People often comment about the cool things that I do and the number of places that I travel to. I’ve learned from other’s misfortunes. I have heard too many stories about people who went to work every day for years, worked overtime and saved their money to travel in retirement. Within a very short time after retirement these people passed away never getting to experience their dream.
We really have no idea what the future holds for us. We don’t know how long we will live or what our health will be as we age. Having heard these stories I’ve built “retirement” into my life! 🙂
Every year about this time I start to decide where I want to go and what things I want to accomplish in the following year. Last night I met with a friend to plan our trip to Bali in 2016. This friend, by the way, is the same one who asked me if I wanted to do the Tongariro Crossing… what do you think she’s going to suggest this time?? Something just as amazing I hope! So I set a plan for the year… and I JUST DO IT!
I often hear “I would love to go here or there but I just don’t have the time / money / childcare / insert another excuse / all of the above”. Guess what… nobody does! If you wait for the perfect moment to do things, you’ll never do them. There are no perfect moments. Work and life are always busy, nobody ever has enough money. Make a plan. Start saving, rearrange a work schedule, get creative with childcare. If you really truly want to do something… FIGURE IT OUT. My parents traveled when we were young and found neighbours who were willing to take care of us. Worked out great for us too. They are a very loving Italian family… and the food was amazing!
About 11 years ago I decided I wanted to travel. Not just a week in the Caribbean, I wanted to really travel. I wanted to go to far away places and really enjoy the countries, not a 15-countries-in-12-days Contiki tour (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I made a plan, 5 countries in 4 months. Here’s the problem, there’s never a perfect moment right? I had a job with 3 weeks of vacation. I was determined to do this though so I got creative. I figured out a time that was beneficial for the company and I pitched the idea. They didn’t have to pay me while I was gone and there was someone coming back from maternity leave. The naysayers told me that the company was never going to give me a 4 month leave of absence, it would set a precedent they said. Well if you don’t ask, you’ll never know. I asked and they said YES! I’m not at the company any longer but to my knowledge nobody has ever asked for a 4 month leave of absence since, so setting precedent wasn’t an issue.
The trip was worth every penny! I spent a night on a felucca on the Nile, climbed down into the pyramids in Cairo and visited the Valley of the Kings on a donkey. I got my SCUBA certification in the Red Sea, which I proceeded to put to good use on the rest of the trip. I saw the amazing Victoria Falls and white water rafted down the Zambezi River. I did an 18 day overland tour in South Africa including viewing 4 of the Big 5 in Kruger National Park. In Thailand I rode on elephants and sat on the very beaches that were destroyed by the Tsunami only 5 weeks later. I dove the Great Barrier Reef and visited a ranch in the town of Dingo, Australia where I used a whip, a boomerang and learned how to line dance!
I should also mention that I did this trip SOLO! So if I can do all of that, you can book you trip to France or Italy or wherever you dream of going. This idea doesn’t only apply to travel though. Do you really want to try surfing, have you always wanted to learn to play tennis, is your goal to run a 5K race? Whatever it is – JUST DO IT! Make a plan. Set a timeline. Make it your reality.
*Added bonus* Once you fulfill that dream, you can move onto the next and the next. And that is how you make your life an EPIC adventure!
Stop wishing, start doing!
Quote from my friend Dave as he went on a similar round the world trip – I hope it doesn’t get out how great this traveling thing is, or there will be nobody back home working!