If you’re reading this post, then there’s a good chance that travel is an important part of your life – perhaps the most important.
But getting to the stage where you can actually travel the world freely isn’t easy. You need to do a lot of prep first. And sometimes that process can take years.
In this post, we don’t talk about destinations or incredible locations. Instead, we take a look at some of the things you need to get sorted first before you go abroad and live the life of your dreams.
Work It Out Financially
Everyone tells you that you “only have one life” and that “you should always pursue your passions.” But is this advice wise?
Well, it depends. It certainly sounds good. And for many people, it makes sense. But there are big caveats.
The first caveat is that you need a money-making plan. Quitting your job seems empowering until you find out that you’ve bled your savings dry and have to go home and live with your parents.
The other caveat is that choosing a life of travel implies massive opportunity costs. You’re not pursuing a regular career, and so you miss out on the life that you would have had.
The trick here is to make it work financially for you in a way that doesn’t leave you longing for your previous life. Ideally, you need to find a way to monetize your travels and make the most of them.
A lot of people, for instance, create videos or write blogs to make ends meet. They share their travel adventures with others, hoping to have an impact. Some actually manage to fund their adventures via advertising, subscriptions, and Patreon donations because their audience loves what they do.
The most critical part of your prep, therefore, involves working out how you’re going to finance all this stuff.
Let’s list some of your options:
- Create investments that provide enough passive income to sate your traveling needs
- Work in the countries you travel to as a teacher, foreign aid worker, or hospitality staff
- Share your travel experiences with a paying community
- Share your adventures on social media in exchange for advertising money
- Create a travel brand associated with your name and host your own tours
- Make affiliate commission by reviewing and recommending package holidays
Sort Your Kit
The next step in the process is to sort your kit. Becoming a permanent traveler sounds like a life of luxury, but it’s actually quite minimalist. When you explore the world, you don’t want a lot of possessions weighing you down. It’s best to travel light whenever you can.
So what kit do you need?
Documents are the first thing you’ll want. Passports, visas, identification cards, tickets – everything you need to formally move from country to country.
The next is all your standard travel kit.
If you’re traveling in equatorial countries, you’ll need sunscreen, shades from sites like www.eyeglasses.com, and, perhaps, mosquito nets, depending on where you’re staying.
If you’re going somewhere colder inside the arctic circle, you’ll want to pack all your layers (including base layer, mid and outer shell), as well as waterproof boots, mitts, waterproof trousers, and a snood.
You’ll also want to bring something with you that allows you to ask for help in the native language. In the old days, people would bring phrasebooks with them, but you can now use apps (which are great for slashing your luggage weight if you’re going to multiple countries). Here’s a link to a good example on play.google.com.
Manage Your Expectations
If you think that travel is all about leisure and having fun, then you’re in for a rude awakening. That’s not the reality for the vast majority of people – even those with plenty of money behind them.
Travel is a life-affirming experience, but only if you have the right mindset and research.
If you’re traveling to volunteer, be sure to gather as much information about the role as you can. Reading through a massive prospectus document isn’t always a lot of fun. But it helps you get to know the kind of experience you’re likely to have.
Many people go on these volunteer expeditions expecting the people at the other end will treat them well. But that’s not always how it turns out in practice. The food is often poor, and you’re expected to work for upwards of eight hours a day, giving you less time to actually explore your surroundings.
When researching a destination, also spend time looking into the local customers and culture. Think about the climate and whether it suits your body type. And also read up on local laws. You may not have the same freedoms that you enjoy in your home country (or you may have more!)
The next step is to get your mindset right. How you approach traveling will determine how the experience feels for you. Going into it believing that it will be bliss from start to finish, like a holiday, is setting yourself up for trouble.
Try not to go into it with specific positive expectations. Instead, view it as an adventure. See it as a kind of work.
Travel also requires commitment. If you’re a part of a program, then the last thing you want to do is drop out. When it comes to travel, the more you give, the more you get out of the experience. If you’re worried about the amount of work involved, contact the organizer and ask them about evenings and weekends off.
Get Your Health Sorted
So many people have bad travel experiences because they don’t sort their health in advance. All travel is fun, but only if you feel well while you’re doing it. Nothing is worse than being sick in a foreign land, unable to get help.
So what can you do? The top of the list should be making sure you get the vaccinations you need. You also want to improve your nutritional status and deal with any ongoing infections. If you have a chronic condition, be sure to take your meds, complete with a doctor’s note.