When you travel a lot, you get used to hearing the same sentence all over again from friends, family members, or even strangers. The three words that they think make a lot of sense and might make you feel good about yourself, but that never fail to frustrate me. ‘I envy you’ is something that I hear way too often, and I finally wanted to address this issue that’s been bothering me for quite some time now.
It is no lie that travelling can be costly. Plane tickets, train rides, accommodation and entrance to tourist attractions do weight on your wallet and there is no denying that – it is a part of travelling and to some extent it can make it harder for people to afford that trip they have been dying to go on. However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be this way and, contrarily to the public opinion (among people who don’t travel much, at least), there are multiple ways in which you can afford to travel without having to spend your entire paycheck. You just gotta open your mind a bit and go past the conventional ways of travelling (I’ll be doing a more specific post on this soon – stay tuned to the blog!).
When my friends tell me that they ‘envy’ me, that I am living the life while they have to stay home and work / study, I tell them ‘why?’. Why am I luckier than you guys, with a modest family behind me, in no way rich, with responsibilities just like any other person on this planet including education, working and all that boring stuff. How am I luckier?
Admittedly, I do have my own blessings in life. First of all, I have a family who supports me and always tries to provide me with the best options in life. I am grateful of that and, to some extent, I do believe that my exploring persona wouldn’t be the same without this kind of support throughout my adolescence. However, as I said, that doesn’t mean that I am extremely lucky in a financial sense, because my family is very much in the medium range and has always been. So how do I do it, you might ask. Why do I get to do all things while other people can’t?
In most cases, my answer is that I want to do these things. I know it sounds stupid, over simplistic, maybe a bit presumptuous, but it is the truth. I am constantly on skyscanner on the lookout for cheap flights ANYWHERE, I have been using couchsurfing (both to host and be hosted) for quite some time and I always try to reduce my spendings to a minimum. This includes my normal living situation – meaning I don’t go out as much, I don’t eat out as much, try to work when I can and I am always trying to save some dolla – and also my travelling situation, which again means I don’t book all those tours, pay all those attraction tickets or try all of those restaurants when I am away. I simply do the best I can to see and live the place I am visiting, without too much fuss and simply enjoying the experience.
Once again, I am aware that this does not apply to everyone. Some people do have responsibilities which cannot be ignored, such as a 24/7 work that does not leave you any time to travel, a family to look after or maybe some other impediment that physically prevents you from being able to take the trip. However, I gotta say most of the time it is a mental barrier that is stopping people from travelling as much as they should or they would like to. A lot of my friends are too scared of being on their own and, for lack of friends to travel with, they choose to stay home instead and just call me lucky when I talk about my own trips, which I often take on my own (I wrote about this here). Some other people are convinced that travelling is this massive investment, when in reality finding a cheap as fuck return ticket is easier than you think, and after that you’re just gonna spend slightly more than you would on a daily basis (especially if you decide to couchsurf). Some think that you need an enormous amount of time to travel, when in fact you can easily take a short two-day trip somewhere close, because travelling isn’t just going abroad but also exploring your own surroundings.
Point is, I agree that travelling can be expensive at times. That factor depends on where you want to go, how you want to travel and the kind of person you are. But that aside, travelling is not just for the “lucky” people, because it doesn’t just take luck but also commitment and motivation. Anyone can travel as long as they want to, so stop “envying” people and start working on it! Most of the travellers I have met during my trips were people who had worked their asses off the save money and, despite not having much, set off on their adventure anyway and found unique ways to keep themselves going. I even read about a guy who set off to Iceland with $200 and after months he was still there, which is quite impressive considering how bloody expensive Iceland can be. And if they do it, why can’t everyone else?
Bottom line… Travelling is not a waste of money and it’s not harder than you think. It’s a personal investment in the sense that if you decide to put in effort, time and savings, it will reward you with experiences you will never forget and that will always shape you through life. If you’re looking for ways to travel cheap, keep an eye on the blog as I will be posting something more specific on that soon. 🙂 In the meantime.. don’t be scared, don’t have prejudices and don’t overthink the situation. Just shut up, go out there and start exploring! The only one stopping you is yourself. 🙂