A man told me yesterday, "I wish I traveled more."
My response was, "so why don't you?"
Similarly, I was driving along the other day in my car and I suddenly had the thought, “I would like to see Spain.”
Like, now. Right now.
The next thought that occurred to me was, “why not?”
The American “vacation” has become such a production. The general rule seems to be that it’s got to be planned months & months (if not years) ahead of time, flights have to be booked, accommodations planned, itineraries made, and so on and so forth.
But no one ever stops to ask WHY it has to be done this way.
All of a sudden, it doesn’t seem so far away. Just a simple plane ride, and BOOM, you’re there!
And when I arrived? Likely there would be an Air BnB transaction happening. Or maybe I'd find a little local hotel. Maybe I’d make some new friends. Maybe I’d even just sleep on the train (a rail pass can be a wonderful thing). I could go anywhere. Literally. There wouldn’t even have to be a set beginning or end.
Fantasy is so much fun, isn’t it?
Of course, this is exactly why I’m aiming to become location independent. So I CAN do this kind of a thing, for real. I wont have someone telling me I can’t leave because I don’t have any vacation available or because I must be somewhere for a specified event or amount of time.
Since I'm not quite there yet, the real questions becomes, what can I do in the meantime to pave the way?
1. Get those mileage accounts accumulating.
Many people have a mileage account here or there, usually simply from previous flights, maybe linked to a credit card, but really, when it comes down to it, let’s just admit it – most of us really have no idea what we’re doing with these things.
And that's where travel hacking comes in.
Basically, the idea with travel hacking is to travel for cheap or nothing.
Sound too good to be true? It’s not. Just one example of many, there’s this guy who visited 15 cities in 9 different countries for $418. And there are actually quite a few experts out there on this subject matter.
Since I’m still learning all the ropes in this area and there’s always such a wealth of new information entering the system, I recently joined the Travel Hacking Cartel.
So far, it’s been an investment well worth it (and this is on top of a travel hacking guide I purchased a few months ago). I get tons of fantastic suggestions on how to rack up those miles and alerts to the newest mileage steals on the market.
2. Build up my friend base around the globe.
As it stands today, I have a very few people I know who are not living in the US, or my home city for that matter. Sad, really, because I so thoroughly enjoy the company of people who are from foreign places. I find the differences that exist between people due to evolving as parts of a different culture to be incredibly fascinating.
That being said, as I mentioned in Social Technology Creates Community, I am getting to know more people through virtual means everyday.
Similarly, I'm looking forward to meeting people from around the world who will be attending the World Domination Summit this summer in Portland - the event is famous for, amongst many things, making international connections of its attendees.
I also highly recommend starting to talk to some of the people in your life that maybe you've never had anything more than the most casual conversation with, a conversation that might go something like this:
Me: A major goal is to travel more and next spring I am planning to go over to Europe. Spain, France, and Italy are my primary goals!
Friend 1: Hey my brother lives in Sitges (near Barcelona) and he loves having houseguests, let me talk to him and see if he'd be cool with that!
Friend 2: And I have a ton of friends in Italy, I'm sure at least one of them would let you stay by them if you were headed through Italy!
See how easy that was?!
3. Learn another language.
Let’s see, this has been on my list….oh, pretty much since high school. Somehow, shockingly, I still haven’t gotten around to it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve dabbled, but I’m talking fluency here.
My first language of choice is French. I know, useful right? I don’t care. I love the language and always have. I simply enjoy the sound of it, the feel of the words rolling off the tongue. Over the past 20 years or so, I’ve gotten a solid grip on speaking it about 4 or 5 times, only to rapidly lose it after disuse.
With Europe in my sights for next spring, I am hell bent on gaining fluency this time. And then doing whatever I need to do to maintain it.
After I’ve got my first foreign language down, maybe I’ll even try out a second. Or a third…..I've heard it gets easier after you've learned one, so I guess the sky’s the limit!
4. Save up some $$
I know what you're thinking.....
But the difference here is, I'm not only waiting to start traveling because I'm trying to save money. In this case, it's something to be done in the meantime, while I'm grounded because I need to take care of other business matters.
Sure, saving for traveling is an admirable goal. But it should be a goal, not something that's always an excuse, always a mechanism for putting something off. Just make sure if saving for traveling is a necessity that the traveling part is happening!
That being said, on my end, I will say that I am recovering from my bout of unemployment early this spring, so I still have some catching up to do financially (personally, I am not an individual who’s overly comfortable with debt). I’m grateful for that time period, as it allowed me to really get moving on all my current writing pursuits, but I still have to make that money back. Once I get caught up, look out world, here I come!
5. Get the location independent work rolling.
This would be the business I previously mentioned grounding me.
And the irony is that this business is what is ultimately going to get me off the ground.
There are a lot of different options when it comes to location independent work. Personally, I have chosen the course of writing because I love to write, but once the work I've chosen really starts to take off, the restraints on time & travel will almost completely fall away.
That being said, for the moment my focus is on building this business & establishing myself as a freelance content writer. This is not a particularly long process.....it started this year and will be built, at least enough for me to feel stable with it, by the end of this year. All things considered, I think this is an absolutely acceptable amount of time to spend grounded to build a lifestyle.
Especially as my ultimate goal is freelance travel writing - what a way to get there!
What's stopping you?
Really, we should all be leading or pursuing the lives we want. After all, it is your life. As with so many things, it’s RIGHT THERE for you. Any of us can reach out and take it.
So again I'll ask....what’s stopping you?
Seriously, what’s stopping YOU?!? (Comment below)
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