So you want to see the world. Maybe you dream of trekking through sweltering jungles, conquering perilous peaks, and rafting down raging rivers. Is there a country, a place, or lifestyle you feel is calling to you? Perhaps you simply wish to lie on golden sand with a cocktail in one hand and a joint in the other. Whatever your travel dreams, it is really quite easy to make them a reality.
My first travel adventure was arranged on impulse. I was eighteen and I wanted to do something special for my 19th birthday. I wanted to do something impressive, something hard, something that would impress the girls. I decided I wanted to climb a mountain; specifically, Kilimanjaro, the highest volcano in the world. I knew that if I slept on it, if I thought it through, I may not do it. So I jumped on my computer, spent twenty minutes browsing and then booked flights. I had nothing arranged – no permits (which, as it turned out, I would need!), no equipment, no guides, no accommodation. But, I had my flights. I was going, I had made an investment – the chips were down and my fate was sealed.
If you have a dream, something that excites you, inspires you, something that keeps you up at night, I have some advice for you:
1. Believe that it’s possible.
Anything you want, you can have. You just need to put in the work. As dreams go, backpacking around the world is a relatively attainable one. All you really need to do is save up a bit of money before you hit the road. Saving money can be a pain in the ass but at the end of the day you don’t even need that much – all you need is enough for your flight and your insurance. If you can’t save that then do not despair. Hit the road anyway; hitch, camp, work on farms – do whatever it takes to get out there. If you have to quit your job then so be it. The money you can make abroad is often better anyway. Happiness is more important than money and the experiences you will have whilst traveling can be priceless.
2. Take steps to build a more awesome future.
Many of my friends have hit me with “I would love to go traveling, I’ve always wanted to go to (insert faraway and awesome land).” To them, and to you, I say “if you want it, go for it.” If you want to go backpacking then take a step towards cementing a more awesome future – a future where you dance under the moon, tackle epic journeys, chug momentous beers, meet exotic people, and only occasionally have to sleep rough, eat gruel, or work for dodgy characters.
Where should you begin, I hear you ask? Simple – open up Skyscanner right now, right this instant, and look for flights to your chosen continent. It doesn’t even really matter where you go, just choose somewhere where you can afford the flights and book them. You will be able to find flights to somewhere exciting within your budget, it may not be your first choice, but it is a step in the right direction. Spend twenty minutes or so playing around with different departure dates and airports to find the best deal and then get those flights booked. I promise that when you do you will feel excited, elated, scared, and triumphant all at once. You will have taken the first and the most important step towards becoming a backpacker and living your dream.
3. Make choices that support your dream
Now that you have your flights booked, give yourself a well-earned pat on the back. This is it, you will soon be traveling. Before you go there are some things you will need to organize – insurance, gear, where the hell to go, and how to get there. Don’t leave all this to the last minute, instead write down a list of everything you need to get sorted and aim to work on something on your list every couple of days – slowly chip away at all the organizational stuff to make it more manageable. Just as importantly, stop spending your money. Soon you will be traveling – you’ll have the chance to eat out for pennies, to party for under a tenner and to catch a taxi for a quid – so take it down a notch before you go. If that means being a bit dull and not going out to the pub so much then so be it – you don’t have to become a TV addict, hit the park and start working on your six packs abs for the beach.
4. Stay flexible
Realize that when you do finally hit the road, not everything is going to plan. You will at some point end up missing a bus, sleeping rough, getting sick, or getting turned down at the ‘beautiful-people-only sex and cocaine orgy’. Do not let this dishearten you. You have made it – you have braved the unknown and tackled the hardest part of any journey: the beginning. If I can give you one piece of advice it is this – book the flights or make some other kind of investment which will force you to stay on track. I wish you all the best of luck on your adventures. Stay safe, stay happy, and fight to make your dreams a reality.
How have you made you travel dream a reality? Do you have any tips to help stay on track when planning your adventures?
This article originally appeared on TheBrokeBackpacker.com