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Beating the Slump

March 22, 2013

I’ll admit, I was a little spoiled as a child, having a family that loves travel as much as I do. I have them to thank for bringing me up that way and giving me so many opportunities to experience other countries from such a young age. On top of that, I had a number of family members who worked for the airlines so we were able to travel more often than our finances might normally allow thanks to employee discounts. When I left for college, though, I began my “formal” adult life and became much more financially independent. Between that and said members retiring or moving on to other jobs, I found myself looking at full-price tickets on one hand and college loans on the other. Sure, I had been spoiled, but in this case, is it such a bad thing? Is simply resigning myself to less travel the best solution?
After starting college, I didn’t leave travel outside of the US or Canada for three years. I finally worked the logistics to make my Japan trip happen after that, but since then it has been over a year since I have gone international. So what’s a spoiled travel junkie like me to do? Or rather, how have I kept myself from going stir-crazy?

-Travel within the country. I covered my “adventure/travel jobs” in Alaska and Colorado in my Travel in Your Own Backyard post, but once again let me say that new cultures may not be as far as you think, and it’s a great way to go if money is an issue.
-Go on an adventure. Culture is a huge part of travel, and the main one we focus on at the blog. But another reason I love travel is because it’s exciting in its own right. Being in unfamiliar territory with only yourself to rely on is very fulfilling at the end of the day. Camping is one of my favorite ways to get that same sense of independence and adventure. It certainly helps that I live in the hiker’s paradise that is Washington state, but really, every part of the world has its own unique landscape to explore. Not only that, but to echo a statement from my Emergency Preparedness post, it develops efficient packing skills that will serve you well on any trips abroad.

image

I took this picture on a day hike just a 15-minute drive from my college apartment, but getting out an exploring is rewarding whether you’re doing it abroad or not.

Finally, get stir-crazy! Don’t fight it or accept it or settle. Normally, I’m an optimist who likes to find the best in whatever situation I’m in. But right now I’m frustrated that it has been so hard for me to make my travel dreams happen. And that’s okay. That frustration keeps it in my mind. I might not be able to travel today, but I’m always thinking about it and every day I work toward making it happen. Whether it’s examining your budget and putting money aside (note to self, write post about budgeting for travel) or planning the basics of your trip well in advance, make sure you are always moving closer to making it a reality.

What I have been doing lately is putting money aside not just for the travel itself, but for travel related things that can serve as physical reminders here and now. Even though my next major trip might be another year away yet, I put aside a portion of my meager paycheck and bought a new backpack, specifically making sure it would be suitable for a journey across Europe. The next month I bought a pair of lightweight, breathable travel pants. When my laptop made it clear to me it was on its last legs, I decided on an extra compact, lightweight replacement with a long battery life so I could manage my photos and keep up the blog and other correspondence while on the go. Buying little things like this that aren’t necessary at the moment may not be the most financially responsible thing in the world, but it has been invaluable to morale. And again, being an avid camper, most of the things on my wish list serve two functions for the price of one. Besides, I’m willing to turn down a trip to the movies once in a while, because right now that pack is the last thing I see before I go to sleep each night, just whispering to me: “Don’t forget. Make this trip happen.”

The Osprey Talon 33. I might not be out of the country just yet, but when I am I know exactly where I’m putting my stuff.

This blog, too, is a way of making sure that travel is always on my mind, and I never lose sight of my goals. Over the coming weeks I might take the time to give a sort of stream-of-consciousness post about the trip Maddy and I have been planning, like what I hope to accomplish to the early-stage logistics of getting there. I would also like to bring the current obstacles, from financial to psychological, and hopefully it will help out other readers in similar situations by offering solutions, or just giving the sense of camaraderie that comes from knowing there’s someone else in the same boat.
These all being interspersed with other, more organized posts, of course. You can take a stab at this too, Maddy. We’ve talked about it here and there, but putting it into writing and posting it for the world to see might help give an air of formality. Shoot, maybe we could do the majority of our planning this way as a sort of public corrispondence. It could be a great motivator to keep us busy!
Anyway, I know it’s easy for me to feel insecure. I just graduated college and have been thrown out into the big scary world on my own. But that’s just it, isn’t it? I’m a traveler, which means that big scary world is exactly where I want to be.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 26, 2013 9:05 am

    absolutely! I’ve been thinking a lot about our trip and how to best get it off the ground! Are there any internet planning tools for instance? Maybe a way to track our progress, budget, maps, etc, and then post it on the blog?

    • March 26, 2013 12:16 pm

      I’m looking at a few budgeting tools right now but most of them are hard to share since that can be pretty private. I’m sure there’s a way though, and if not we can always put it in manually. I have been getting a lot more meticulous about my finances so it could be useful stuff to share.

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