This post originally appeared in The Huffington Post on June 3, 2014. This is the original.
So you want to head out and see the world but you don’t know where to start? Here’s the best advice the internet can possibly provide to put your plans into motion, step-by-step.
Step 1: Just. Go.
That’s it! Yes, all the blogs have extensive lists and plans and budgets and…stop. Stop all the planning and the counting and the researching and just go. If you want to travel you need to make it happen. You can sit for as long as you want to behind that computer making your lists and checking your accounts and researching the places you wish you were instead of where you are in this moment. OR… you can take that step and be there and make it your new reality.
Despite what the rest of the Internet is telling you, you don’t need to research for months and count your pennies to save up tens of thousands of dollars to finally feel the freedom to wander off on your own.
When you decide it’s time to leave, go. That’s it. Don’t worry that you won’t have enough money, you do. And if you run out? Find a job to make more. As you travel you learn there are so many alternatives to working in a traditional 9-5 office job. Options are plentiful in touristy areas and the number of online-based jobs continues to increase. If you choose travel over career, you’ll find a way. And if you’re lucky, the two might even coincide.
Don’t make a daily budgeting plan, it will restrict your ability to enjoy each day. New opportunities pop up – seize them without worrying if it will break your budget. If you want to do it badly enough, you’ll make it happen.
If you want to go somewhere else, get up and move. No one else can do it for you. At the end of the day, this whole travel thing is being made out to be so complicated and convoluted. If you want to go somewhere else, just go.
Sure, things don’t always work out perfectly as planned. That’s why you need to stop planning everything!
If you plan ahead, you won’t be happy where you are right now – you will always be in the future worrying about the next step, the next place, the next item to check off some bucket list. You will have destroyed your own ability to choose in already deciding your future before knowing all the options. If your aim is to travel and see more places to experience new things, you have to be open to those experiences. They will come to you along the way, don’t worry about finding them before you even leave home. Chance encounters, kind strangers, local experts – they will guide your days better than any research online could possibly do for you.
The blogosphere is absolutely filled to the brim with advice on long-term planning for extensive travel and how you need to monitor every aspect of your life to make it realistic. When you plan for everything, you miss out on all the amazing opportunities that weren’t written into the plan at the beginning. Open yourself up to your own new experiences and opportunities rather than planning to follow the limited options provided via others’ paths. The only way to start to travel is to actually do it.
People have been moving and shifting for millennia – you will not be a pioneer, nor should you fear any unknown. The only unknowns should entice you to keep moving and to keep learning. Travel is a way of being rather than a multi-page document outlining each step you must take along the way lest you miss something deemed important by others. Stop the planning. Stop the researching. Stop the counting. Just stop trying to force all your ducks into a row all the time. They have wings for a reason.