With the holiday season upon us, and 2017 rounding the bend, you may be thinking of making your yearly resolution of taking that dream vacation, experiencing that unknown land, picnicking under the Eiffel Tower, walking the expanse of the Great Wall of China, taking that African safari…
Then January 2nd arrives, and all of your travel fantasies are swept away as quickly as the confetti at Time Square..
I can almost hear your words:
It’s just not the right time–holiday bills to pay in January and February, baby and bridal showers in March and April, graduation parties in May and June, summer weddings, fall home repairs, the 2017 holidays are approaching…and there you have it–it’s 2018, and the cycle repeats.
IT WILL NEVER BE THE RIGHT TIME TO TRAVEL! If you are waiting for the universe to send down a divine message saying “Now is the perfect time–the planets have aligned–all is right with the world–IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN!
Today IS the tomorrow you talked about last year. And next year there will still be bills to pay, there still won’t be enough money, there will still be cousin Joe’s wedding and Aunt Bertha’s 98 Birthday party.
Another News Flash:
You, my friend, are running out of tomorrows. You cannot come back from eternity to visit the Pyramids or hike the Alps. Your life is not a round trip ticket. When you are old and gray, are you going to say, “I’m so glad I dreamed of traveling to all the beautiful places on this Earth but never got to any of them. Great Job, Me! I was fiscally responsible. I paid all of my bills. I stayed within my comfort zone. I accumulated lots of material goods. I lived the same monotonous life day in and day out for 70+ years…”
Growing up, I had the most amazing aunt who traveled the world. She would bring me back artifacts from her travels–silk from China, paints from India, gold jewelry from Italy, etc. I have often wondered what it was inside of her that gave her the freedom and strength to book those flights, where most of us are content reading about such places in travel magazines? Upon reflection, I’ve come up with one answer:
I cannot speak for the rest of the world, but I can speak for America. Here you are expected to go to college right after high school, get a job, marry, buy that dream house, have your 2.5 children, raise your grandchildren, end up in a nursing home and that’s it–you’ve mastered the cliche American dream. You led a safe, predictable and hopefully happy life. However, anything outside of that guided path is considered strange. “People who travel a lot must be running away from reality, they aren’t being responsible, they are living in a dream world, they are running away from life…”
The fact is nothing could be more opposite. When teaching my students about the holocaust, it is that one student out of 25 that has visited Dachau. That student basically ends up teaching the lessons because she has had first hand experience witnessing the place the rest of us only see on page 276 of our social studies textbook. She shares, “There is a disheartening aura that hovers over Dachau. Being there reminds you that we cannot just turn our backs to someone else’s problems simply because they aren’t our own. The air there still has a slight smell to it, and you can almost imagine the strong smell of flesh and hair being burnt. You can feel the hateful energy go through you with every step you take. You will be humbled. You will be sad. You will never be the same person you were before stepping foot in Dachau.”
This student’s family has traveled all around the world. They are by no means wealthy. Are they running away from life, or running towards it?
Fear of not following the norm can be paralyzing. Fear can cause us to say we’ll take those chances someday, knowing well enough someday will never occur. Fear keeps us living as society deems acceptable. No matter how people deny it, we all sadly want to fit in.
I am by no means saying quit your job or accumulate mountains of debt. Yes, travel is often expensive, but blogging has allowed us to meet so many solo and family travelers that do so on significant budgets. There is a family of five who has traveled the world for ten months on a budget of $140 a day. It is possible.
And I am by no means saying miss out any significant family events. What I am saying is, stop making excuses. If traveling is your passion, you can make it possible.
I can say all of this, because I was, and still am basically, one of the cookie-cutter, inside the “box” people who have followed the expected path. But now, being in my forties, I can clearly say, tomorrow is an excuse. If you are young, travel now. If you are old, travel now. If you have kids, travel now. If you are solo, travel now. If you have responsibilities, travel now. If you have errands to run, deadlines to meet, promises to keep, travel now…. because there are miles to go before you sleep.