I have wanted to go travelling for a long time. Ever since I got back from several months in Australia in 2005, I knew this would not be my last stint of wanderlust.
For years, I have gone round and round in circles. First came a strong desire to go travelling, followed by grand plans for saving enough money to make this happen.
Then work would get heavy, expenses would come about and the before I knew it, my bank balance ground my initial momentum to a halt and I was back on the treadmill, putting what I knew I really wanted on the backburner.
Life gets complicated. It is easy to plant that seed of possibility in your mind, but in order for it to actually grow and come to fruition, you need to make sure you nurture and feed it.
This requires a whole load of money saving and huge amount of faith and bravery.
For me, there were a number of practical and emotional obstacles to overcome in order to be able to plan my six-month solo trip in Canada (beginning in a few weeks!)…
Concerned about leaving a good job
Having a full-time journalist job, or any job for that matter at the moment, is not something to take for granted.
With unemployment rates sky high, making the decision to resign is much harder. I have talked myself out of leaving my current job many times over the years, with help from concerned relatives advising me, quite rightly, that I could not afford to resign, no matter how miserable it was making me.
But I decided enough was enough. Instead of doing anything rash, I have been saving up for the past several months in order to have enough money to kick-start my travels plans. Have I saved up enough money to live a five-star lifestyle? No way. In fact I only have enough to keep me going for a few months.
I have faith that I will be able to find a job if necessary (I should have a working holiday visa organised by the time I arrive in Canada). I have looked into volunteering opportunities and also plan to take advantage of my journalistic skills to produce articles and keep up with this blog.
Faith and determination can get you a long way. I was surprised and elated to have recently been contacted by a reputable advertising agency. I have only had this blog for around six months and was not expecting to make any money for another year at least. This made my day. Not as much as that feeling I get when another person subscribes to my blog, which is the greatest compliment of all.
I came to realise that if a job is making you unhappy and sucking the life out of you, no matter how many attempts you make to think positively and have a real go of it, then you need to do everything you possibly can to get out of that situation.
This could mean getting another job, but for me I knew travel was something I needed to make happen. So I decided to save up as much as I could and make the most of it… believing that the rest will work it self out.
He knows how much I want to travel and is amazingly supportive. But, before I went ahead and booked my flight, we had to talk through the implications of this for our relationship.
For various reasons, Andy is unable to come with me, *sad face*, which is why I am going solo.
This will be really hard, but I decided it is unhealthy to not follow your dream because of a relationship. This would be a recipe for disaster and eventual resentment.
And splitting up is not an option either of us wants to consider.
Andy is coming to visit for a couple of weeks in the middle of the trip. It will be hard, but this is something I need to do for myself. Other people make it work, so we will too.
Not having enough money
Money. Everybody needs it. If you want to go travelling, you need to have enough money to cover your living expenses. Saving money is hard and it took me a while to change my spending habits.
I did not draw up an intricate budget or resort to anything drastic to save my pennies. I just stopped buying things that I did not need. I used to spend quite a lot of money on clothes. Alternatively, I started to make use of the pile of clothes I already had – selling items I had not worn for a while on Ebay.
Instead of going to the shops and acting like we were on an episode of Supermarket Sweep, we just picked up a few bits as and when we needed them. We recently had to scrap our car (poor little Freddie *sob*), but, despite the inconvenience, this has meant more money has been saved overall.
It all adds up. I could have saved a lot more if I had been stricter with myself. For example, I have not been taking in packed lunches to work and we have too many takeaways. But I have reached my minimum saving target so I am happy. Where there is a will, there is a way.
How have you made your travel dream happen?
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