I’ve been meaning to write this post for quite a while now. I’m pretty sure if I look through my drafts, I’ll find some unfinished version of it in there… and by “unfinished version”, I mean I probably write the title and one, possibly two sentences. Well, I finally decided it was high time to publish this. I’ll do my best not to draw this post out though, it’s probably important to note that how I pay for (/can afford to) travel has evolved so much over the course of this year.
HOW DO I TRAVEL?
This year, as the blog has grown, Lloyd and I have been very fortunate to get invited to explore different places but for the longest time (and indeed long before the blog was created), I paid for my travels through my job.
I’m not one for counting countries visited. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, I’ve just never felt quite right about it. You’ll probably struggle to find more than a couple of posts (if any) where I talk about the ‘number’ of countries I’ve visited but I have to make an exception in this post to set some context. See, before we started blogging, we’d been fortunate enough to visit just over 40 countries – all paid for out of our own pocket so I know all too well the concerns, struggles and juggling act that’s required to hold onto a job and try to travel the world on a budget.
I kinda wish I had something more special to tell you about how I funded my travels over the years but that’s the truth right there. Actually, I don’t wish I had something more special to tell you, I’m quite proud of the fact that I’ve worked to pay a lot of my travels. I made the most of my weekends and holidays (we get on average in the UK about 5 weeks of holidays – almost 7 weeks if you count bank holidays), I constantly hunted for weekend bargains and always tried to be as flexible as possible.
See, the thing is, this blog was born out of a love for travelling. We’d had so many brilliant travel experience over the years and wanted a place to share them with you. I can’t even say I knew back then how invaluable the blog was going to be to us, not just as an outlet for us to share our stories but as a source of new friends, an unbelievable source of travel inspiration from other travel-obsessed people out there (like you) and the creation of a network of friendly fellow travellers to trade stories and tips with. For instance, there have been so many times I’ve decided I have to visit a place after someone has sent us a picture, an email or even just a series of tweets we’ve exchanged. I’m immensely curious about the world and when you’re able to find someone who thinks like you i.e. your tribe, it’s absolutely brilliant!
It’s so lovely to be able to make personal connections on here. There have also been times where I’m having a weird day and all it takes is one kind comment on here to brighten up my day! If I knew how invaluable this community of traveller would have been, I think we would have started this blog ages ago! Just thought I had to let you know but I digress…
WHY AM I SAYING THIS?
Back to the point, there are two reasons why I felt I needed to write this post.
1.) Travelling and working full-time are not mutually exclusive: It’s very easy to fall into the trap of thinking travel is impossible if you work full-time. It doesn’t have to be. Some people already know this first-hand… and kudos to you if you do. Some others find it harder and I’m not gonna say it’s easy but I am going to say it’s very possible. It takes a lot of work for this to happen, of course, and you need to spend some time planning but I can tell you first hand that it’s very doable and achievable goal.
Case in point – The first time we went to Paris, we skipped out on fancy restaurants and instead ate picnics in the park and opted to get breakfast by popping into supermarkets the night before for breads, cheeses, meats…etc. Back then, we got up very early to catch the most economical flights available and skipped the lure of luxury hotels in Paris for budget/mid-range chains. The rationale was that it made more sense to save the money spent on fancy meals, good wine…etc and instead save it for another trip the following weekend. We saw Paris on a budget and prioritised travel over simple luxuries and as a result, the following weekend, we went to Brussels… and to Amsterdam the weekend after that. The next time we returned to Paris though, there was more room to splash out and so we did – lovely restaurants, fine wines, cocktails… the works. The point I’m trying to make here is that it’s important to plan according to your priorities, you might need to make small sacrifices to get what you want but as long as you’re making the right kind of sacrifices to get you the things that you want, you’ll not only feel truly happy about what you’re doing, you’ll also incredibly accomplished for making a plan of yours come to fruition.
2.) Play by your own rules: It’s important to realise that your situation is very different from other people’s. Some people have all the money and time in the world. Some people just don’t. Whichever case you find yourself in, make the most of it. Make your situation work best for you. Sounds obvious but lets face it, it’s ingrained in all of us to compare ourselves to one another – the problem with this is that we never see the full picture and as a result, there can be only two outcomes of this – we either end up feeling bad about the stuff that other people have and we don’t, or we end up feeling proud (bordering on the egotistical sometimes) about the things that we have and others don’t. Nether of these is right and neither is helpful to us in the long run… especially not when it comes to setting personal goals to travel the world. Do your own thing and dance to the beat of your own drum!
I guess the fundamental point I’m trying to make is that my perspective on travel is very much built on the idea of making the most of what you’ve got. Even billionaires have limited amount of funds – it’s never infinite! Regardless of what that ‘limit’ in your bank account is, it’s important to a.) recognise your limit and subsequently b.) make the most that you can of the ‘limits’ you have. It won’t be the same as anyone else’s but you’ll have a much better time if you make a go at it than if you just give up without even trying!