This question is so hard. It’s so hard because I try to do the “right” thing, the “responsible” thing, the mulled upon for hours thing. But does it make me happy?
I feel early on life, if you’re lucky. You’re encouraged to travel and see the world – but just for fun. Don’t think this is something you can do regularly. It’s a nice treat and look forward to it once or twice a year.
At first, I never even thought of travel as an option (see why I think black women need to travel here). Then I saw the light and made a promise to go two new places each year to myself (I have been keeping true to this). Now, I’m at a crossroads because I want to do more than just those two trips. I want more. I want to see more countries and I want to be an expat (a whole other story). But how do I earn a living? This isn’t typical behavior. They don’t teach or encourage you to follow the road untaken at school. This goes against every fiber of my being as a girl who grew up poor. But I want my dreams to be reality so bad and I think I should be able to realize them.
To be as cliche as a card from Between The Lines (the cutest paper store in southeast London), you need to believe in yourself. You need to know that you can and you will – no matter what others say or think but it does require you to be a bit smarter. You need to plan, research and maneuver to get what you want because luck doesn’t always happen when you’re sitting still.
So where do you start? I’m no one to give advice because I’m currently blubbering over a plane decision but I do have perspective. I’m using this to help me move pass the teary stage on to the doing one. Let me know if this offers any help for those looking to travel the world on a more consistent basis.
- Save. Save. Save! If you haven’t been already, you should definitely be saving. This will serve as a great jump start if you are slow to find freelance work or one off legal gigs that will offer you some income while you travel. Use an app like Mint to get you in that mode or Bank of America has a budget wheel so you can see how your money is being spent. My greatest accomplishment for my travels has been my ability to save.
- BUDGET CAUSE YOU AINT DRAKE. Yes, budget. When you are ready to travel, think about how much you may need to spend and the length of your trip. How can you save on airfare (look at sites like Skyscanner, Hopper, Hipmunk). For lodging, Airbnb or hostelworld can great. Hostels are just like hotels and you can find amazing deals on these sites. Another way to budget, plan your next destination based on what’s cheapest to fly to. Torn between two places on your bucket list, look at ticket price.
- Ask Yourself If You’ll Be Happy. A silly step but happiness is key. Don’t just travel the world because it’s a trend. Do it because you want it. You’ll find it will make traveling a lot simpler.
- Look For Remote or Freelance Gigs. Earning income is part of life (unless you’re lucky enough to be a royal, or is that unlucky), so looking for work that let’s you fulfill your travel desires is essential. Try looking on remote work job sites or even reaching out to brands you admire or to people in your network. It doesn’t hurt to ask and at least you know you tried everything in your power.
- Find A Support Network. Another important thing about travel is having someone behind you to support you when things don’t go according to plan or you end up a blubbering mess. Facebook has some great groups you can join to help you connect with others traveling in the same part of the world as you or friendly people willing to help you find a place to stay, share knowledge or offer a job. Just be careful and do your research.
- Don’t Wait! You may think, I haven’t saved enough or now isn’t the right time but you won’t ever have a true right time. If you know how your heart is leading you, just go for it. You will feel better knowing you did.
- Remember That You Are Not The Star of A Movie. This one is just for groundedness. Your travels around the world may not all be a fairytale adventure but that’s ok. You may hate a destination that was a dream to visit, that’s ok. Knowing that will make your travels easier.
So that’s what I think. It’s easier said than done sometimes and I have my own travel desires (see the world mixed with expat dreams) but I have to remember that there’s no time like the present. Take my own advice! lol
Are any of you struggling with these kinds of travel dreams? Why? Let me know!