Ok, people are quite simple and don’t need a lot of things to feel good, about self, a place, pretty much everything. My friends always ask me where will I go next, and how do I do it. I make it work because it’s my focus and what I want the most. But even people around me still have some misconceptions about travelling.
The questions are always the same, I always try to answer them with personal examples, because I don’t have a general plan that works every time.
Each one of my travels is unique, I meet different people, the place is different, I have different expectations. But is important to keep in mind that most things that can happen while travelling, don’t depend on oneself.
That being said, it’s hard to find a general set of rules to apply when travelling. Try it out, and get the best out of it. These are the most common misconceptions about travelling I heard.
1. It’s expensive
It can be. But not a must. It’s the way you make it, and we all have different lifestyles. I divide everything into two big categories: Things I want and get me closer to achieve my goal, and things that don’t. (I also include people in here)
I noticed most of the budget gets spent on transportation and accommodation. There are ways to make is suitable for any budget, and I’ve talked before about how some tips I use to save money and how to plan your travel by yourself.
Travelling is not about staying at 5-star hotels and eating at restaurants and doing all the touristic things in one place. It can be, but it’s called luxury travel and you wouldn’t be reading this if you were able to do that.
I guess people get this idea (travelling is an expensive thing to do) because social media shows it like that. People brag about it everywhere, Instagram is full of people showing off their expensive crap, yacht parties, and plastic chicks.
Friendly reminder: That’s not how life looks like!!! Wake up, go outside and walk more, look around you, watch less TV, stop following idiots on Instagram, stop stalking people on Facebook. (My simple recipe for happiness)
2. I don’t have time
Of course, you do! We all have the same time. The day has 24 hours, and it’s up to you to use it and make the most out of it.
We all have a personal way of doing stuff, and that’s ok. I noticed I really hate rushing through a city, museum, or hanging out with people who rush me. So I decide to not do that! The moment I stopped being a coward and admitted to myself I need more time than others to do certain things was pretty awesome.
“I don’t have enough holidays” you might be thinking now, and yes a lot of people don’t. Because you spend it on that resort in Greece and did nothing for 7 days. By the way, travelling is exploring, not going to the spa every day.
Yes, I understand you work 40 hours per week (or more) and have 1 month of holiday per year (so sad), but use your time right! Plan a little, set a goal of what is it you want to see and explore. Be smart about it.
The equation I’m always trying to solve is how to combine time, money, comfort, value. What gives me the most value, with a limited budget, while maximising the comfort and making the most out of my time?! My answer might not suit you. Sorry.
3. I have a full-time job
I didn’t say you should travel full-time, or for 2 months straight if you don’t have that time. Start small, and then go bigger.
Get out of your comfort zone, one step at a time. Use weekends to explore surrounding areas, cities and neighbouring countries. (Yes there is a downside if you live on an island).
Again, plan for it, have priorities. Make a bucket list. Lists always work.
4. I’ll get homesick
How old are you, five?
It’s hard for me to admit, but all travels have an end! Yes, it will come that day, when you will have to board a plane to go home. It’s going to happen either way, so there is no need to crave for it.
You will be missing the whole point of travelling, which is stepping out of you comfort zone, self-discovery and exploring. What you need is to get inspired and motivated. That will keep you going. And keep in mind that most people always regret the things they didn’t do.
I decided to never regret anything. If I want something I ask for it. If I like someone, I tell them. If I get homesick I’ll use Skype and write on my blog. (That’s what works for me)
You know that saying “Staying in just one place all your life, it’s like reading one page from a book”?! That sounds just awful to me.
5. I don’t know what to pack
Yourself, and keeping your expectation low will help. The benefits of travelling are so big, this makes me laugh. It’s like you are trying to come up with excuses on purpose.
I don’t bother answering to stupid excuses, it’s just not worth the time. But once and for all: All you need to survive is yourself and (optional) your clothes you have on right now.
Ok, read some more about packing fast here (I like taking spontaneous decisions when it comes to travelling). And some thoughts to keep in mind before a long trip or when moving aboard here.
6. I don’t have anyone to go with
Just perfect! Travelling solo is one of the best things ever!!! I mean it, and I support this so bad, I believe it should be a discipline in school.
The thing it frustrates me the most is that I’ve wasted so many years of my life now knowing this! People, please do wake up, read real people’s confessions about travelling alone and do it at least once in your life. I owe my life to this accidental decision and I love it!
All great ideas which surround me every day came from people no smarter than me, who decided to travel alone! Travelling alone for the first time is a scary thought, but so is dying without realising who you are!
The most liberating moment in my life was when I realised I don’t need anyone else to be happy! I need myself!
7. Travelling alone is dangerous
So is walking on the street in your hometown. My mum is always nagging me about being careful, to not do this, not do that! Being scared all the time won’t help if something bad happens.
As I said before, there are only so many things in my power to control. Worrying about what might happen, will not stop things from happening. Nor will it help.
I’ll tell you what worrying does: It drives you crazy, draining your energy and wasting your time. Is it worth it? NO.
Here is my simple logic to deal with this:
Can I change it? If yes, then do it. If no, then why worry?
Use common sense, don’t do stupid stuff you wouldn’t do in your country, intuitions usually wants to keep you alive, so listen to that.
8. I cannot keep my diet while travelling
Only if you choose not to! Everything I do, from the moment I open my eyes in the morning, is a decision!
I am a vegan (it’s easier to put it like this) and I will have to contradict that belief that you cannot eat I-don’t-know-how while travelling. I will just put this excuse right next to the “I don’t have time” and “It’s expensive”.
Once again, your mind is trying to talk you out of it, because stepping out of the comfort zone would lead to going off auto-pilot. Yes, I do have to use my brain, be inventive and aware about the things happening around me while travelling.
9. I need to improve my English!
Life is one long ongoing learning process. If you made it this far, your English is more than sufficient to go anywhere on this planet.
A friend of mine told me how terrified she was to travel aboard because she thought her level of English is not good enough. Then she went to England with some friends and realised most tourists are even worse. The point is she was talking shit to herself, saying stuff like “I’m not good enough, I will not be able to manage it”.
After she got back from England, she realised she was the only one pulling her back. Not only she managed to communicate, she is pretty good at it.
Most travellers are not native English speakers, but practice makes perfect, and the most practice you can get is while travelling. I’m not a native speaker. (As you can probably tell 😀 🙂
I’ve met a lot of people from all over the world and we use English to communicate. It’s not always perfect, but we understand each other and that’s the purpose!
Some people get nervous around native speakers. (I used to) What native speakers told me is that they really appreciate it how we (non-native speakers) made the effort to learn English. Some of them were saying they feel bad because they only speak one language (English).
I’m not telling myself my English is not good, I’m actually proud I’m fluent in more than one language! Yay for me!
10. I have to go abroad to travel
You may, but visiting another city in your country is called travelling as well. And then you cannot complain about your English level, being a different culture, travelling for too long (assuming you don’t live in Russia or some continent-size country).
As I said before, start small. Go someplace new for the weekend. Experiment travelling alone for 1 day. Take the train and leave your comfort zone your car provides you. Nobody made any progress by doing the things the same way as everyone else.
I noticed how some things are different even in different cities in the same country. I don’t need to go on the other side of the globe to see something new. I can take a train to do that.
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