. Use them.
8. Take off already! I don’t understand why you are still reading this article, unless you are doing it on the airplane flying towards your biggest dreams!