I wanted to talk about a pet peeve and arch-nemesis of mine: EXCUSES. We hear them all the time and even make them all the time, mentally or to anyone around us. They can be the chains we put on ourselves; they hinder progress and stop us from having fun or stepping outside of our box! I wanted to remind anyone who reads this that only YOU can stop you. I've been bombarded with so many stories of how "lucky I am", and how "impossible" it is to travel abroad. It's so overwhelming, yes, but it is certainly not impossible. I always say, "Do it!" I can't tell you how many times I'm met with, "I'm SO jealous!" or "I wish I could do that TOO!" or "I can't imagine!" and EXCUSES. I wanted to counter the top 5 I've heard:
"I can't travel I'm broke!"
Don't let money stop you! You HAVE TO BUDGET! From my own experience as someone who grew up in low to middle class, I've found that exploring the world does not have to be expensive. You can even enjoy some cities and check off your travel-specific bucket list items for cheap or even for free. There are a lot of creative ways to save money! For example, with my regular paychecks at work before moving to Spain, I had 80% directly deposited to my checking and the remaining 20% directly deposited to my savings. This little trick allowed me to save more than I ever have in my lifetime. If I don't have the money in my checking, I can't spend it! You have to know where your money is going. Maybe you DON'T need that extra $13 cocktail or the $3.00 guac. I took a HARD look at EVERYTHING I spent my money on in the last 6 months and noticed I was spending $80 on mani/pedis per month which is $480.00 in 6 months That's 1-2 roundtrip plane tickets in the U.S. and like 5-10 roundtrip plane tickets in Europe. I started painting my own nails... but I digress... Check out these awesome budgeting templates from the Huffington Post here!
"An investment in travel is an investment in yourself!" - Matthew Karsten
"It will be hard to find a job in the U.S. when I come back!"
Did you know that 75% of the CEOs leading Fortune 100 companies have international experience? You'll find that most employers value leadership, organization, self-starters, and people with excellent problem solving and communication skills! The challenge and experience of living abroad will certainly inject or increase these soft skills in you! Check out Forbes' Six Myths to Ignore About Working Overseas! UC Merced also released info on the benefits of having experience abroad. International experience doubled the chances of securing a job, imparted valuable job skills and secured higher salaries!
“So much of who we are is where we have been.” – William Langewiesche
"I'm too scared to fly!"
Did you know that you're actually more likely to be STRUCK BY LIGHTNING than to die in an airline accident? It's true! There's only a 1 in 8 million chance to die from a plane crash vs. a 1 in 6.3 million chance to get struck by lightning! Not to be bleak, but you're also more likely to die from drowning, a gunshot wound, a car accident, or heart disease...
“Man [and women] cannot discover new oceans unless he [or she] has courage to lose sight of the shore.” - Andre Gide
" I have children...and a house...I can't!"
Sure you can! This is not my situation, but I've ran into so many families who are traveling and living abroad with their children. When I ask for their "why" I hear: "because I just had to, so I did it!", "I wanted something transformative for my family", and honestly you're a MOM or a DAD--I educate 6 to 14 years old children 16 hours a week--I CANNOT imagine birthing another human and then raising them almost 24/7. You literally have the most wonderful magic already. YOU CAN DO ANYTHING. And you can always rent out your house for extra money abroad, or Airbnb your house...?
For more inspiration check out this blog of a family abroad and ALL about traveling with children: Suitcases & Sippy Cups
“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” –Susan Sontag
"I can't just leave everyone/thing behind!"
Hey! Don't think about it like that, but...YES YOU CAN. You will most certainly be missed. And you will also miss them...well maybe not the ones that never text back... But consider all of the experiences, growth, and knowledge you will obtain from taking the challenge of living in another country. Every single minute, $1.8 million is spent on travel, you are not alone! But you'll have WhatsApp where you can communicate with all your family and friends for free wherever you have data or Wifi on your phone. There's Skype, Netflix.... Plus, maybe you can bring a friend or (existing) significant other with you! The opportunity of a lifetime awaits you, and your community will welcome you home with open arms!
A wise anonymous human once said, "We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us."