Many people dream of the day they can travel the world and experience what it has to offer. There are endless destinations, new friends to meet and foreign cultures to learn and understand. But this isn’t the world we live in – deciding to travel the world is a decision to leave everything behind. We have responsibilities, family, a home and a job that doesn’t allow for a long trip for 6 months, 1 year or even 4 weeks off. So for the most of us, long-term travel is just a dream and we settle with just two or three weeks. The dream slowly fades away as our 9-5 jobs take a stronger hold on us and we soon forget that we want to travel the world.
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Too Many Logistics and Too Much Uncertainty
When you start to think about taking a long trip, traveling the world, taking a career break or any type of long-term travel, it can easily become overwhelming to think about leaving everything behind. There’s a lot that goes into changing your life from the known to the unknown. Right now, your life is made up of easy to follow daily routines. Everything happens day to day without much thought because its the schedule we follow everyday and every week. So to think of leaving your home, leaving your job and leaving your comfort zone hits you with a hundred questions on HOW. How can I travel the world? How can I leave my job? Where do I go? When and for how long? How can I leave everything behind to travel? If you dig a little further and get into the logistics, then boom, your brain shuts down and says it isn’t possible.
We Didn’t Go To School For This
It’s OK to not know where to start or how. We’re good at our jobs because we’ve practiced and prepared for it for so many years. But we don’t know the first thing about round the world (RTW) or long-term traveling – its definitely something they don’t teach you in school or at the work place.
Deciding to Travel – So How Do You Make The Decision
Deciding to travel is a mindset and a belief system. It’s not easy to quit your job and just go. We’re not born vagabonders. You have to learn to believe in it. Have a purpose for it. One of my first inspiration in deciding to travel long-term and travel the world came from Tim Ferriss’ book The Four Hour Work Week. He completely shifted my perspective on life and retirement.
Deferring Life To Later – Change The Mindset
In The Four Hour Work Week, Tim shows the redundancy of our 9-5 work schedules and encourages you to create more time to pursue the things you actually want out of life – traveling, learning new languages or picking up a new talent. The biggest eye opener for me was his outlook on retirement. We work all of our youthful lives to that “someday” we’re too old to work and need retirement savings to survive. But will we be able to enjoy our lives at this point? Will we be healthy enough to do the things we always wanted to do? Will I be able to travel the world when I’m in my 60s? 70s? We don’t know. So we’re deferring our lives to a future point of retirement without making our current life more meaningful and enjoyable now.
My Life Deferral Plan
It was pretty sad to reflect back on my life and realize that everything I’ve done was geared towards getting a good job. All of the lectures, studying and exams it took to get through college and graduate school. All the years of working late nights and 90-hour work weeks I worked on end to move up the corporate latter. The time, the commitment, the relationships and network I’ve built over the years, all geared towards my professional careers. Not much time for myself at all. Then once you have that great career, the rest of our future years are to work endlessly towards the one day you’re able to retire. Is that when we get to enjoy our life?
Tim introduced an interesting concept of Mini-Retirements in his book. Instead of deferring our lives to when we’re old, and instead of taking the one or two weeks crammed-packed vacations, why not plan to enjoy our lives now by taking mini-retirements in-between? It’s not taking a permanent break from work like we picture our ultimate retirement. It’s time to break now, free from corporate America, move and live to another part of the world for a while and retire while we’re young. It made my dream to travel the world possible.
Benefits Of A Career Break, Life Sabbatical and Long-Term Travel
There are many benefits of taking a mid-career break aka mini-retirements. A year of traveling the world, or however long you decide, will expose you to a lot of different perspectives, different cultures and a different way to problem solving. You’ll face different challenges and gain skills of independence, negotiation and improvisation, to name a few. With language barriers most likely in play, you’ll actually learn to communicate better by reading body language, learning to actively listening and understand others perceptive and needs. Most importantly, it’ll give you the break you need to re-examine what’s important in your life and renew your life’s commitments.
Deciding to Travel Long-Term to Travel The World
So the first step you have to take to travel for a year or 6 months or any long-term period is to make the decision. It’s a big life decision and much scarier than getting married or buying a house. You have to consider if this something you really want to do. Do you want to travel the world? Why do you want to do it? Why is it meaningful to you? Deciding to travel long-term isn’t about all the things that are holding you back – there will always be plenty of those – but its about figuring out your values and discovering if this is something that is meaningful to you. After the decision and commitment is made, nothing is going to make you waiver. Then you can begin with the logistics and planning how to travel the world.