You Can Make Your Travel Dream Happen

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.

Relationship worries

Nobody wants to be away from somebody they love. I have been with my boyfriend Andy for more than four years now and love and care about him ridiculously.

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?

To follow my solo travels that are shortly beginning in Canada, sign up for free updates of my blog via RSS or email by clicking here.

You can also follow me on Facebook or Twitter.

14 Comments

  1. April 15, 2012 / 18:14

    It takes effort to save up for traveling but it can be done. My husband and I eat out less, rent movies instead of going to a movie theatre, I buy clothes at consignment stores and make meals on the weekend that will last a few days (ie a stew or lasagna) and we both take lunch to work. I also started taking the bus to work. We do still run 2 cars (a bad North American habit) but we try to use them sparingly. Good for you for savibg up for your upcoming trip! It will be worth it.

    • April 20, 2012 / 17:50

      Hey Darlene, you’re right, it’s amazing what you can save by just adapting your lifestyle a bit. And it’s so worth it if it means being able to travel and see more of the world! I’ve still got loads of stuff to get rid of before I go, which should make me a few extra pennies to take with me! Another round of Ebay selling is in need :-)

  2. April 15, 2012 / 21:47

    Congrats on making the big decision, I know leaving a good solid job is one of the most difficult parts but I can say 8 months later after driving 20,000 km around Canada and US it was the best decision of my life. Now I’m just hoping to stretch my money for a few more months to finish the drive back from the west coast to Toronto.

    Best of luck on your trip across Canada, I’m sure you’ll love it!

    Brandon
    Brandon Share recently posted..Review: LowePro Fastpack 250My Profile

    • April 20, 2012 / 17:45

      Hi Brandon, thank you! It sounds like you’ve covered a lot of ground there :-) I’ll have to check out your blog for advice!

  3. April 18, 2012 / 18:28

    This brings back so many emotions that I went through before I left to go on my RTW trip – will I have enough money, will I get a job when I get back, what if I get out there and I hate it? I had the best time of my life though and all those concerns soon disappear when you are out there seeing the world and following your passions.
    Look forward to reading all about your Canada travels – I originally hope to go out there this summer but its been postponed til next spring so I’ll be looking out for your recommendations of what to see and do out there!
    Lucy
    Lucy Dodsworth recently posted..My travel inspirationMy Profile

    • April 20, 2012 / 17:43

      Aww cheers Lucy and thanks for your encouraging words! Hope I am able to supply you with some useful tips for your Canada trip next year :-)

  4. April 19, 2012 / 02:10

    I felt a Déjà vu after reading your post. I’ve been in the same situation and I can say that leaving the job that has been supporting your for years is one of the greatest obstacle for our travel plans. We really need to be determined in our goals. I’m happy that you’ve made it!

    • April 20, 2012 / 17:39

      Hi Jem, thank you :-). You’re right, leaving the comfort of a full-time job is hard, but I’m definitely determined to make it work.

      • April 21, 2012 / 06:17

        You’re right but I quit my day job and got a part time of 20hrs/week just to fill my urge of going out for an adventure :)

  5. abby
    April 23, 2012 / 21:39

    Hi Alison,

    I love reading your blog and viewing the beautiful pictures you post of England. It is inspiring.

    Glad that you can follow your dream of traveling to Canada/US. Good luck:)

    • April 25, 2012 / 19:46

      Cheers for your kind comment Abby. I’m made up you find pictures inspiring – that’s made my day! :-)

  6. May 6, 2012 / 09:16

    Good for you. I’ve broken out of the steady job life once and moved across the ocean. Now a number of years later, I feel stuck again. Trying to work out a more permanent break from the chains of the desk. It is really difficult too.
    Hilarious that your boyfriend’s name is Andy. Despite the Andrew that I put around the web, in my personal life I definitely go by Andy as well. My wife is an Alison as well AND she did a 5 month travel stint last winter without me. I had the aforementioned job to deal with. I did get to go visit her for 2 weeks in NZ though. It was a big challenge being away from each other, but it does work. Skype is a wonderful tool and with you in Canada, it should be a better connection and more stable timezones than we had to deal with from South East Asia.
    All the luck on your trip.
    Andrew recently posted..Culture Flows Both WaysMy Profile

    • May 10, 2012 / 02:01

      There are quite a lot of parallels there, haha! Nice to hear about a couple that have been away from eachother and made it work. The airport goodbye wasn’t fun this morning, but he’s coming to visit in nine weeks (when put in weeks, it doesn’t sound quite as long!)Thanks for your well wishes.