Saving up some cash for a “vacation” (I use this term loosely) can be difficult at times. I understand the feeling of watching your paycheck go into your bank account, and then leave soon after to pay bills. You start to wonder, where did all my money go? I couldn’t have possibly spent everything I earned in the past few weeks.. Then you put together your different expenses whether they be rent, groceries, credit card bills, gasoline, insurance, eating out, etcetera, and you’re like wow! There really wasn’t a mistake, I literally worked for that money, and now it’s gone. I often joke, “if I had all the money back that I’ve spent on alcohol, I’d be rich”.
Now it’s your turn to insert your vice or guilty pleasure into that statement.
If you’re living paycheck to paycheck or pretty close to it, I challenge you to double check your expenses. Is there anything that you’ve spent money on that you kinda wish you didn’t? Now let’s think of the term “money” and “value” interchangeably. I say this because money is a concept that was invented to be a representation of value. Yes, money makes things possible, but if you’re putting it towards things you don’t value then you’re wasting the time, and effort you contributed for that paycheck. In other words, you’re investing your life for what? This is especially the case if you’re not spending the money for your interests, but for the interests of others. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) may be the culprit. Don’t let FOMO win.
I started getting tired of watching all my money disappear. Then I started doing weird stuff that people in their early-mid 20s don’t typically do, and by this, I mean researching financial life hacks, educating myself on frugality, going extreme when cutting expenses.. all because I have a certain focus.
I’m really focused on traveling and meeting people from different cultures. I want to experience diverse places in all senses of the word. My value lies in the experiences I have, and not in the things I obtain.
Traveling really has opened up my mind to that. Always moving around is much easier with less stuff, so it really makes you think about which items have value and which do not. This is especially the case when you’re carrying your life on your back or in your car.
The thing is, you can look at all your possessions and think, “do I own them or do they own me?” Would you be devastated if your shirt got ripped or would you understand that it’s a shirt, and not the end of the world. Now look at your potential from the perspective of money and time.
Your shirt is ripped, so do you go buy another one to replace it even though you have a whole wardrobe full of shirts, or do you just live without because that money could be used for something different/better. This could be something different for everyone. For example, instead of buying a shirt, consider using that money to fund a trip to wherever you want to go.
Realizing that “less is more” is such an enriching concept. It opens up so much opportunity for whatever your value may be. Determine your value, and you can really take control of your life.
“Jobs fill your pockets, adventure fills your soul”.
I enjoy cutting expenses to save money, and then going on adventures. I leave with my pockets full, and a heart that I make sure is open for the world. The more I travel, the more I don’t want to stop. It’s the blunt truth. Eventually, I want to come back to the United States and start a family, but that is in the future at a time unbeknownst to me.
Although I saved money, I didn’t save THAT much money to continue traveling for years. Everyone who has been on a vacation knows that money leaves your bank account pretty dang fast. There has to be a way to make this sustainable. It’s important to carry some sort of budget when you’re traveling to assure your ability to afford all the things that are really important to you.
One pivotal change I have made to myself while traveling is the act of dropping my pride. Growing up, I have always considered myself as a strong independent person that doesn’t need help, because I think I can do it myself. I didn’t view myself as a weak individual so why would I seek assistance, or accept it when offered? I’ve discovered that this mindset separates you from others, and it costs more money. Car pooling, apartment sharing, and group meals are just three of countless examples that save money, save resources, build connection etc.
I ask for help a lot. The beautiful thing is that if you ask for help enough times, someone will help you. Asking for help has literally been so massively life changing. There is no way I could ever possibly repay the people who have given me assistance, but I can do my best to try. Yet, these folks never ask anything in return. It’s just human nature to help people, so if someone helps you, and you can’t pay them back, go ahead and pay it forward. This is where the soul filling takes place that was mentioned in one of the quotes above.
Unless you get a job, or do some tasks for money, you can’t really fill your pockets while traveling. I mean, you could have invested money in the past, and are living off those investments, but for practical purposes, money will typically just be leaving your pocket. However, asking for help, doing work exchanges for accommodation and food, budgeting your time and energy, sharing costs, and sticking to only what really has value to you – these are all ways to really delay the depletion of your savings.
It doesn’t matter if it’s to a neighboring country or halfway across the world, traveling will change your life.
In many cases, it’s cheaper to “vacation” in another country than it is to stay in your own.
I’ll leave you with that, so you can let your mind wander..
– Jacob Pearson