01 June 2015
For a lot of people, leaving the comfort of their own little world to travel is a yearned after ambition. It's usually one of those things that gets put on the "To Do List" of your life but is rarely ever ticked off. I'm not saying that you should drop your entire life right at this moment, take whatever you have in your savings account and make that money take you as far as it can. While that idea is enticing all it's own, what I'm really saying is that you need to prioritize your life to suit your needs of travel. Or you'll never leave. Don't get yourself into that cycle of acquiring "things" and "bills", like buying a new car when your POS still runs just fine, or buying a house because paying rent is a waste, or financing a new laptop because you need an upgrade, or holy shit I'm married/pregnant now so my options are now extremely limited. Set a deadline, make a plan and go. Here's a nearly step by step guide on how I'm able to save over 15k to backpack Europe this coming Fall.
If you want to travel, you need to make it happen. It isn't one of those things that will just fall into place for you. I've written extensively on why you should travel (even if people tell you not to) and truly believe that travel is for everyone. But dedication, focus and hard work are not. If you want to travel only you can make it happen. This time last year I made a plan and told myself that I wanted to leave in Fall of 2015 to backpack Europe for a minimum of nine months. Now, I have only four and a half months until the day that I will leave my mundane job, life and routine for a trip that will hopefully ignite the rest of my life.
So, without further adieu - here are my top six reasons why you should travel now, not later.
You're not getting any younger. Not to say that there is any age limit on travel. But I will say this - traveling while you're young and still qualifying for student discounts or the use of youth discount cards (like ISIC) are a huge bonus. Not to mention, you get the best deal on Eurail passes when you're under the age of 26. I would also imagine that it would be a lot easier to connect with other traveler's when you're in your 20's or fresh out of high school, as it seems that the average crowd at youth hostels and the like are 30 and under.
You will never have less responsibility than you do right now. It's the truth. Right at this moment you will never have the opportunity to have less responsibility than you already do. Let me clarify. Maybe right now you have a car payment - and surely when your car is paid off in four years you will have less responsibility, yes? Not necessarily. Where will you be in four or five years? Will you be married? Will you have children? Will you have started a career that you're unable to pull yourself away from? Will you have a mortgage by then? The longer you wait, the more responsibility you will have. Or at least the more likelihood of responsibility. I myself have a car payment right now, but that's not stopping me from leaving in four months. In three months, I will pay off the remaining 2k balance on my car and then turn right around and sell my car. Sure, it's not the best option for someone looking to make the most from their money. When I sell it I will probably only get 2/3rds of what I paid - if I'm lucky. But what will I be getting in return? An additional three to four months of backpacking? Done. Priorities.
It will change you. There is no denying this. Traveling changes you. It makes you look at the world differently. You look at people differently. Imagine the difference in thought processes, ideologies, philosophies, etc between two people. One of these people has never picked up a book, the other person has read nearly every book there is. Who will have the most diverse and exercised mind? Ever heard the phrase 'the world is a book and those who don't travel only read a page?'. Well, there's that quote explained.
By running away, you will find yourself. I know it sounds cliche, but also true. By leaving the mundane 9-5 job, the car payments, the constant cell phone usage and the people you know so well - you will be putting yourself outside of your comfort zone. You will have to fend for yourself, interact with people using avenues other than spoken word. You'll have to think on your feet, sometimes you won't have a plan and sometimes you will have a plan but you'll be forced to deviate from it. It is my personal belief that when you are pushed outside of your normal limits, outside of your comfort zone, that you become who you really are. That you find out what you're made of and what you're truly capable of.
You'll never regret going, but you will always regret not going. Which sounds more plausible? You're an 80 year old man or woman, you're looking back on your life and you say to yourself, "I really wish I hadn't backpacked Europe for those two years in my 20's. Life was a little difficult for a little while after/before that." OR, you're that same old man/woman and you say to yourself, "I wonder how different my life would be if I had decided to travel. Would I have had the same job? Married the same person? Have the same stories? I wish I had traveled more." Which sounds worse? Don't live the same year, 80 times over and call that a life. That isn't a life.
You don't have time to wait. Life is unpredictable and it isn't always fair. Sorry for this post to take a morbid turn, but people die everyday who didn't get to live their lives the way they intended. Sometimes life is cut too short or sometimes you wait so long the things you want are no longer within your reach. The only time you have is now. For some people tomorrow, next week or next year might never come and maybe this is just the existentialist in me - but you and I both could be those people. So seize the day and all that other BS!
Do you have your own reasons to contribute? If you have another reason why you quit putting off your desire to travel please leave it in the comments!
30 March 2015
And here is the most overly photographed waterfall in all of the Pacific Northwest, people. Now, if you are a regular reader you will know that I am a firm believer in the "anyone can travel" mantra. However, there are definitely circumstances in which travel is made much more difficult. If money is your reasoning behind why you don't think you can travel please head on over to my Easy Ways To Save Money For Travel post that has helped me put away 7k in just seven short months. If you have other obstacles in your way or you, like me, or just counting down the days until your departure date then here are a few tips on how to find adventure when you can't travel abroad.
I'm listing this one first because this particular technique has helped to satiate my wanderlust. Start planning your next trip and spend your time pouring over the fascinating details. Look up destinations on Pinterest, read up on the history of where you want to go, check out travel books from your local library, start making an itinerary, etc. I understand how this can seem "pointless" when your next opportunity to travel is pretty far away but I can tell you from experience it works. I've spent the last year planning for, talking about and romanticizing for when I leave to go backpacking at the end of this Summer.
Take A Day Trip
I wouldn't necessarily call this a "staycation" because you can stretch out a day trip to really count if you want to. When I'm starting to feel suffocated by my normal life I plan a little day getaway and either pull an all nighter or wake up suuuper early to make the long drive out to somewhere new. I pack some snacks, my camera and my hiking boots and usually set off in a Westward direction (generally to the peninsula) to do some exploring. It's easy to overlook beauty when you see it every day, pretend like you're experiencing your surroundings for the first time and try to see things with fresh eyes.
This one sounds weird. I promise, it isn't. I haven't done this since around Christmas, but another great way to satisfy Wanderlust is to do what I call themed reading. Back in December, I was really having a hard time staying focused on my goals of working hard so that I could travel. To help kindle the fire I bought a bunch of different books that took place in Germany/Norway/Sweden region. They were mostly fiction, some historical fictions and some period type pieces - but being able to mentally submerge yourself into a culture is a great way to feel like you're experiencing some kind of travel when you aren't. I recently bought a bunch of Parisian and Tuscan themed books and plan on take a few picnics with some french bread, assorted cheese and sparkling wine to help enhance the experience.
Impromptu Weekends Away
Have a weekend off work and want to make it count? Call your favorite airline (or use Skyscanner - they have this feature too) and ask for the next domestic one way flight under say $150. This will get you somewhere relatively close but still somewhere you may not have been before. Spend the flight researching the area, booking a room, setting up an activity or scoping out a good hiking spot. There's something really beautiful about the curiosity that blossoms when you're exploring somewhere new. It's one of the best feelings there is.
Get Creative With Your Hobbies
Another one of my favorites. Take up a new hobby! I recently started experimenting with paint and for some reason, this helps. I like to try and channel certain countries or regions with the colors I choose and find some appropriately matching music and voila! My own little getaway. I love the colors of India so I went out and purchased a bunch of paints along that color scheme, brewed some Moroccan tea and turned on some relaxing Indian music (cue A Little Princess soundtrack). If painting isn't your jam, try taking up a new language, learning to play an instrument, dance lessons or even cooking classes. The possibilities are endless!
I hope that you find a few of these techniques helpful and if you have any of your own please share them with me! I'm always looking for new ways to keep myself occupied while I sit through the never ending countdown of this Spring and Summer. I hope you all had a fantastic weekend and happy Monday!
24 March 2015
If you're a little OCD about your apps, then like me you will have them organized by genre. Photography, banking, fitness, etc and of course travel. I thought I might share with you today a few of my favorite apps for travel that I've found to be extremely useful. Hopefully there are some in here that are new to you and might fill an empty void of need in your somewhere. I left out some obvious ones... like Instagram. Because, let's face it, if you don't know about Instagram you've got other problems.
Couchsurfing - If you haven't heard of Couchsurfing.com first of all, you're welcome. Second of all, what rock have you been living under? Basically this site is a global community for travel enthusiasts to share information, meet up for adventures, host travelers or be hosted, etc. A backpacker's best friend, really. I plan on utilizing this app as much as possible while I'm backpacking later this year.
Roadtrippers - This app is great for traveling or looking for new adventures or cool spots where you already live. You just specify where you are and what you're looking for (scenic spots, dive bars, photo ops, etc) and BAM! tons of little flags come up with pictures, reviews and descriptions of all the neat places around you.
Hyperlapse - I don't have this one pictured, but I think it still deserves the mention. Although this isn't specifically a travel app, I think this is great for documenting your travels and creating sped up time lapse videos of your journey. I have yet to use this one, other than just fooling around messing with the app, but plan to try and put this to use next weekend. Follow me on Instagram (@kayticlayton) if you want to see!
XE Currency - Pretty basic, but still very useful. See live currency conversion rates and easily convert one currency to another. I like to use this to see how strong the US dollar is compared to other currency around the world... Just saying - I picked a really good year to decide to travel Europe.
Skyscanner - A MUST HAVE if you are a frequent flier, or any flier for that matter. Basically, if you will ever get on an airplane, download this. Type in your starting point and destination and this app will find you the absolute lowest rates for that route - you can even click a little button at the bottom to see a calendar that shows you the price difference if you flexed your trip dates a little. Another cool feature is the "Everywhere" search - shows you the cheapest flights out of your area just in case you feel like taking an impromptu trip but can't decide where to go.
AirBNB - This app is growing pretty quickly in popularity but has still managed to work out to be one of the best travel planning apps in terms of lodging. Want to rent a penthouse, vintage RV, treehouse or beach bungalow? Just specify where you're going and whether you're looking for a shared room, private room or private house and voila! Search results galore.
Google Translate - I'm sure you're all familiar with the benefits of a translation app but I love the versatility of this one. You can search by your native language to find a translation or vice versa, you can speak a word into your phone and have it translated, but my favorite feature is the word lens portion. Let's say I have a sign in Spanish that I need to read, I just pick my settings and point my camera at your phone converts what you're seeing into English! So amazing!
Rome2Rio - Easily my favorite app out of all of these. This comprehensive app will find you the cheapest route to where you are going using bus routes, train routes, airlines and ferries. It lays out all of your options with estimated travel times and fares. I. Love. This. App.
Foodspotting - Even though this one is very similar to Roadtrippers, I decided to list it anyway. Unlike Roadtrippers, which finds anything and everything, this app is specifically designed to focus on finding the best local foodie spots all around the world. I much prefer this app when I'm looking for local secrets and love to try the recommended meals on here. Can't wait to try this out in another country!
Do you guys have any apps you love to use while you travel?
23 March 2015
I have six months left until I leave and I've found that lately sometimes it's hard to stay focused on my goal. I've been working a lot, which has been great for my savings but I can feel myself losing steam. I'm trying to keep my mind busy with things like my dad and sisters birthday (along with my own in two weeks!) and a short trip to my cousin's wedding coming up. Anything to keep myself from walking my savings account to the mall and buying a bunch of crap I don't need.
I find that browsing Pinterest and looking at inspiring photos or reading inspiring words really helps to ignite that fire within me that just burns me up with the need to travel. Just words to stoke the fire, and help keep the flames going for the next six months while I countdown to the beginning of a new chapter of my life. Here are a few of my favorite quotes that will hopefully inspire some of you as well. Are there any quotes or poems that always seem to give you chills? Please share in the comments - I love some good prose.
Not all those who wander are lost.
- J. R. R. Tolkien
One day, you will wake up and there won't be anymore time to do the things you've always wanted. Do it now.
- Paulo Coelho
The trouble is, you think you have time.
Somewhere something incredible is waiting to be known.
- Carl Sagan
Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.
- Henry David Thoreau
A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.
- John A. Shedd
It's a funny thing coming home. Nothing changes. Everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells hte same. You realize what's changed is you.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way.
- Dr. Seuss
She must find a boat and sail in it. No guarantee of shore. Only a conviction that what she wanted could exist, if she dared find it.
- Jeanette Winterson
It doesn't matter how this looks to other people. If this is something you gotta do, then you do it. Fighters fight.
Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.
- C. S. Lewis
If you ever find yourself in the wrong story, leave.
- Mo Willems
She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her away, she adjusted her sails.
- Elizabeth Edwards
I grabbed onto my fear and swung out on it. Hoping to land anywhere away from here.
16 March 2015
The Private Life of a Girl
This blog is a mecca of creativity inspiring images and blog posts. Sophie is a brilliant writer and always seems to put something out there that moves me towards a creative epiphany. I look forward to my morning cup of coffee, reading her updates.
Sea of Shoes
Jane Aldridge (uhm yeah, that name is just beautiful) is the stylish genius behind this blog. Pretty much all of my fashion pins come from her site. Her class, timeless taste in fashion is exactly what I want to emanate. Her dreamy photos, whimsical backgrounds and beautiful outfits are enough to induce any girl's fashion fever. Yeah, I just said fashion fever.
Design Love Fest
I'm a relatively new reader of this one but boy do I love it. The photography is just beautiful. Drool worthy foodie posts, awe inspiring color palettes and lifestyle posts that will make you feel motivated and happy to be alive. Oh and be prepared to change your desktop background once a week because you will love the "Dress Your Tech" posts. Seriously. I just changed mine a few hours ago.
Hand Luggage Only
Of course I had to include a travel blog! Lloyd and Yaya are two cuties who decided to make traveling their full time jobs. If you're looking for destination post, travel hacks, blogging tips and just general wanderlust inducing blog posts - this is the place for you. I think what I like most about really reading their content is their candor, their voices are just so honest!
I love so many more but these are just a few of my favorites right now. Who are some of your favorite bloggers? Please share in the comments!
Labels: WHO TO FOLLOW