The solitude and fear of loneliness, is within all of us, but its important to break that boundary and not be afraid of living our lives to its fullest potential, especially if thats a desire of living the life of traveling and freedom. - Lauren Martin
As a woman I feel, the opportunity of living a new lifestyle abroad is an opportunity many crave for, and still being able to travel the world. Leaving everything behind is a very freeing yet strange feeling, sometimes hard to describe. When you finally quit that job you have been dreading for months, maybe even years. You let go of old friends, boyfriend, girlfriend, close friends and family to come to the realization that you have come to a point in your life where you are desiring more freedom, solitude, self-discipline and independence. Maybe you want to search for a deeper meaning in life, and understand yourself better, so therefore turning off your routine alarm and instead listen to the sounds of the sea. I believe this is a doable opportunity for almost anyone, it’s just going about doing it, having some finances, being logical and having the willpower and creativity to succeed.
Why most people are scared to live or travel abroad?
The stability and comfortable lifestyle is something many people are afraid to give up, maybe they are too comfortable. But they continue living paycheck to paycheck and want the American dream. Such as a house (mortgage 100-500K) marriage (50-100K) and children (100-500K per child) in a lifetime. Don’t get me wrong, I am not criticizing anyone for that life decision, maybe it’s been a dream all their lives, but for a travel-addict and non-materialistic millennial, I feel life is more about exploration, minimalistic lifestyle, open-mind frame and less is more kind of approach. But success to one person could be something different to another. One could say getting a house, and being married by the time they are 25 is success, where as another person might climb the top of mount Everest and find great success. Having diversified mindsets is what makes the world wonderful, and beautiful in many ways. I think the most important thing for a solo traveller, who wants a steady income and has some sort of talent in either business, web design, graphics, social media, selling, advertising etc., has a shot at making something happen online for themselves, to get them on a beach in Tahiti in no time (You can even bring your family).
12 Reasons of "Fear" Breakdown
These are just a summed breakdown, which doesn’t mean this list is necessarily “bad” in anyway. It’s just an overall indication on what most people feel would stop them from living a solo/travel lifestyle.
1. No income or saved money
2. Scared of being independent
3. Worried about media and violent acts of terror in the world
4. Work priority
5. Lack of stability
6. Too comfortable
7. Family first
8. Insane debt
9. Settled down (no interest in travel)
11. Scared of leaving friends and family
12. Fear of being alone
Why it's important to have Income or saved money?
This is obviously a given, but it's not the most important thing to reach your travel goals. If you want it, you need to focus and do whatever it takes to get it. That being said, whenever I go to a store, and I have a specific "trip goal for example" I need to consider my options and save money for what’s more important to me. “Especially being a fashionista” and if I see a cute outfit, or something…I usually think to myself “no, you need to save for the trip!” You can buy a nice outfit in Paris, France well you're sipping a delicious cappuccino in Italy or lounging around the beach looking at precious stones handmade by vendors in Thailand. In the end, saving just to save can always be worth it too. Sometimes it's hard, but force yourself to realize money can buy happiness in other ways than materialistic items that make you happy for that one moment, Instead of gazing off Machu Picchu at the beautiful sunset in the mystic mountains. Seriously watch your spending habits, put a lump sum of money in a savings account and don’t touch it for a year or two or longer. It’s possible to save if you figure out your priorities and goals you wish to achieve with your money. Experiences are the most valuable gift in life, so take it cause you only have one life to live it. Stop waiting start doing.
Why are you scared of being Independent?
This one is big, because I can relate to being dependent on others for things in life. But you’re older now, and it's time to let go and be free. Take on more responsibility, treat others with respect and really get to know who you are as an individual. You can’t do that being stuck to others. You really need to-do things on your own, go on a trip solo; meet new people on your own and you might be surprised and really like it! Take a deep breath and get over that speed bump, cause I can promise you a smoother ride after you take the leap.
Worried about media and violent acts of terror in the world?
These days media has a way of blowing up stories, making anything sound horrible, whether it's a an attack on another nation, person, animal or the overall safety in the country. I completely understand the fear, but really get your facts straight and understand for yourself before you venture out into the unknown. If it makes you feel better, do some research on specific destinations, and understand the best times to travel. If you are going to an Islamic country for example, wear what they are wearing and really know the culture before you arrive. Respect is the most important form of human engagement and flattery, and being well prepared before you arrive. For example, I travelled to Morocco, and I wanted to really understand the culture, so I dressed from head-to-toe, covered my hair and neck in 30 degree Celsius. I was therefore never harassed, bothered and was respected by the people, even though it was a highly touristic city. Try to be inconspicuous in any place, and that might save you from any harm or harassment. Be smart, do your research, and don't travel if there is a terrorist threat, or alert in any country around the world. The media will trick you to believe almost anything, so my advice is to really look into it yourself.
Why work is your main priority?
We live in a society that is focused on work before play, supporting the family, paying debts, bills and a heavy mortgage. Maybe you're a nurse and therefore the flexibility to travel is difficult in most circumstances. Or maybe you're a 9-5 kind of person and you feel comfortable in that lifestyle. Those jobs are totally okay, and I completely respect the professions and choices made, but are you truly happy in life? Do you jump up for joy every morning and love life! Maybe you feel like your current situation is the only means of survival in this world, but I beg to differ and live is full of so many unique possibilities, it's never too late to early to change your path. Life itself is full of so many opportunities and freedoms, people are afraid to go after, or wondering how tangible it is to reach. You can't just put everything down and leave it all behind, but give it a couple years to work towards, and dreams can become reality. It's just trying to understand how to go about it, and what changes need to be made in your current situation. Money is important, but it's not the only important thing in life.
Why people fear a lack of stability, and prefer being in a comfort zone?
I totally understand, it’s important to have a good amount of stability in life, and it's definitely good to have a "back up" plan. If you ever decide to pack everything up and move abroad, or travel for a few months, you need to have some sort of financial earnings or a decent amount saved up, and you need to have a few online projects if you want to travel long-term. When I was travelling in Europe, I met this one girl who worked everyday from her laptop throughout most of her days and accumulated a decent amount of online clients, with her graphic design company. Each month she decided to live in a new city, and work from her computer. Most of her income came from her clients all over the world, but also generated on her blog, illustrations and other sustainable projects. Over the past 5-10 years she gained valued clients and that’s how her success and travel came about last year.
Another story I heard was a friend of mine, he worked from his laptop as an English teacher online, and also as a programmer for a client in person. He worked consistently with her on websites and other design projects. He also worked at a hostel in Barcelona, and so his living expenses and food were for free, and also did bartending in the hostel bar.
I was able to earn my own income from working as a private English tutor abroad for a host family. I just needed to pick up one of the girls from school, take her home, have a snack and then assist with homework. This happened 3-4 times per evening. I also worked at the Roman Colosseum as a tour coordinator, and that was an extra source of income. Then I worked as an English teacher in a private British school in Rome, and worked a couple afternoon/evenings throughout the week and weekends. If you plan to live with a host family, the right match is definitely important for your over all experience. The bonus is room and board is included, as well as personal requests like a transit pass, flexibility for travel time off and weekends free... etc. It's important to be upfront with what your desires are, and be honest. Living with a host family definitely had its pro's and if you want to take care of someone else's child, earn some money and work a little on your spare time. Maybe this is one great option for you.
Another type of job on the go as a traveller, is working for a hostel in a city. This has its perks for meeting new travellers, communication in other languages, free breakfast or meals, and a free room. I'm sure you can coordinate hostel events, group tours and more. You could do something like this for a couple of months, save up and move onto the next destination. Another idea is, If you want to work in the city, and only speak English for example, you could work in almost any touristic restaurant, bar, retail shop, English school, tutoring or a tour company. If you live in Spain for example, I would recommend knowing some basic sentences in the common language. This will be a huge advantage. Nothing will happen unless you apply. People say jobs are hard to get and many others take the jobs first, well that’s because they put themselves out there, went for it and applied their butts off and communicated as effectively as they could to go get it. You can live wherever you want in this world, it's worth the extra time and effort to send an email, follow up and know the right people, who might be able to help you also.
Family always comes first
They have been there for you and you have been there for them, set dinner on the table every evening and even tucked them in each night. Never abandon your family, but don't give up all your dreams for someone else. You are just as important and you need to treat yourself and not always be dependent on family and friends for every life decision you make. I think its good to have space, and relaxation alone, and even communicate a plan with your partner, and do some research before. Communication is key, and ladies if you have time off and you want a vacation, and your significant other can't get time off... why not go off and do your own thing for once? Send your husband a complete itinerary of where you're staying, what your doing each day, phone numbers and all the necessary information. Trust is one of the most important things in a relationship, isn't it? So don't feel bad about going out and living your life. Go for it!
Being Overwhelmed in Debt
This is obviously an important key factor that determines whether or not you can really pack up everything and leave, or even affords a week of travel. You need to have some sort of funding saved up, even if it’s enough for a flight ticket and a couple months of rent. Depending on where you plan to travel, this can also be a deciding factor. But when it comes down to it, you really do need some money saved, and majority of your debt taken care of. Having a few different jobs is a great way to maximize your savings and allows you to put some money aside for "a rainy day," or for your next travel adventure. There are always top priorities and you just need to figure out exactly what they are, but don't feel you can't take a vacation.
Once you have something lined up overseas, or online it can really ease the tension for you if you're struggling to save enough funds in time for your trip. It's not going to be easy, and you really need to have willpower to motivate yourself to fix your debt, and come up with a strategic plan. But at the same time, some people are in so much debt paying down their mortgage, other expenses that their complete focus is solely on paying off the debt and forgetting about living life and enjoyment. "There’s good news: You don’t need fancy finance apps on your phone, or complicated spreadsheets with countless spending categories to understand how much you can spend. You simply need to follow the 50-20-30 Rule". - Kali Hawlk
What is the 50-20-30 Rule?
The 50-20-30 Rule helps you build a budget by using three spending categories:
- 50% of your income should go to living expenses and essentials. This includes your rent, utilities, and things like groceries and transportation for work.
- 20% of your income should go to financial goals, meaning your savings, investments, and debt-reduction payments (if you have debt, such as credit card payments).
- 30% of your income should be used for flexible spending. This is everything you buy that you want but don’t necessarily need (like money spent on movies and travel).
- See more at: https://www.trulia.com/blog/budgeting-50-20-30-rule/#sthash.CUPQezbX.dpuf
When People decide to "Settle" down
People have priorities in life, like I mentioned in a few paragraphs, and some prefer to settle down and live their life at home, meet that special someone and go to Cuba once a year. That's totally OK, and I completely understand. But I feel that life is here for exploring, adventure and self-discovery. Being at home might be your only option, because you feel safe and comfortable or you have three kids running around, and bills to pay. Sometimes it's important to get out of your comfort zone, because some people live their entire life in their same hometown, same house, with all their close family and raise their own kids and get married..etc. That’s just the choice they made and feel comfortable doing it that way. Some people fear change and like things the way they are or going the "easy road" but there really isn't an easy path to go down. Life continues to evolve and there is no way to stop change. I would embrace it rather than fight it. You can never regret the life of freedom and exploration. Try changing your routine and maybe it might be better for you and help you gain a new perspective.
Why be so Materialistic?
Why have so much, and really have nothing at all. I mean you could have a huge mansion with all the clothes, furniture, toys, wine coolers, latest gadgets, jewellery..etc. and still not be happy enough. You could have all the money in the world, and still not be happy enough. But when you create lasting relationships, build friendships, make new memories and share experiences. Those are lasting and non-materialistic experiences you can't buy. Have you ever regretted travel? Going to a paradise, relaxing on the beach and wishing you could be there everyday... maybe even retire there. Think of the amount of money you could save, instead of putting it towards a $1000 sofa. You could even sell some items, and save $600. Experiences in life really shape us, and help us become who we are today.
Living a minimal lifestyle can help with anxiety, allowing us to have more time to ourselves instead of cleaning every inch of a 3000 square foot home. Having simple meals, taking time to share stories and memories with each other, and even focusing less on social media and more on family and friends. Being active and putting money towards events, climbing mountains, being outdoors and less on how many TV's can be in each room of my home. Less is more, and some might not agree, but that’s ok. Some people just feel more comfortable being surrounded by stuff, and having everything in your dream home. I totally agree with having a nice place to relax and really feel it is yours and it's something you earned, but you can honestly do that in a minimalistic way, and spend your money on experiences rather than everything you can own.
Why fear being alone?
When people think of traveling alone, they automatically believe they will be "completely alone", I mean in some moments maybe you will be, but when you venture out into the world, there are so many incredible human beings that are roaming the earth alone too. So why not share the adventure together. Sometimes having that constant travel companion won't allow you to completely experience it all. Do you both agree on every restaurant, which direction to turn, what museum to stop in, and maybe even what destinations all together. You are in control, and you decide what, where and who you're going to meet along the way. How exciting is that? Being in control of your life, and facing obstacles with new people along the way.
When you’re alone, it allows you to really get to know yourself better and to think about your own choices every time. What am I going to eat tonight? Well, that’s completely your choice and no one else's. The adventure is all yours and no one can stop you. At first it might be scary, especially booking your first flight alone for 7 hours to Europe for example, or staying in a hotel alone. That just means no one's snoring will keep you up, or you can get out and leave whenever you want. It can be a really rewarding and peaceful experience, and the world is all yours. One way to meet new people is through different travel apps like CouchSurfing, online Facebook Groups (GLT, BackpackersEurope) etc. and through Hostel-world you can book your stays with how many people you request in your room. It's like living with awesome travel roommates for shifts throughout the day, or spending a week or more together. There are so many great options, and I wouldn't worry about being in a little solitude, you are bound to meet new people, and make new lasting friendships abroad, and on your travels.
If you don't go for things in life, you might keep wondering what if, and miss out on life’s greatest adventures. Stop fearing, and start living and meet some like-minded and incredible people along the way. Taking time to plan can really go along way and make a difference in your experience, but sometimes being spontaneous and let life take the wheel, can leave you with an even better journey waiting for you.
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Comment below if you have any travel stories you would love to share!
Let's connect! I love meeting open-minded travellers, and people wishing to take on a new journey in their lives. Send an email to lovely Lauren at firstname.lastname@example.org.
~xx Lauren Martin