Several years ago, I set an intention to find mobile sources of income so I could indulge in my number one passion—travel– whenever I wanted for as long as I wanted. At the time, I had absolutely no idea how this would come about, but I held strong to my desire. I fell into a freelance writing opportunity that I found posted online and so began the realization of my dream. For the last few years, save a few trips back to the States, I have been wandering the globe. Traveling long-term internationally has been one of the most enriching experiences of my life and has shaped so much of who I am today. But, like anything worth doing, it is not always easy at times. Here are three nuggets of wisdom I would like to impart on you in hopes they will help you overcome hurdles and get the most out of your travels.
Accept There Will Be Bumps along the Way
As amazing as this experience is, snafus are inevitable. Sometimes it will be little things that will roll off your back no problem. Sometimes it will be bigger things that will send you into panic mode or fits of extreme anger. And then there are the times that the smallest thing will push you over the edge because you are just having a bad day and it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Right now you have visions of sightseeing, meeting fascinating people, soaking up the local culture and making your friends insanely jealous with all the awesome pictures you will be uploading to Facebook. But, know that challenges lie ahead. I don’t mean to say you should dwell on the negative, but if you fully accept this reality before you set out, you will be able to handle the moments better, and you will not let them ruin your trip or sour your experience of a particular place.
Don’t Feel Pressure to Do and See Everything
When we are traveling, naturally we want to get the most out of our experience. We are not going somewhere just to sit in a hotel room and watch TV, or just wander aimlessly along the streets. But, the pressure to always be doing and seeing something can really put a damper on the experience. When I first started traveling, I always felt the urge to be doing something, that if I wasn’t, I was wasting my time there. Because of this, I ended up doing a lot of things I really could have gone without, and spending a lot of money I could have put towards better use. I might have really liked one spot and wanted to stay longer, but then I thought I should move on because there was so much more to see.
So, I ended up taking long bus rides I did not feel particularly compelled to take, just so I could add one more notch to the travel belt. If we are honest with ourselves, this desire to see as much as possible is not just about our curiosity about the world, it is about our ego and wanting to impress people with the list of countries and cities visited. One of the most enriching things about my travel experience is really getting to know a place well.
Perspective is a beautiful thing—no matter what is happening to us, we can choose how to view the situation and how to respond. Remember tip one about preparing yourself for all the challenges? When they eventually rear their ugly heads, you will have a golden opportunity to adopt a perspective that will make you feel less badly, and more accepting. Will you always do this? Absolutely not. I speak from experience. But, I am getting better at it, and even when I do still get a bit ‘’insert negative emotion here,’’ I find I can often let go of it more quickly.
Sure, getting overcharged is annoying, but when we are talking about amounts that total a few dollars, no need to get too angry right? Sure, that ‘’luxury’’ bus is anything but; but, it is just for a few hours and if this is your biggest problem of the day, not so bad right? No matter what happens on your trip, always try to keep perspective.