Wanderlust – a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about.
I can’t be the only person who spends a huge chunk of time daydreaming about the next time I get to travel somewhere new. I literally have spent hours of my life planning vacations that I am not going on in the foreseeable future. If you are traveling to Italy or Australia any time soon, I have a detailed itinerary that you can use. I know exactly how much money you need to fly to Iceland, and I can tell you about how much a nice hotel will cost in the heart of London. However, as a struggling college student, I don’t have near enough money to make these dreams a reality…right now. What am I supposed to do? How do I stay content with my day to day life if I can’t get world travel out of my mind?
The answer to these questions is a complicated one. It’s easy to imagine that spending a majority of the year traveling would be an incredibly fulfilling lifestyle. Experiencing new cultures and learning about the world full-time would be a dream come true. I can’t imagine anything better, but here’s the sad truth. It’s not financially feasible for most people to spend all their time traveling.
If you are anything like me, you follow several Instagram accounts that display the adventures of a person who seems to be traveling literally all the time, and you are totally jealous of them. However, what we don’t see are the long hours that person spent working terrible jobs to get there. We don’t see the times they ate mediocre microwave meals instead of going to their favorite restaurant, and we don’t see the times they decided not to buy the trendiest clothes or go see the movie in theaters or go on a weekend getaway. Like everything in life, getting to travel takes a lot of dedication, and you may have to go without the superficial luxuries we are all accustomed to having. Unless you are lucky enough to be born into a wealthy family with a private jet, you are going to have to actively SAVE MONEY. Shocker, I know.
Trust me, I know how hard it is to resist the urge to spend $15 at La Cabana because cooking just seems like too much work. However, if you really want to travel, that is what it takes. I, personally, got tired of wondering when I would get to see the world, so I started working for it. I opened a new savings account that is specifically for travel, and I put a certain amount of money into it every single time I get paid. I have cut way back on eating out, and I don’t buy every cute outfit that I find online. I have resisted the urge to buy two separate concert tickets in the last month, which is a huge sacrifice because I love concerts almost more than anything. These are just small actions, but they make a huge difference. I already have almost enough money to buy plane tickets to go to Hawaii this summer, and it isn’t even Christmas yet. This is just proof that it IS possible. I work a part-time, minimum wage job, and I am making it happen because it is my top priority. However, sometimes your urge to get Sonic cheese sticks will be stronger than your willpower, and this is OK, too. If I gave up every time I bought something that I immediately regretted, I wouldn’t have saved anything at all. Cut yourself some slack! Slipping up is just a part of being human.
Once you have the money situation worked out, be sure to jump into traveling opportunities feet first. College is a wonderful time to see the world because we aren’t tied down to careers and families just yet, so if you think you might want to go on that travel study, DO IT. If you think you have enough money to go to L.A. with your friends, DO IT. Don’t miss out just because you are afraid something might go wrong. I promise you will regret it if you let these opportunities pass you by. Life is all about taking chances, and what better chance to take than making a new memory on a once in a lifetime vacation. All most of us want is to make it to 80, look back on life and be content with what we have accomplished. I encourage you to make world travel a part of that and to never forget that the things in life that mean the most take time, sacrifice and hard-work.
Photo courtesy of Kalen Emsley on Upsplash