Sometimes it feels like everybody I know is out there travelling the world, while I’m chained to my 9 to 5. Checking my Instagram feed has become a masochistic form of self-torture. Not everybody can afford to quit their job to travel the world, but that doesn’t mean we have to miss out. With a little creativity, I find I’m still able to have amazing travel experiences. Here are a few tips on how to see the world without quitting your job.
Visualise your goals
Sit down and ask yourself what’s important to you. Flesh out your travel dreams in as much detail as possible. Studies show that the more time you spending visualising your goals, the more likely you are to achieve them.
Book in advance
Not only will this save you a fortune, it will also prevent you from postponing at the last minute. Do you ever enthusiastically make plans with friends to go out on a Saturday night, only to wish you could just stay at home in your pyjamas when the day arrives? To avoid letting people down, you drag yourself out anyway, and usually end up having an amazing time. Same thing with travel – make plans to bypass your inner sloth!
Get some local knowledge
One of the reasons short trips squeezed in around work commitments seem a little unappealing sometimes, is because you an authentic travel experience seems impossible when you’re only spending 48 hours in a place. But don’t despair: do your research. Ask your well-travelled and international friends for tips. I might be biased, but I find staying in a hostel is the quickest way to get the track on a new place – travellers love to talk and help each other out with tips.
Learn to prioritise
Once you commit to making travel a priority, you’ll be less tempted to blow £8 on lunch out every day, or spend every Friday evening watching Netflix. No matter how busy or poor you think you are, there’s always scope for more adventure if you make it a priority. Being truly adventurous means squeezing little trips in between all the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Set up a travel fund
Take a long hard look at your outgoings and put some meaning behind those numbers. £3 for a coffee every morning doesn’t seem like a big deal, but when you multiply that and compare it to what £3 will buy you in somewhere like Thailand or Bulgaria, it suddenly doesn’t seem like such good value for money. Delayed gratification can be a wonderful thing.
Set yourself deadlines
It’s easy to put travel off because you’re exhausted by the daily grind, or you’ve got a lot on at work. But for true nomads, travel isn’t just a nice extra you do when you have time – it’s essential to your well-being. By setting yourself deadlines, you avoid the trap of “someday”.
Take small steps
I often feel overwhelmed when I think about how many places I’ve yet to see. Add to that the commitments of a full time job, and it can leave you feeling like a failure. But don’t let paralysis and inaction win – even a small step towards your goal of seeing more of the world, is a step in the right direction. So make plans, even small ones.
Make the most of your weekends
You have over 100 days of weekend a year. That’s nearly three months. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can only travel during your annual leave.
My most recent weekend adventure was to Paris – it’s ridiculously easy to get there and you’ll be rewarded with obscene amounts of Nutella. It may be the last thing you fancy doing after a long week at work, but once you’re actually there the tiredness will disappear. Of course, it would have been amazing to spend more than a weekend there, but it’s definitely better than nothing!
Adventure doesn’t always have to mean getting on a plane
True nomads can find adventure in their own back garden. Sometimes it’s just not practical to get on a plane and go to a different country, but if you open your eyes, there are plenty of hidden gems to explore right on your doorstep.
Ever notice how much fun you have showing international friends round your home city? Try to hold onto that enthusiasm and see your city with fresh eyes: don’t just go to the same old places. Branch out. I try to go at least one new place a week – even if that just means taking a stroll on my lunchbreak and hunting down the city’s best bagel shop. Go visit friends in other parts of the country – a weekend exploring Cambridge’s cobbled streets, or eating ice cream atop the white cliffs of Beachy Head can do you the world of good. My beautiful little country of England is chock full of adventures to be had, and so is yours!
Turn your family holiday into an epic adventure
Backpacking can be tough when a chunk of your annual leave and money are already set aside for standard family holidays. My wife is from the USA, meaning I often have to forego more frequent, shorter trips to new places in order to fund the larger annual trips to the States to visit family.
But who says that we can’t take advantage of these trips to see the world?! We always try to do something we’ve never done before while we’re there. We use our local knowledge to avoid the tourist traps and get off the beaten track.
Are you an expert in part-time adventure? Share your tips on how to see the world in the comments below!
Thanks to Wolfgang Staudt, Hernan Pinera, Falcon Photography, Cristian Bortles, Kosala Bandara, Andres Nieto Porras, Roman Boed, Nicolas Raymond, Thomas Tolkien, and Rushen, for their great Flickr pics.