How many times have you dreamed about a new place or country you’d like to visit? How many times have you imagined yourself lying on that exotic beach, exploring a new city, or eating amazing local food? There’s no doubt we can all get a little dreamy when we think about where we want to go next, or where we want our very first travel destination to be. Rest assured there’s nothing wrong with indulging in those daydreams. Traveling is dreamy and fun, and I think we all want a little more of it in our lives. So how do we get it?
You absolutely must prepare and plan for it. As much as we’d all like to be able to hop on a plane and be off the following week, that’s just not the reality for most of us. We all have responsibilities to take care of and traveling isn’t free. Ya gots to have funds, hun. That’s why if you know you want to travel, you need to prepare for it. While it might not happen next week – three months from now, six months from now, one year from now… if you plan for it, you just might be on that beach.
I know a little something about preparation. Nearly 15 years ago, I started my senior year of college knowing that I wanted to make my way to Africa. I didn’t have a specific country in mind – I just knew I wanted to go. A month or so into the school year, I saw an ad in our campus newspaper for an opportunity to volunteer in rural primary schools in Malawi. The moment I read it, I was hooked. It sounded like the perfect opportunity to make my dream of going to Africa a reality. I didn’t think twice about applying, and was amped when I was told I was one of the volunteers selected to go. Lucky me, right?
Looking back I wonder if it was pure luck, or was it “preparation meeting opportunity” as Oprah describes luck (Yep, I just went there with an Oprah reference). Sure there was some happenchance in that I stumbled across the ad. But there were many steps that I had to take to actually make it happen, including applying to become a volunteer and going through an interview process. After being selected I had to fundraise and I also contributed money I earned from working to actually pay for the trip, which cost thousands of dollars. So luck? Maybe a hint of it, but there was a lot of preparation and work to actually make my first trip to Africa a reality.
Now, I know many of us are wayyyyy pass our college years, so you might not relate to the college student part. I get that. This isn’t about looking for ads in newspapers – or rather online in today’s world. Instead it’s about determining what you need to do right now to make whatever travel dream you have come true. The common denominator here is the desire to travel and explore the world, and determining how you can actually make that happen in your life.
So where do you start? Consider what it is that you need to do in order to make your travel dream happen. For example, feel like you don’t have the money to travel? Perhaps now’s the time to do the math and determine how much travel money you can save if you make your coffee at home instead of picking it up everyday on the way to work. Feel like you can’t take time off of the job you’ve hated for five years? Now might be the time to consider looking for another job that will make you happy, or better yet getting started on that biz idea that you’ve been thinking about for the past several years.
The key here is that there really is a way – you just have to find the way that’s right for you and your situation. It’s probably not going to be easy, and you might even feel like there’s a thing or two that you have to sacrifice along the way. But when you’re sitting on that pristine exotic beach, walking that cobblestone path in a quaint little foreign town, or volunteering with kids in a developing country – I think you’ll look back and think it was all worth it.