“Oh and im pretty jealous of all that lifestyle of yours” — I received this message recently via Facebook from an acquaintance that I haven’t talked to in a loooooong time.
The travel lifestyle.
In April 2014 I set out on a journey to “explore” with little thoughts as to where I would go or what I would do. I wasn’t nearly prepared as I wanted to be (mostly in the financial department), but I had an irresistible opportunity to go on tour with my friends band in England/Netherlands for 3.5 weeks. At the time of hearing about this opportunity, I had already taken many steps towards fulfilling my dream of living a “travel lifestyle”. I had moved from California back to Pennsylvania to live with my mom to save money and had sold or donate the majority of my “stuff”. I did a test run of sorts while driving cross country to see if I could “just wing it” and go with the flow – a skill I knew would be crucial to overseas travel. I spent a month in August 2013 exploring the U.S.A., meeting random people, making friends, and finding adventure wherever I could. It was freaking awesome.
Fast forward seven months and here I am sitting in Faro, Portugal surrounded by hostel guests from 5 different countries. I’ve had many incredible travel moments, have seen the most beautiful scenery, met fellow travelers and shared stories, got wickedly tan (then pasty pale again), and tested some “interesting” food and drinks. BUT I’ve also had moments of loneliness, anxiety, and just plain BLAH days. Even though it sometimes feels like I’m on an extended vacation… it is LIFE afterall. The travel life.
So how have I managed to spend 7 months trekking around Europe?
For years I carried the belief that travel was expensive and I had to have a ton of money saved to fulfill my travel dream — It’s not. If you need details read: https://iamatraveloholic.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/i-wish-i-could-travel-but-its-sooooo-expensive-lies-all-lies/ .
Since I was thrust into my travel life before I felt I was “ready” … I had to just do it!! I had to have a bit of faith that I would figure it all out. And I did. I still have some anxious moments… especially when I’m planning my next move and where I’m going/staying. BUT I am here to say that it all does work itself out in the most magical way :-).
My method of travel is to find a place or person to host me and in exchange I stay and eat for free (I use workaway.info). This is how you can get started traveling… or continue traveling for minimum cost. There are pros and cons to using this method….
PROS – keeps costs low, you meet and connect with great people, you have time to explore AND relax, you become a part of the community because you are there for a few weeks
CONS – takes some time and effort to find placements, it’s a slower method of travel (I haven’t been as many places as I thought I would have at this point)
Travel has given me insight into many things that I would have never experienced, considered, or even thought of had I stayed in my comfort zone. I’ve always been one to embrace “the simple things” but travel has taken that to a whole new level. Living out of a small backpack has humbled me in a way that I know will affect the rest of the way I live my life.
Are you considering a travel lifestyle? Here are a few things to consider…
- Do you feel comfortable interacting with a diverse group of people? <– You will meet a TON of people and sometimes be in situations where you don’t have a CLUE what people are discussing. Are you ok with that?
- How do you want to travel? <– You can design any type of travel lifestyle you want. It doesn’t have to be the way someone else does it. My method of travel works for me now at this point in my life but I always joke and say I’ll go back and do the “5-Star Edition” when I’m a millionaire 😉 .
- How will you handle being away from family and friends? Are you comfortable being alone A LOT? <– you will meet awesome people (and share great convos) — BUT you will also have times when you are completely alone. Can you explore a city alone? Check out a local restaurant alone?
- Where do I want to go? <– Since I was starting in Europe I choose to stay around Europe as to not rack up the expenses. Flying around Europe is CHEAP ( use RyanAir). My flight from Ireland to Portugal cost under $40!
Above all, the best piece of advice I can give anyone considering a travel lifestyle is to adopt the belief that you CAN do it. We can all come up with the standard excuses as to why we CAN’T do it (time, money, family). That won’t serve you one bit in fulfilling your dream. Once you have the mindset…. start taking action and get out there!
My only travel regret is not having the belief that I could live the travel life earlier on in my life. I meet teenagers that are trekking all over the place so…hell – if they can do it so can WE!
Looking to start traveling? Check out:
http://www.workaway.info (for volunteer placements all over the world! – $30 for 2 year membership)
www.aupair–world.co.uk/ (if you want to au pair – I found a paying placement in Ireland for 3 months. FREE site)
http://www.couchsurfing.com (free site to get you connected with people – or find a free place to stay!)