It’s a standard topic for many travel blogs: you should travel. We all know you want to, but there’s something holding you back. Whether it’s your job, a mortgage, pets, kids, money, whatever – if you’re reading this blog, odds are pretty high that you want to travel.
Big flashpacking trips and long-term travel require huge sacrifices and an enormous commitment of resources that will be different for everyone. If you are serious about travel, however, these are things you’re willing to forgo and hurdles you’re willing to overcome.
If there was a graph consisting of active travelers on one end and of people with no interest in traveling on the other, the middle might be those who really want to travel but something is keeping them from doing so. I want this article to push those people over the edge and make the commitment to travel – even if it takes you two years of hard work to do what is required to board that plane.
You are not getting any younger
It’s an unfortunate fact that none of us is getting any younger. Where I grew up, it’s the view of many that they’ll work hard until retirement and then they’ll be able to do the things they wish they could do now. Why wait? Get out there and do the things you want to do. Find a way to make it happen NOW.
As you get older, odds are you’ll be more set in your ways and less flexible with the things you’re willing to deal with and experience. There will also be physical limitations to deal with that might take trekking through the jungle or climbing a mountain off your travel list. Get out there now while you’re young and able to deal with the many challenges travel offers.
The world is in a constant state of flux, albeit some places change more quickly than others. Political upheaval, Mother Nature, and tourism are causing the biggest changes we’re concerned with as travelers.
We only have to look at the recent events in Egypt to see what effect internal politics can have on travel. When you incorporate political instability across borders, things get way more complicated.
Global warming and natural disasters are changing things right now. Did you make it to New Orleans before Katrina hit? Will you make it to the Great Barrier Reef before it bleaches and becomes barren?
Places change over time, and not always in a way that’s better for the flashpacker. Backpackers tend to like places that are as “authentic” as possible. The more popular a place becomes, the more tourists will head there and the more it will change due to that tourism. I can only imagine what some of these places I’ve traveled through these last 6 months in Asia were were like 5, 10 or 20 years ago.
More future destinations
This is kind of a tricky one but stay with me. The more you travel, the more you’ll be able to see and experience down the road. The thought is that the more you travel, the more you want to travel in the future. While the world’s a big place and you’ll never see everything, you can at least try to see and experience as much as possible.
The earlier you get started, the more opportunity you have to travel to other locations. Backpack when you are young, flashpack as you get older and then maybe do the tourist thing late in life. If Paris, Japan and Thailand are on your list, the sooner you get there, the sooner you can see what comes next.
Change your perceptions
One of the greatest benefits of travel in my mind is the way it opens your mind. Traveling abroad exposes you to different cultures, religions, foods and ways of living. This is especially true for backpackers and flashpackers who spend more time at a local level and having local experiences.
This exposure tears away at our preconceptions and notions of what these people and places are like. The other side of the world is no longer a faceless mob, but people you can relate to and share your humanity with. When you take these new broader views back home with you, the world gets one step closer to being a better place. The sooner that happens the better!
Make the commitment! Set a target date for when you’ll leave on your trip. Do what you can to make it happen!