“I Wish I Could Travel Like That.” Then Do It. Here’s How.

All-American Access

I’m always amazed by most Americans’ view of travel. Like it’s so “exotic” or something special or something everybody can’t do.

Me, on a beach somewhere "exotic" like the UK

Me, on a beach somewhere “exotic” like the UK

But, that’s completely false.

If you’re American, you can travel.

All you really need to do is get your passport.

Personally, I feel like as an American, we are blessed to be able to travel. That USA passport is equal to visa-free access 166 countries in the world.  Why the hell would I not take advantage of that?

Yet, I see it all the time: “I wish I could travel like that.” I see comments like this on my stuff, all over Maneesh’s blog anytime he goes somewhere, all over Benny’s posts all the time. It seems to be a common thought.

But, I think to a large extent – it’s just not true. You don’t really wish you could “travel like that.” Not with any real desire anyway. Because, if you did, you would do it.

Listen to Nike

Listen to Nike

No. Instead, you probably just like the “idea” of travel. It sounds a bit fancy. Travel. New countries. Exotic locations. Foreign cultures.

So, special…. but, also, so.. not special.

I don’t know why most Americans don’t have a passport, or even bother to get one. But, I was that way once too. I didn’t get my first passport until I had already graduated college – and then I got it, and looked at it and thought, “This thing is valid for 10 years. I’m definitely taking advantage of that!”

And, so I did. Or I guess you could say I do.

In the past year, I’ve been in 10 different countries. 6 of them you could say I “lived” in. The others were just short trips.

And, I’m not sure I’m going to stop anytime soon.

Frankly, I don’t even know where home is anymore. In the US, I’ve lived in 3 different cities: Houston, Austin, and Boston. Yet, Singapore, Tokyo, and Taipei seem just as much as “home” to me as any of those cities do. It’s an interesting conundrum I suppose. I have little pockets of home around the world… but no real “home” to speak of.

Maybe I have no heart

Maybe I have no heart

But, anyway – back to why most people don’t really travel.

They don’t really want to.

Because if they did, they would.

Why do people not travel?

“But, I don’t have the money”

Well, most would say it’s because of money. But I’m not really buying that argument. And, if you’ve ever actually travelled and stayed in a youth hostel you’d know why… plenty of travelers do not have money. At least from what I can tell. I’ve met tons of travelers who essentially travel just to travel. Who eat Ramen noodles, or an equivalent of it, everyday for lunch in the hostel’s kitchen. I’ve met tons of broke travelers. I’m quite certain my non-travelling friends in America have more money than these traveler types. Even the non-travelers who think they’re broke.

So, clearly  they don’t really want it. Or they’d do it.

Travelling is not that expensive, especially these days now that the internet exists. You can book hostels or apartments on AirBnB for fairly cheap – hell, you can even CouchSurf and find free accommodation. With the advent of budget airlines and aggregate sites, flights are cheap. And, in most countries the cost of living is lower than that of the US.

So, it’s really not money holding you back. Money is not stopping anybody from travelling. At least not any Americans. You live in the richest country in the world. Even when you feel broke, even when you’re unemployed, you still have more money than 80% of the people on the Earth. Naw, money is not stopping you from traveling. At all.

Money is just an excuse. But, it’s a common one.

But, the real “players” in life, don’t let money stop them. From anything in fact. Just ask James Altucher, who once said of buying a company: “We had no money to buy anybody but if you ever let that slow you down you might as well run around naked in a football stadium with 60,000 people watching you.”

Yeah. Money is just an excuse.

Excuses, Excuses

But, there may be some real reasons why people don’t travel when they “wish they could travel like that”. And those reasons probably come in the form of real life obligations:

Work obligations – you have a job. Places you actually have to be at certain times on certain days. You can’t just get up and leave. And, I’m assuming you want to keep your job. (Otherwise, you could get up and leave – I once walked out at lunch on a job I didn’t like and never came back).

Family obligations – I’m assuming this means you have kids. Yeah, I could see how kids could get in the way of doing things you would like to do. I don’t have that problem, so I don’t really relate to you, but I get it – your responsibility to your kids and their schedule is important.

Those are probably the two biggest obligations that could serve as reasons for not travelling. School is one too I suppose – but school is a bit more flexible: you usually have scheduled breaks, you actually could miss a couple of days and not get fired, and a lot of times you could just study abroad. So, school provides options for travelling. Any other obligations you might have would probably fall fairly similar to work as: “Places you actually have to be at certain times on certain days. You can’t just get up and leave.”

Obligations do make things more complicated, I’ll give you that. But, you could likely still travel if you really wanted to. I’m sure you’re smart enough to figure out how to travel and handle your obligations during the trip. I mean, anything is possible, and I’m sure there’s people in your situation who have done it before.

Naw, you really just don’t travel, because you don’t really want to.

Otherwise you would do it.

Money never stopped anybody.

The World is Yours

The World is Yours

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5 thoughts on ““I Wish I Could Travel Like That.” Then Do It. Here’s How.

  1. I feel like I’m always telling people the same thing. Not only in relation to travel, but to many other aspects of life.

    Who we are and what we do come from the decisions we choose to make. If we really wanted to travel we would. If we really wanted to lose weight we would do that too.

    Avoiding doing something is still a conscious decision. Thinking is not doing. haha

    Good post!

  2. I don’t have kids. I have shit tons of vacation time. I have enough money. My excuse? Fear. It’s hard to admit that, but it’s true. My friends don’t want to go to half of the places I do, and there’s so many on my bucket list. But I don’t want to go alone! I’m afraid to. Using my cell phone’s GPS this past week in Florida helped me to feel a lot less stressed out, as I was born without a compass and I get so easily turned around and can’t remember how to get back.

    I fear getting into a situation I can’t get myself out of. Being a woman, that can be many things that I don’t need to expand on. You get the picture. I am working on it, though. I’m trying to get past that. I have a plan to try and venture out to places I’ve been before, to try it out. Build my confidence. Go from there.

    I don’t even care so much about leaving the country again, there’s tons I haven’t even seen or done here. California, Seattle, Alaska, Arizona… to name a few. I want to get back to Boston, where I left my heart. I love those people. I want to visit Florida again, I just left, but I could have moved there.

    So yea. There’s that….

    1. Trust me, I hear you. Doing things with friends makes almost anything easier. (I should probably talk abou this more on the blog.)

      But, yeah, sometimes it can also be immensely difficult to get your current circle of friends on board with whatever new things you want to do. Sometimes you just need to make new friends.

  3. I’m one of those people that always wanted to see how other people live in other countries, see the sun shine in the sky in like the Caribbean or some other place like that. Growing up, my family and I used to travel from Iowa to Oklahoma every summer 18 hours in a station wagon. One of my concerns is being a single female traveling alone and being safe. My other hang up is money. I live in Maryland and work in Washington, DC. I make about $570 a week. After taxes and a wage Garnishment due to student loans, I’m left with about $365. Out of that I spend $319 a week on a room I am paying for, transportation to work and my cell phone. This is doesn’t even include the cost of food, which sometimes I go without. I am basically left with about $42 to take me to the next pay period. Basically, all I can do is dream about traveling.

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