Like me, maybe you’ve just made the decision that you want to quit your job and take on traveling full time. Maybe, also like me, you spent hours and hours (really more like days or weeks) scouring the internet and doing your research. Putting your heart and soul into planning this trip that you just know you have to do. It’s one of those things that you know if you don’t do it, it will undoubtedly be one of your greatest regrets. And when you finally make the decision to tell your friends and family, when you lay out all of your plans and goals and dream and they throw them right back in your face. What now?
It can be extremely disheartening and discouraging when the people who are supposed to be your biggest supports and allies in life don’t support one of the biggest decisions you’ve ever made. The first thing to remember is that the reason why you’re hearing all of this negativity is because they love you and they worry about you. And as someone currently going through this myself, I thought I would share some of the biggest objections I’ve heard and how I’m coping with them and proving them wrong. You don’t need anyone’s approval to travel but you’re own. Life is meant to be lived, not feared.
But you can’t afford that!
Quite the contrary friends – you can afford to travel. Anyone can. I haven’t left for my trip yet (current departure date: October 1st!) but I already (in the last 6 months) have saved close to half of my goal which is a $15k at a minimum. I am able to save and keep myself on track by following these six easy steps. People will wonder why you have so much money and what the hell you’re doing to earn all that extra cash but what people really don’t realize is how much you’ve given up in order to be able to save that much. To me, deciding to travel has been about sacrificing what is considered a “happy life” where I am now, in order to have, what I consider, a happier one in the future.
Whose burden will you be when you return?
This one really hit home for me. I was sitting at dinner with my dad, stepmom and sister and we were discussing my trip (my dad is definitely one of the nay sayers on my going) and he asked, “And whose burden are you going to be when you get back?” I know that’s now how he meant it, but hearing those words really hurt. Hopefully, I won’t be anyone’s burden. I guess, ideally I had hoped that when I came back I could stay with family for a few weeks while I get my feet back on the ground. But I realized I need to be proactive about what I will do when I come back, so I now have a $1500 savings for when I get back and that will cover a 2 month stay at an AirBNB home in my city plus some extra for any other expenses. You should have enough when you come back that you aren’t floundering and enough so that, if your family and friends don’t graciously offer to help you, you have enough to do it on your own.
It’s not safe.
This is a BIG one that I’m sure many of you have heard before. To start off, less than half of Americans even have a passport so most of the opinions your hearing are probably from people that not only have never even traveled overseas. And because of that, nearly all of their opinions will be based off of what they hear and read in the news. Which, let’s face it, is mostly fear mongering headlines to sell more ad space. Americans are taught by the media, and overall consensus belief, that the world is a terrible and terrifying place. There’s a lot of headlines I’ve seen around saying that the UK has four times more violent crimes than the US but when you see things like that you have to take into account the fact. Most people don’t realize that in the UK a “violent crime” includes petty assault and all robberies. That being said, it never hurts to take precautions to keeping yourself and your belongings safe when traveling. Use lockers, padlocks, don’t use flashy bags and even thought it may seem like a great idea – I wouldn’t suggest those mesh covers that are supposed to keep your bag safe while in a hostel are public space. You might as well just put a giant red flag on your stuff saying “STEAL ME! I’m worth protecting so I’m worth stealing.”
Aren’t you worried about terrorism?
Pretty closely tied to the previous point, but different enough that I thought it needed its own heading. This, I’m sure, varies depending on where you live and your life experiences but it’s definitely a dominant issue in US news. “If it bleeds, it leads”. There is always going to be terrorism somewhere in the world. As much as I would ideally like a world where we all live peacefully, it just doesn’t seem to be possible. Right now, it’s ISIS. Before ISIS it was Osama Bin Laden. Personally, I don’t believe in living my life in fear of being the victim of a terrorist attack – which could happen anywhere in the world. On another note, I’m sure you’ve all probably heard the good ol’ “Everybody hates Americans” byline but that just isn’t the case. Maybe some hate our government, but some people in America hate aspects of our government. But most people don’t hate an American for simply being American. In the post 9/11 world, do any other Americans out there hate everyone from Afghanistan or Iraq? I doubt it. I even work with someone who moved here from Afghanistan within the last 5 years and you know what, it never even crosses my mind. But again, it never hurts to be safe and you should always be aware of what’s going on in the world around you. The American government posts travel warnings and alerts to keep you aware of what they consider to be threats and dangers.
But you’re a girl…
Yes, I am. But as long as I’m safe, aware of my surroundings and don’t inject myself into obviously dangerous situations – odds are, I’ll be fine. Perhaps more of a target for petty theft, but again that all comes down to being safe and prepared. Investing you a safety whistle – oh, you freaking bet I am. After reading this article from Legal Nomads I am a freaking believer! I’m even going to be posting a tutorial of how I’m making a dummy wallet in hopes of warding off potential disasters. There are tons of solo female travelers out there, one of my favorites being Brooke from World of Wanderlust.
What about all your stuff?
You have loads of options for that! The best one being… SELL IT! You won’t need it and BONUS, more money for traveling! But, if you’re like me, you’ll have some things you simply cannot part with and for those things, get a storage unit. A standard storage unit for a few boxes and maybe smaller dresser is fairly cheap and usually you can get a discount if you pay for a large portion of time up front, like 6 months or a year. If you have good friends or family that would be willing to store a few boxes for you all the better!
All in all. If you want to travel – TRAVEL. Don’t let anyone convince you it isn’t worth, it isn’t safe enough or that it’s too expensive for you to do. Anyone can travel. One year ago, I was working minimum wage at a coffee stand trying to figure out what the fuck I was doing with my life. Now, I’m eight months away from leaving to backpack Europe for a year and already halfway to my goal savings amount. Are there any other response you hear when people find out you want to travel full time? What are they and how do you respond? Please share!