If you’ve ever read my bio, you’ll notice that I identify as a nomad at heart. The “nomad” is because I traveled the world as a child with my parents, and even though I’m more rooted in adulthood, the itch to travel is ingrained in my blood. Travel–and traveling often–is a part of the vision I have for my family and my ideal life.
It’s fun to get lost in the idea of it all—escaping to an island paradise, venturing out on exciting adventures, booking a staycation and (one of my favs) experiencing new foods—but how do you go about making it a reality? Especially when the world isn’t exactly out of the COVID pandemic.
Like any big goal, creating a lifestyle where you can jet off on as many adventures as you want can be scary or overwhelming. Maybe your dreams seem out of reach. Or maybe you don’t think it’s realistic with the time you have between work and the expectation of always being on or the obligations on your plate from managing a home to raising a family.
In this post, I’m going to cover 5 steps you can apply to not only get you moving your next adventure, but to intentionally shift your life to create the space for as much travel as you want in the future. Bonus—these steps can also be applied to any major goal you have in life.
1. Be Realistic With Your Travel Dreams
Being realistic doesn’t mean you can’t and shouldn’t dream big. But it also doesn’t mean you have to make big changes to your life in order to travel more. As I like to say, it’s always best to start with the beginning.
First things first. You’re going to want to look at your different goals in life and understand what you want over the short term and the long term. This can be elusive because we get caught up in the “shoulds” society has conditioned us to want and it can be scary to admit what we really do want if it brushes up against our culture or upbringing.
Sometimes it’s easier to figure out what you don’t want. So start there and eliminate the things that no longer benefit you or bring you joy. What’s left is a good framework to work with and plan around. For example, if you don’t actually like participating in your company’s recruiting trips, don’t waste your time participating in that activity. Instead, use the time that opens up to get ahead of work and create space on the backend to take a trip you would enjoy.
2. Assess Your Lifestyle
Work isn’t the only factor you have to consider. If you want to fit more travel into your lifestyle, you’ll have to think about how you currently live and how your other obligations (think family, church, friends, etc.) impact your travel goals.
Do you have a close friend that can house sit if you’re gone frequently? Do you have pets? If so, can you take your pets with you each time you leave on an extended vacation? If you downsized, would you be able to afford the vacations you really want? Can you take your kids with you if your dream vacation doesn’t fall on a school holiday?
These are things you realistically have to take into account in order to set yourself up for success in achieving #travelgoals. You either have to accommodate your life with your travel plans or change your life to fit your travel plans.
3. Put Yourself First
No, this is isn’t selfish. Listen, life is short. If you’re not living the life you want, it can come out as bitterness and resentment towards your loved ones and others in your sphere of influence. You’re no good to anyone else if you feel like an empty shell of who you’re supposed to be.
Now, I don’t mean have zero regard for everyone else in your life in order to get what you want. But, it could be helpful to have an open conversation with your spouse or other important decision makers about why travel is important to you and how you see it working moving forward. Make it a win-win.
4. Make A Plan
When you’ve gotten to this stage, and have buy-in from the people that matter, make a plan. When I used to work at a Big Four accounting firm, I would plan vacations one year in advance. The firm had a master calendar and had a habit of snatching any available time without notice for client engagements. If a client engagement appeared on your calendar, you had to show up. Since you never knew when a new engagement would appear on your calendar, you had to schedule ahead of time to get any vacation. With abandon, I would block off all of the next year’s vacation and important dates even before I knew where we would go because it was important those dates remained untouched.
That’s not to say you can’t take impromptu trips, but if your travel style or dream is to go to far off, exotic locations, there are logistics to plan around. For example, international travel has transport, the visa waiver program and travel restrictions (including tourist bans due to the pandemic) to consider. Planning also allows you to appropriately budget for the trip, make vaccination plans, and gives you something to look forward to.
Alternatively, if your travel goals involve more weekend getaways, be intentional about how you spend your weekends and with whom. Instead of meeting friends for yet another brunch, why not take a long weekend trip? It doesn’t have to be a huge event, but you can invite friends along and still scratch that travel itch.
5. Consider Changing Jobs or Starting Your Own Thing
If you’re someone whose dream is to spend an extended amount of time abroad, you might want to think about moving into a job with more travel. Granted, this will likely be a large lifestyle shift and you’d definitely have to get buy-in from family members. But a big perk is you’d get to travel the world regularly.
There is also the idea of starting a side hustle or your own business. Of course, this may mean that you’re working up to traveling more over the next few years, but not right this second. However, one of the benefits of having your own business is being in control of your time, so you’d eventually be able to travel whenever you wanted, without permission and on your own terms.
The key here is to start small, evaluate your goals and figure out how you would like to structure your life. Then build out a plan and execute.
If that kind of freedom appeals to you, but you’re not sure how to get started, I’d love to help you form a strategy – schedule a time here to chat!