The act of traveling has a pretty broad meaning. For some, travel means taking the occasional break from life to visit Barbados and sip on cocktails. For others, travel represents more of a long-term lifestyle than just a break. There really is no right or wrong way to travel, but for those of you who want to pack your bags for a more permanent sort of vacation, you can expect to find yourself confronted by some barriers along the way – some of them tangible, and some intangible.
While many argue that long term travel is the ultimate escape and pretty do-able – it’s no secret that strolling around the world at your own pace turns out to be more of a mental kind of trip than enjoying a package holiday. Here are four common barriers to long term travel, and how to overcome them:
The all time problem of MONEY:
Money is what will get you on a plane, afford you a nice warm bed, and allow you to do more of what you want while you are traveling. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that you will need at least a little bit of money to be on the road.
Thankfully, there are quite a few ways to solve this issue. The first is to save up a good amount before you go away. It’s not the most inspiring thought, but it helps to have a good stash of cash. Of course, no matter how much you save, it will run out eventually, unless you have a plan to earn a bit as you go. A friend of mine recently went on a year long trip while she continued to earn regularly by putting her apartment back home on Airbnb.
Travelers from all corners of the globe have come up with innovative methods to keep themselves afloat, from taking up remote jobs or freelance work, to volunteering for bed and board, or busking their way around with various talents from music to puppetry.
TIME that always seems to be too much or too less:
The dreaded barrier that rivals even money. You don’t have enough time to stay out any longer: your job is calling, your commitments are building, or you have self-imposed a time limit for enjoying the travel lifestyle before you ‘get real’ and settle down yet again.
The good news is, you have as much time to travel as you have time alive on this planet. There are people of all ages on the road, and there are just as many reasons to travel when you’re 70 as there are when you are 17. You can travel whenever you want, in small stints throughout life, while on sabbaticals, or in big chunks when the situation seems right.
If you have genuine commitments to work or relationships, then this is perfectly understandable. All it takes is some adaptation to balance the lifestyle. Consider taking a sabbatical from work to undergo a long trip, plan a travel stint in between jobs or on your long weekends, or take shorter trips so that you can spend more time with family and build your life back home.
The fear of being LONELY on the road
The next barrier to long term traveling is loneliness. Everyone craves human connection, and if you have awesome friends and family back home you are going to miss them naturally.
Travel gives you the opportunity to meet a lot of new people. Strangers quickly become friends. Even if you don’t like the idea of hanging around hostels to meet fellow travelers, you will come to find that every situation is a chance for interaction. It’s easier than you think to meet like-minded people, and to connect with locals and travelers alike.
Remember to think outside the box if you are struggling for ways to meet people. Why not check out local festivals, attend a class in something that interests you, or attend a live poker event such as the Pokerstars Panama Championship?
When you do miss your loved ones, and a quick Skype call just does not cut it, why not pay them a visit? The world is much smaller than it used to be, with low-cost airlines providing easy access to home. Go back regularly so that you don’t lose touch with family and friends.
Are you stopping YOURSELF?
The final barrier, and perhaps the greatest of all, is yourself! Opening yourself to the unknown causes – you to have to grow and change, get out of your comfort zone, adapt to all sorts of new situations, and to drop your sense of who you thought you were.
As you travel around the world, remain open to the new cultures around you, but also stay connected to your sense of self. Take time to rejuvenate, and take days off just to watch films and normalize your life. Not every day has to be intense, so find your own way to cultivate a happy and healthy travel lifestyle.