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