How to get your life ready for a year long trip

What a big decision. The first step into this adventure.

If you haven’t yet, please go watch “A map for Saturday” documentary. Is a must-watch for all travelers, aspirants to travelers and people who just love live and cultures. It is one of the most inspiring and realistic documentaries about travel I’ve ever watched. And I watched many. 

Flying over the mountains

Flying over the mountains

It all starts with an idea, like everything else. With that feeling you get inside in the morning while traveling to work. That not so fulfilling satisfaction this life you are living gives you. And you think, what would make me happy? What would I do if I win the lottery? I wish I could… Travel. Travel the world. And you think about all the circumstances that put you where you are now, the good job you have, the 401k plan, health insurance, your savings account, your responsibilities, that new car you wanted to get, that one weekend at the beach you wanted to go to. All those things that are part of this life you created, we don’t realize while its happening but we are creating our life with our choices. The decisions we take along our life are creating our reality. So you know that you need to either take that decision now, that new path, confront all what that means or keep living this life, this comfortable, predictable life.

One day you take that decision. You decide within you that what you want to do is to travel. Not for a weekend, not for vacations, you want to travel the world without a return date. So you say it out loud, you tell your friends and family. And they think you are crazy irresponsible immature teenager who needs to grow up and get to work and don’t try to escape life responsibilities and what about your job, what about the 401k what about your future, what about after the trip?   You are going to have to hear everybody’s own fears, boundaries and self restrictions. That is not you. Those are not yours. Stick with your dream. The other person is not on your shoes, they are not in your mind and they cant see how frustrating this life you created had become.

So now comes the big preparation for a trip. This is the most difficult part, all our fears and worries come out. What if I get kidnapped? What if I die of a weird illness and never get to see my mom again? What if the plain crashes? What if…?

Then there is a huge list we do mentally to remember what to take care of before leaving. Remember to cancel phone bill on time, cancel subscriptions, go to the mail office and ask them to hold all my mail, pay off debt if there is any, packed, sell, donate, etc. Meanwhile we have to answer to the questions from people, confront accusations and skepticism, the many times repeated phrase: you are crazy. Everyone’s fears and worries on top of your own. The explanations to your grandma who doesn’t even know if you are taking drugs or you just lost your mind, your mom’s terrified face when you said: I decided to sell everything and leave for a year. Your father unconditional support, which scares you even more because you don’t want to let him down. All of that and much more, that is what we have to deal with when we decide to take control of our lives.

The first and most difficult step is to state to yourself: you are not happy with your life as it is, and you probably will never be if you don’t pursue your life long dream. That was the most difficult moments of all and you are passed that, so now is just taking the steps to make that your reality. The moment you acknowledge to yourself: I will sell everything, I will leave my comfort life and disassemble the live I’ve created and will go see what the world is all about. That is the most frighting and liberating moment of all.

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After all, your desire is bigger than your fears and yes, you will affront whatever it is to make your dreams come true. You can, and you must do it. For yourself.

The Money

The first thing that comes in mind when we think about travel is money. How expensive we think it is and how much money we will have to save to do it, for how long, etc. Well not everything is given to us freely but there are many ways we can save money while traveling.

Before Leaving

  • Sell things you don’t need, don’t go out every weekend, do you really need another outfit? Do you really need cable? There are many things that we can change in our lifestyle, which is not making us happy anyways, to be able to save up to create the life you want. This applies to everybody, not only for travelers. If you want to own your business, if you want to buy a house on the beach to retire, if you want to pay for acting classes, etc. Whatever your passion is, and is not our passions that cost money, we just need a base to start and support it. But your passion is the essence and its free. How do you invest your money?
  • Fix your credit, open a savings account, close all those accounts you have and don’t really need, do that sacrifice for your dreams it will always pay off!
  • Remember, always keep in mind that what you are doing right now, if you are not happy with it, is just a milestone. Your present occupation is just one step that you have to go through to get to your dreams. This is not going to last forever. You are not going to be inside an office until the end of your days, or working as a server or whatever job you are doing that is not what you love. This is only a phase. It is temporary. But do what you can now to be happy with what you already have! That is the only way to get to where we want to be, being grateful and loving our life today. Check out my post on things you can do to be happy. 
  • Once you decide what you need to do to save for your goal, then set an amount. You can get a very good deal in flights if you regularly check Momondo, Kayak, Skyscanner, etc. There are many websites and low budget airlines that offer great deals and you can cross the ocean from the U.S. for less than $300 for a one way ticket. YES IT IS TRUE.
  • Lay out all your expenses, flight, accommodation, food, miscellaneous. Make a budget, do the work. Then always save for emergencies. Don’t forget to add the expenses for the trip, vaccinations if needed, visas, health insurance, internet or cellphone to call home, equipment you may need. Think about everything you can think and write it down. Google everything you need to and get as much information as you can but don’t drawn yourself in it, just stick with official web pages and reasonable information.
  • Accommodations is another big expense that is part of travel. However there are so many options you can study and see which one suits your needs. Have you heard of Couchsurfing? Have you heard of Airbnb? Hostels?

Once you open yourself to the possibility that your dream is actually more feasible than what you thought, you will discover that there are many options and cheaper ways to do the big trip.

Do the research, open that door for yourself. If you have a passion then you must definitely follow it. That is why you are here for. You make things either possible or impossible for yourself. remember that.

Getting Emotionally and Physically Ready

Something about traveling that is misunderstood is the thought that you will leave and life will suddenly be happy.  You will carry all your problems, worries, heartbreaks and insecurities. We can’t leave those behind, but we can work them out. It is true that we can’t escape from our problems, but we can take ourselves out of the situation and have a bigger perspective. If you travel and see how other people and cultures live around the world you will learn how to appreciate every single thing you and your family have. If you distance yourself from that situation, you will have a clearer mind. I’m not saying things will get solved by leaving, they won’t, but you can solve it from a different perspective when you come back and you get that perspective by putting distance, not only physical but emotionally. Take yourself out of your comfort zone and see things differently.

Packing

You know you are not going to wear half of what you packed. So stick with the simple and comfortable. It will be easier to get around and you will feel free. One less worry. Pack simple and only what’s necessary.

Check my post about packing lists!

Itinerary

Yes we want to see as much as possible. But you don’t want to stress yourself because you missed the train connection or rush yourself through places you never seen before just to get to another new place. You are not absorbing this wonderful experience. STOP. Just look around and enjoy every minute. Observe everything and immerse yourself into this new and different culture or place. You don’t know when life will bring you here again. See everything. Slow down. Plan an easy itinerary, take your time. Study the map and find out the routes you need to take. Which one will be easier? If you are planing to travel by train you can check all the info here.

You can also check out my post about How to put together your own Itinerary – and – My Own Itinerary! 

DO NOT BE AFRAID. The world is not that bad place they want you to believe. Of course you always have to be careful and take care of yourself. You never want to be in a bad situation in a place you don’t know. But don’t let your fear keep you away from your dreams. Maybe taking a self defense class will make you feel more confident and secure. Talk to locals, they are just like you, but just live a different reality. We all have the same fears, problems, dreams and aspirations. Embrace that difference and you will see how similar we all are.

 

ENJOY.

 

*Check my travel journal here

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