Below is a guest repost by Steve Pavlina from his blog Personal Development for Smart People. It doesn’t get much more thorough than this! Thank you Steve for all your hard work and great writing! Enjoy!
Are there some places you’d just love to visit? How long have you dreamed of doing so? Years perhaps?
When you see movies about visiting certain cities, or hear about people traveling there, does a certain part of your psyche salivate with desire? Do you have the thought, I really want to go there someday.
Do you realize that it’s absolutely possible to turn your travel dreams into reality? Those dreams aren’t mere fantasy. They’re the seeds of real experiences.
In this post I’ll share with you some lessons I’ve learned during the past couple years as I worked to transform myself from a very infrequent traveler into the kind of person who regularly sets and achieves new travel goals.
I certainly wouldn’t label myself an accomplished world traveler at this point. There are dedicated travel bloggers who post at length about all the places they’ve visited. But the unique transformation I have to share, and which I hope will be of value to you, is that I just went through this transition recently. It’s clear to me that I’ve passed my own personal tipping point, such that now I know I can maintain regular travel as part of my lifestyle. I didn’t just take a trip — I transformed my whole lifestyle to make this a reality. So these lessons are still very fresh for me. I can still clearly relate to the vibe of being a person who had travel dreams that always seemed to be delayed for a distant someday, so I can draw a sharp contrast between these two different states of being.
Stop Making Excuses
What are some of your most common excuses for not traveling?
Fill in the blank: I’d like to travel more, but I can’t travel right now because _____.
Here are some of the excuses I’ve used in the past:
- I can’t travel right now because I have kids.
- I can’t travel right now because I don’t have enough money.
- I can’t travel right now because I don’t have the time (or I can’t afford to take time off from work).
- I can’t travel right now because I have too much to do at home.
- I can’t travel right now because I haven’t finished X, Y, and Z yet.
- I can’t travel right now because I need to do more research about places to go first.
- I can’t travel right now because it’s too complicated.
- I can’t travel right now because I don’t know how.
- I can’t travel right now because my wife doesn’t want me to.
Any of those sound familiar? What are your favorite excuses for not traveling?
How about this very popular disguised excuse: I will get around to traveling someday – I just can’t get to it right now.
I encourage you to actually write out your own personal list of excuses. Now look at them, and acknowledge that the entire lot is B.S.
When you make excuses and feed them as if they’re real, you’re using your power against yourself.
Let’s review some of the excuses above and see just how nonsensical they are.
You can’t travel because you have kids? Lots of people have kids and still travel. They just don’t use their children as excuses. If you ask enough people, you’ll find someone who can watch the kids while you’re on the road. You may enjoy having some away time from the kids, so you can come back to them fresh. Traveling without them will give you a chance to miss them. Also, notice that kids are portable. You can take them with you if you want. Try it and see if it works for you. You can do this even while they’re still in the womb. So this excuse is just lame. If you want to travel and you aren’t doing so because you have children, you’ll end up resenting them as a burden, and how is that going to serve them? Is that the kind of parent you wish to be? Do you want to teach your kids that they can’t have what they desire if they become parents?
You can’t travel because you don’t have enough money? Last time I checked, money was earnable. Money is an important part of the travel game, and we’ll address that later, but just admit to yourself for now that it’s incredibly pathetic to hide behind a lack of money as an excuse for not traveling. People were traveling long before money was invented. If you want it badly enough, you’ll do what it takes to get the money you need, and you probably need less than you think. In fact, clear travel goals are great motivation to earn more money.
You can’t travel because you don’t have the time… or you have too much to do? Yeah, right. You have so much to do that you have time to read my blog but not to make travel arrangements? You have the same amount of time as anyone else, including those people who are traveling all over the place. Ferdinand Magellan somehow found the time to sail around the world, and he lived to the ripe old age of 41. It’s nonsense to say that you don’t have the time. A more accurate statement is that you haven’t made travel a high enough priority in your life. You’re putting too much lesser crap ahead of it, like watching TV or web surfing. Turn off your cable TV, and never look back. You do realize that at the same time you’re reading this article, you could be exploring another city — right this very moment. Someone else is doing that instead of you. They got there not by having more hours in the day, but by making different decisions and setting different priorities. This may sound ironic since I’m a blogger, but I don’t read other people’s blogs. I don’t have the time. If I tried to keep up with all the blogs that interest me, I wouldn’t have just spent 2 wonderful weeks in Paris. Stop making time for stupid stuff, and you’ll have plenty of time for travel.
You can’t travel because your spouse won’t let you? Not a problem — just tell your spouse I said it’s okay. You have my permission. If your spouse has a problem with that, tell him/her it’s out of your hands because I said you had to go travel. Steve’s orders. Also read My Wife Won’t Let Me Start My Own Business – same ideas apply here. Seriously, don’t be such a wimp. If you want to travel and your spouse won’t let you, then go travel without your spouse; if they have a tizzy cow about it, find a new spouse that loves to travel as much as you do. I know that sounds over the top, but it’s even more over the top — and utterly ridiculously — to try to use your relationship as an excuse for not achieving your own happiness and fulfillment. If you hold back for the “good” of your relationship, you’ll just end up silently resenting your partner. Is that really the kind of relationship you wish to have? Is that the kind of person you want to be — an inauthentic one who can’t speak up and be true to yourself? It’s better to forgive yourself for picking an incompatible partner — we all make mistakes — and open yourself to attracting a relationship with someone who enjoys traveling as much as you do.
You can’t travel because you can’t get the time off of work? That’s B.S. too. Everyone who travels could just as easily make this excuse, but they take the time off of work anyway. What if you have a job? It doesn’t matter. You Are Self-Employed no matter what. You may simply not be very good at managing your personal services business. Perhaps you did something rather dumb like taking on an indefinitely long contract job where you somehow agreed to give a third party control over your schedule. Realize that it’s not your bosses fault. You did this to yourself. You didn’t have to do that. Lots of people don’t do that. I don’t do that. I think it’s a stupid way to live. Then again, maybe your employer subtly manipulated you into a form of slavery. But now that you’re aware of those limitations, do you wish to continue? Or do you want more freedom? If you want more freedom, don’t expect someone else to bestow it upon you. You must demand it and claim it. Freedom is seldom free. Ask any former slave. Frequent travel requires that you have the freedom to control a significant part of your schedule. The truth is that you already have this freedom right now. You can buy a plane ticket and go. Whatever structures you feel are getting in the way are structures that you need to collapse and replace with better structures. Otherwise you’ll never have the freedom you desire, and your travel dreams will indeed remain pure fantasy till you die. Your employer and your work schedule aren’t real problems; you can ditch those today if you want. The problems you must overcome are your own past stupid decisions and your own wimpiness in giving your power away too easily. Fortunately these are solvable problems.
Are you beginning to see a pattern here? A common thread weaves through every excuse. The problem is always one of giving your power away, feeding energy to your excuses instead of your desires. And the solutions are the same in each case: Stop it! It’s a stupid thing to do to yourself.
All of your excuses are lame and pointless. None of them are valid. For each excuse you can name, lots of people with similar challenges are already traveling in spite of those challenges.
No doubt at this point, there will be some nudnik who feels compelled to offer up a counter-example… like What if you’re serving a life sentence in prison? How are you supposed to travel then? Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in prison, and he sures seems to get around. For every retarded excuse, there’s an inspiring example of using your power correctly.
Work Through Limiting Beliefs About Travel
In addition to making excuses, another challenge to overcome is that of limiting beliefs. A limiting belief is a perspective that prevents you from taking actions you’d otherwise like to take.
Here are some examples of limiting beliefs I had about travel:
- Traveling is selfish and self-indulgent.
- The more I travel, the more I’m neglecting my work, kids, etc.
- Traveling is difficult and complicated.
- Traveling isn’t worth the effort.
- Traveling equals taking a vacation, a break from more important matters.
And again I had to go through a process of breaking down these limiting beliefs and replacing them with more accurate ways of thinking.
Is travel selfish and self-indulgent? Of course it is — to an extent. But is there anything wrong with that? I think the underlying assumption with this belief is that if we do something that we really desire, that somehow it’s wrong. Instead of trying to frame traveling as something I do for other people, I got past this belief by accepting that for me, traveling is indeed a self-indulgent thing to do. And then I admitted to myself that I like to self-indulge in this way, and I feel good when I do so. When I’m traveling at a frequency and pacing that feels good to me, I’m happier with my life. I could say that it benefits others in some fashion, but I don’t want to overplay that because that isn’t really why I travel. I travel primarily for myself, and it’s perfectly okay to do so.
Are you neglecting your work, kids, etc. when you hit the road? No, you’re creating the balance you seek. You can’t give everyone and everything your attention at all times. The requests for your time will often exceed the time you have to give. It’s up to you to discover the right balance that works for you.
For more than a decade, I tried “balancing” my life with 1-2 weeks of travel per year at most, usually to destinations I’d already been to many times before. In 2010, I traveled about 12 weeks out of the year, mostly going to new cities. That was a huge shift for me, as I’d never done anything like that before. It didn’t take long to see how much happier I was with this level of travel.
Is traveling difficult and complicated? It may seem that way at first, but the more you practice, the easier it gets. You can learn a lot from other people who travel frequently, but you can also just ease into it and learn by doing. I prefer a mixture of both. Travel has its share of challenges, but all of them can be handled, and the process of dealing with them will help you grow stronger and more capable.
Is traveling worth the effort? I figured this one out by trial and error. For me it has definitely been worth the effort. By and large, the trips I’ve taken have been better than I expected. I enjoyed them even more than I thought I would.
A couple weeks ago, I was standing outside the Louvre, thinking to myself, This is so cool! I can’t believe I’m really here at the Louvre. It’s even more amazing than I thought it would be.
I feel so much awe and wonder as I travel to different places. There have been many magical moments, like when Rachelle and I were the last people to leave the Eiffel Tower one night and had the whole top level to ourselves for a while as we gazed over a moonlit Paris… or when we rode bikes through Stanley Park in Vancouver… or when I drove through the beautiful landscapes at Yellowstone and saw a bear, a wolf, and lots of bison.
Yes, you can feel over-traveled if you do it to excess, but when you find your balance, I think you’ll agree that it is indeed worth the effort.
Is traveling just about taking a vacation? Travel is what you make of it. If you treat it as a vacation, a break from your normal life, then that’s all it will be to you.
That isn’t how I prefer to travel through. Getaways are nice now and then, and I do occasionally enjoy them, but I can’t usually stomach vacation-style trips for more than a few days. I get bored with them pretty quickly, and I end up feeling that my time would be better spent elsewhere. But for many years, those were the only kinds of trips I took because I thought that’s all there was to travel.
Today I no longer think of traveling as taking a break or a vacation. It is a shift in routine to be sure, but the purpose isn’t to escape or take time off from work.
Travel is just as important to me as any other work I might do. Traveling, when I do it in the way that works for me, provides me with an integrated bundle of growth experiences. It pushes me and challenges me. It wakes me up to new possibilities. It exposes me to new perspectives. It inspires me.
I don’t get these benefits if I keep going to the same places I’ve already been to and repeat experiences I’ve already had. I get these benefits when I branch out and visit places I’ve never been to, inviting new experiences I’ve never had before. For me, travel is the progressive experience of the new and the unfamiliar.
I don’t feel guilty about traveling for weeks at a time because I know that for me, travel is time on, not time off. Travel is an important part of my path of growth. I love that there are so many places I have yet to visit — it means I have a long line of growth experiences ahead of me. When I’m traveling in the manner I find most fulfilling, I’m not on vacation. I’m working on myself. Travel is exactly the opposite of taking time off. When I travel I’m pushing myself to be on 24/7. By comparison when I return to Las Vegas after a long trip, that’s when it feels like I’m taking it easy.
In a similar manner, I encourage you to list out your own limiting beliefs about travel, and then work through them one by one. Step into the real truths behind these apparent limitations, and realize that the only limits are those you place upon yourself.
If you need more help busting limiting beliefs, I encourage you to use the Lefkoe Process, especially if you’re a very logical and left-brained person. Take advantage of Morty’s 20-minute videos to eliminate beliefs that hold you back from traveling as much as you’d like to.
Honoring the Call to Travel
I know that not everyone feels a call to get on the road and travel. And that’s fine. But for whatever reason, I’m one of the people who does hear this call. I love being on the road… not every day, but often.
Are you one of those people? Do you feel a stirring in your soul to get out on the road and see more of the world? And does it scare you to think about it? Fear is a pointer to desire.
If you hear this call too, it’s important to honor it. Traveling is a part of you. It’s time to awaken to this calling and to make it a part of your life, not someday… but now.
It may not be easy to make it happen. You may have to overcome many challenges and undertake significant lifestyle adjustments. It may take some time to work through all those shifts, but you can make this happen. It’s all very doable, regardless of your current situation.
I travel because it stirs something in my soul. It feels so good to me. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve enjoyed the trips I’ve taken during the past couple years even more than I expected to. Paris was even more amazing than I thought it would be. The reality of travel seems to keep exceeding my expectations.
I often find that I don’t really understand certain desires until I begin to explore them. Before taking action I can’t fully fathom why they matter so much to me. Those lessons unfold over time — only after I dive in and act. As a result of lots of trial and error, I know it’s important for me to listen to these desires and to give them outlets for expression, even before I fully grasp what they’re trying to express.
By giving myself permission to travel more, I’ve learned more about why it’s so important to me. Up until mid-2009, I’d never left the USA. I think that limited my perspective. I would occasionally see feedback on some of my articles about how “American” my perspective was. I had no idea what that meant. My blog has an international audience, with 50% of readers living outside the USA, but I wasn’t a particularly international person. Sure I studied other cultures in school, but that doesn’t come close to actually experiencing them firsthand.
I’ve gone far enough along this path to know that traveling will continue to be a significant part of my life henceforth. I couldn’t fathom going back to a lifestyle that lacked expansive travel experiences.
Traveling offers a variety of different challenges, and those are good challenges to help me keep growing. My life in Las Vegas is fairly easy. If I settle into it too much, I feel bored and restless, and I crave new challenges. Going to France and trying to communicate in French was a real challenge for me at times — a challenge I can’t readily duplicate in Vegas, at least not with the same level of immersion.
One time I was at a museum in Paris, and a woman said a couple sentences to me in French. I couldn’t consciously make out a single word, but somehow I understood what she was saying. She was asking me if I wanted to do the audio tour, which would cost extra. It was surreal to have a communication experience where I didn’t understand any of the words, yet I grasped the meaning. This gave me a different perspective on how I communicate with others.
Even if you don’t fully understand why you wish to travel, I encourage you to begin honoring this call anyway. From the outside looking in, it may appear to be self-indulgent whimsy. But once you get on the road and start experiencing what it’s really like, I expect you’ll have a profound shift in your perspective, just as I’ve had.
Give your travel calling the attention and the respect it deserves. It matters.
Place Your Travel Order
When you’ve worked through the excuses and limiting beliefs and accepted your travel calling, the next step is to place your order with the universe.
Many people are really, really bad at this — as in pathetic. Let me save you a lot of time here and get you past all the fluff that will keep you stuck at home.
Do this: PICK YOUR NEXT DESTINATION!
This means to pick one specific place to travel to, such as a city or an island. Make that your next travel goal.
Pick your next destination based on where you most desire to visit next. Don’t base it on what you think you can get — that’s a misuse of power. Ask yourself: If I could hit the road tomorrow on a free trip that someone else was paying for, where would I most like to go?
In order to get moving on your travel goals, you need to pick a destination that inspires you. It has to be a real, genuine, heartfelt desire. If you don’t really want it, or if it’s just something you’re settling for but isn’t really your top choice, then it’s a phony, wimpy-ass goal, and you’re probably not going to put any real effort into it.
When you acknowledge the destination you really want, it’s probably going to scare you a bit. That’s good. That means it’s a stretch goal.
If you travel goal seems too easy and doesn’t stir up any fear or trepidation, chances are you’re wimping out and picking something because you think you can get it, but it’s not a deep, soul-stirring desire. If you move forward and try to take action on that goal, you’ll most likely procrastinate and sabotage yourself, and even if you do make it happen, you’ll get there and may feel bored and listless.
Recently on Twitter and Google+, I asked people what city they’d most love to travel to next. Most people seemed to have no trouble offering up their top choice. But some people gave a list of possibilities, which is an abuse of power. You can only be in one location at a time, so if your next destination is a list of items separated by the word or, have you really made a decision yet? No, you haven’t.
What if you can’t decide? Seriously… you can’t decide? How did you decide what to eat for breakfast? Use the same process to pick your next travel destination. It’s not rocket science. You just decide. If you didn’t know how to make such decisions, you’d have died of starvation long ago. Don’t overcomplicate it. You can visit more than one destination in your lifetime. All you need to do now is pick your NEXT one. It’s no more difficult that choosing your next meal.
It’s perfectly fine to make your next destination a package deal — a string of ANDs rather than ORs. Just be clear that you want the whole package, and get clear about the order in which you’ll visit each city/location. I did a 23-day road trip last year, and it was fairly straightforward to make it happen, but I had to figure out what all the stops would be. I visited Reno, Sacramento, San Francisco, Ashland, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Kelowna, Banff, Calgary, Glacier Park, Yellowstone, Salt Lake City, and back to Vegas. It was an awesome trip!
Vague goals have very little power to manifest. When I tried to set a goal to visit the Pacific Northwest or to travel to Europe, nothing much happened. It was only when I got specific that these goals started to manifest quickly. A goal to visit the Pacific Northwest is lame; you can’t take action on that. I had to concretize that goal by deciding which cities to visit and in what order. Same goes for Europe. I intended to go to Europe for many years. But it was only when I shifting to a more concrete goal and picked Paris for my next destination that I finally found myself on an intercontinental flight.
So don’t pick a country or a continent or some other vague B.S. like that. China isn’t a destination. Pick a real city. And it’s not a bad idea to get even more specific if you can, like deciding to stay in Midtown Manhattan when you visit NYC. In my experience, picking a city is enough specificity though — once I’m there I’ll probably travel all around the city anyway, so just about anything within city limits can potentially be part of the experience.
Even if you’ve already read How to Order, read it again. If it seems like I’m being excessive in constantly referring back to this article, that’s accurate. I’ll keep doing so until people start ordering correctly and stop behaving like nimnuls who walk into the universal restaurant saying, “I’m hungry. I want some food. Bring me some food.”
Don’t be one of those dolts who says, “I want to travel more” or “I want to visit Asia.” You’ll stay home if you do that. Place a real order. What city? What island?
Banish Doubt and Create Certainty
Once you’ve picked a destination, do NOT change your mind. Poke a pin in it on a paper map, and don’t move the pin till you’ve been there and back.
Don’t consider other alternative you might visit. Remove all doubt from your mind. You are going to go to this place. And you’re going to start making it happen now… not someday. Someday is never.
This is your reality. You’re a god here. If you want to visit this place, nothing can stop you from getting there. It’s a done deal.
Pause for a moment and let that sink in. This isn’t just a dream or a fantasy. This is about to become your reality. Soon you will physically be in your chosen destination. Yes, you’re really going to be there. It’s going to happen.
If you think it’s not going to happen, if you harbor any doubts about it, give yourself a good smack. That’s an abuse of power. Stop it!
You are going to reach your destination. Period. Whatever obstacles come up, you’ll surmount them. Whatever problems arise, you’ll solve them. Whatever challenges present themselves, you’ll overcome them. You cannot be stopped.
Do NOT use your power against yourself. Direct your power in one direction — strictly towards your intended destination.
Doubting that you’ll reach your destination is the same as deciding to stay home. Don’t do that unless you’re #1 destination is to stay home.
Whenever I finally get moving towards a new travel destination, I invariably hit a certain snapping point. I may waffle and vacillate a good bit leading up to the decision, but once I’ve made the decision, I turn off all alternatives. After that snap point, I direct all my energy forward, towards making the trip to the chosen destination a reality. I don’t give myself permission to change my mind or to doubt whether it will happen. I create the reality where the trip is an absolute certainty. The odds that it will happen are 100%.
You already know how to do this. Recognize that you’ve used your power in a similar manner at various points in the past. Remember what it felt like when you hit that snapping point of making a real decision, and you never looked back. Maybe you quit a certain job or ended a relationship or decided to move to a new city. Remember what a done-deal type of decision feels like.
Notice how easy and straightforward it is to take action after you’ve snapped. And noticing how incredibly difficult it is to take action before you’ve snapped.
Until you snap yourself into 100% commitment, your trip probably isn’t going to happen. I’d bet against you. But once you snap, it’s a done deal — after that you just know that it will be done.
Before your personal snapping point, various obstacles will seem like big deals. They’ll make you want to give up. That’s because you’re allowing some of your power to leak out and feed those obstacles. Not having enough money seems like a real problem. Not being able to get time off from work seems like another major problem. But once you’ve snapped, these problems reveal themselves to be ridiculously minor challenges. Stop allowing your power to be drained by excuses, and direct all your power forward towards your destination. Solving problems becomes child’s play after that. You’re much more powerful than any obstacle that stands in your way.
Obsess Over Your Destination
Begin to obsess over your chosen destination. For now, it’s the only place you’re going to think about visiting. Ignore all other suggestions or alternatives; for now they’re irrelevant.
Concretize your goal. Bring it from the level of fantasy to the level of reality.
Use maps.google.com to look up your destination. Study the layout of the city. Check out what’s there. Start thinking about what you’ll see and do while you’re visiting. Use the street view to zoom in on some locations to see what it would be like to actually be there. Know that soon you’ll be there seeing these places for yourself.
Before going to Paris, I zoomed in on a few places like the Louvre and a some spots along the Seine. I rotated the view around and imagined that I was seeing this through my own eyes. Less than a week later, I was actually there doing it.
I recommend buying a travel book for your intended destination and reading through it. Based on a reader’s recommendation, I bought Rick Steves’ guide to Paris. Rick has been traveling through Europe for 30+ years and has written extensively about it. His company also hosts a variety of guided tours through Europe. As I flipped through the book, even just for several minutes in the bookstore, it made the idea of going to Paris become more real and concrete, shifting it further from the realm of possibility to certainty.
For many years, I’d thought about traveling to Paris, but once I committed to really going there, I started visualizing the upcoming experience differently. It took on a different flavor.
Another recommendation is to do an image search to find a nice photo of your destination, and make it your background pic on your laptop, iPad, cell phone, etc. This will help you think about it some more.
Make your intended destination a serious obsession. Be very clear that you’re going to go there. If you catch yourself thinking of obstacles, again… give yourself a good smack across the jaw. Stop it! Think only of the successful achievement of your goal. You WILL go there. It’s a done deal.
Another thing you can do to continue obsessing is to start watching movies that involve your destination. Rachelle and I watched Amelie a while before visiting Paris, and we ended up visiting the café from the movie when we went to Montmartre. Additionally, we had the surreal experience of walking up the steps in front of Sacré-Coeur, only to realize that it was also used in a scene from the same movie.
The reason this obsession process is important is that it gradually moves your goal from the realm of fantasy into the realm of reality. When you learn more about your destination and begin to study it AFTER you’ve committed to it, the goal becomes significantly more solid. You start to accept that it really isn’t just a fantasy — you can and will actually go there and experience it for yourself. This is an important shift to make because it’s so easy to fall into the trap of wishful thinking when it comes to travel goals. Wishing isn’t enough to make it real.
Some people like to create a vision board for their destination. I do have a vision board, but the only Paris-related element was a tiny cutout of the word “France.” So for me this wasn’t really necessary. I got more value from zooming in and out of the Google map for the city and visualizing myself standing there — that made it more concrete for me. Other people swear by vision boards though, so I encourage you to experiment to see if you find them helpful. I don’t see how it could hurt.
Keep obsessing over your destination till you’re actually there.
Brace Yourself for the Social Shifts
You’ll probably find that your obsession starts to polarize the people around you. I’ve been through this process countless times, so I’m used to how it plays out, but I caution you to prepare for the inevitable social ripples your newly emerging travel vibe may unleash.
Some people in your life will be turned off by your new obsession. I got a few jabs here and there for being a bit nuts about Paris at times. Some people just can’t relate. Some people hate Paris. My attitude is mostly to roll my eyes at them and tune them out. I don’t need to explain to anyone why Paris was my #1 pick. Either you get Paris or you don’t. Same goes for Las Vegas… or any other city for that matter. There’s no need to explain or justify your choices to anyone else. Let it be enough that you want them, and let other people have their reactions.
Pick the destinations that inspire you, and don’t worry if the other people in your life don’t get why you want to go there. These are your desires. That’s enough. Nobody else needs to agree with you. If people react negatively to your choices, feel free to indulge in some eye rolling, but don’t change your mind.
On the other hand, when you start obsessing over the destinations that truly excite you, you won’t turn everyone off. You’re also going to light up and inspire others who share similar desires. I’ve received some nice positive feedback from others who found my destinations inspiring too, whether or not they’ve already been there.
There’s something really cool about attracting new people into your life who share similar desires. Rachelle and I enjoy traveling together, but I also think it would be fun to travel in small groups with other like-minded adventurers. We’d have to test this at some point to see how it goes — I imagine it would depend on the people and how compatible our specific interests are.
Don’t get clingy to past connections that are no longer in sync with you. Your social life will shift. Let it. You won’t end up alone. New connections will flow into your life soon, and those connections will be a better fit for you than the old ones.
You’ll also discover that as you embrace your own travel vibe, you’ll awaken similar vibes in others. I’ve been seeing a lot of this lately, where my own travel adventures are stirring up some excitement in others. One person’s travel-mania can be infectious at times. Initially, when you encounter someone who stirs up such desires, there’s a tendency to feel envious or dismissive if you’re still repressing or denying your own desires. Try to move past that phase as quickly as possible. Yes, it will be a good bit of work to make this a reality for you if it seems like a distant goal, but you can do it once you reach your own personal snapping point.
Integrate the Travel Vibe Into Your Lifestyle
In the long run, if you want to travel a lot more than you’re traveling right now — as opposed to just taking very occasional trips now and then — it’s important to transform your lifestyle into one that’s structured to support your travel goals. You don’t want to remain stuck in a lifestyle that’s at odds with frequent travel.
I’ve made certain career choices partly because I want the freedom to travel a lot. Today I enjoy the fruits of those decision. I have a flexible work schedule that’s under my control, and I’m able to make enough money to financially support frequent travel.
None of this just happened. It wasn’t an accident or a stroke of luck. I made deliberate decisions and commitments to create this kind of lifestyle. That began with saying no to decision paths that would interfere with this goal.
I didn’t get it perfect, but I got what I wanted. My lifestyle choices and my travel vibe are integrating themselves nicely. I still have more work to do in this area, but I’m very pleased with the synergy thus far.
Recognize that if you want to travel a lot, and your current lifestyle structure doesn’t support it, then you’ve got some transformational work to do. If you’re tempted to blame your lifestyle elements or use them as excuses for not traveling, don’t do that. If you want to blame something, then blame yourself for making dumb choices in the past that led you to this point. Go ahead and give yourself a sound thrashing — you deserve it! You’re the one who made the choices that led you here, and now you’re dealing with the consequences of those choices. It’s no one’s fault but your own.
We all make stupid choices at times. And sometimes it’s not such a bad thing to smack ourselves when we come to terms with the ridiculously lame consequences of those choices. I’ve certainly made my share of stupid choices.
But realize that your situation isn’t terminal. Don’t try to make the best of a bad situation. That’s even dumber. Instead, figure out a lifestyle structure — especially involving your career and finances — that will support the kind of traveling you’d like to do.
You can start by saying no to anything that conflicts with the lifestyle you wish to create. If you desire to travel for about 12 weeks out of each year, then does it make any sense to accept a job where you get only 2 weeks of vacation time each year? Of course not. That would be moronic.
Can you admit to yourself that in light of your current travel desires, some of your past decisions have been fairly dumb? If those decisions create consequences that don’t mesh with your travel desires, then they’re stupid decisions. Don’t try to justify them. Just admit the sheer idiocy of them.
I’m not suggesting that you’re an idiot. But we all make stupid decisions at times. And in such cases, the worst thing to do is to pretend they’re smart choices with a “Hehe… I meant to do that” attitude. You didn’t mean to do that. You didn’t mean to get stuck. That was a mistake.
The good news is that once you acknowledge the stupidity of some of your past choices, you can start to release them and make some better choices for the road ahead. You can choose a new career/financial path that fully supports your travel desires. You can attract new relationships that are compatible with frequent travel.
You’re not stuck. You’re way more powerful than any situation you find yourself in. Don’t act like a baby. If you want to travel more, than snap yourself into a real commitment. You’re going to undertake all the lifestyle transformations necessary to make that a reality. It’s a done deal.
It may take time to get there, but harbor no doubts that it will happen. Again, the creation of doubt is an abuse of your power. Stop it!
Create only the certainty that you are absolutely, definitely going to do what it takes to transform your lifestyle structure into one that fully supports your travel goals. You’ll be on the road as much as you desire to be, and that will be a good thing for the other parts of your lifestyle. Traveling will enhance your career, your finances, and your relationships.
What About the Money?
A lack of funds is a common reason people give for not traveling, but like all feeble excuses, it’s a bogus one.
Your income isn’t fixed. You can go out and earn as much as you desire. There are countless ways to earn money.
The main requirement for earning more money is having the motivation to do so. Picking a clear travel destination and obsessing over it can create some pretty strong motivation, the kind that will get you off your butt, fire up your brain, and get you taking new actions.
When people say that a lack of funds is holding them back, they’re lying to themselves. The truth is that they’re holding themselves back. They’re empowering money as the excuse of the moment. They could just as easily abuse their power by blaming their spouse, their job, their kids, or their country.
The cool thing about travel goals is that they’re pretty easy to accomplish with money. You can use money to buy plane tickets, to secure places to stay, and to pay for experiences. While it’s entirely possible to travel with little money, there’s no reason you can’t earn more money. It certainly makes travel easier.
Let your travel goals inspire your financial goals. It’s not particular motivating to earn more money just for the sake of having a bigger number in your bank account. But if you translate those financial goals into visiting more cities every year and having cool adventures, then your financial goals will be much more meaningful.
In my experience, the financial aspects tend to take care of themselves when you’ve done the other steps properly. The means present themselves when you’ve properly turned the corner and hit your snapping point.
Before the snap, the lack of funds may seem like a pretty big obstacle. If you’re ever willing to use the lack of money as an excuse, you’ll always experience this as an obstacle for you. But when you’re 100% commitment, then money is no longer your enemy — it becomes your ally instead.
Whenever I set big goals that require more money that I have on hand, the money shows up pretty quickly. Either I get inspired by a new idea or project that brings in the money, or the money just shows up through some other channel, often in ways I didn’t expect. These days I even make a game of it by asking the universe to pay for my trips in creative ways. It’s fun to see how that unfolds. For my recent Paris trip, I received way more than I needed. First, I launched 4 new workshops, which created an avalanche of initial registrations. The registrations from just one day were more than enough to cover the costs of the Paris trip twice over. Then on the day I left, I received a $16K refund from the IRS; that was expected, but the timing was very nice. Then on the day I got back from the trip, I received a $6K inheritance, which wasn’t at all expected.
This pattern keeps popping up in my life. Whenever I set stretch goals and commit to them before I can see how they’ll work out, the universe backs me up. If money is needed to achieve the goal (or even if I don’t need more money but playfully request it anyway), the money just shows up.
If this sounds like a completely alien experience to you, then stop feeding your power to excuses. Try doing the opposite to test how it works for you. Commit to doing something that really inspires you, even when you can’t see how it’s going to work out.
How do you commit to pursuing a path when you can’t see how it’s going to turn out? How do professional athletes do it? When they show up for a game, they don’t know how it’s going to turn out. They show up anyway and play full out. Do the same.
The point is to play full out — because that’s how the game of life is meant to be played.
If you need more money to travel, go make more money. Quit acting like a baby about it. It really is that simple, but it only becomes simple when you snap into 100% commitment. If it looks complicated, that’s because you’re letting your power leak into excuses. Stop doing that!
Who Are You?
Look within and take note of what you see. Are you a traveler, or are you a homebody? There’s no right or wrong answer per se, but what are you? What do you see?
Do you believe as Cervantes said, that “the road is better than the inn”? Or would you rather be the innkeeper?
Where do you fall along this spectrum? Where do you see yourself?
How many weeks out of the next 52 weeks would you ideally like to be traveling away from home? When I asked this question on Twitter and Google+, the answers were all over the place. Many people gave answers in the range of 8-16 weeks. But some said 0-2 weeks. One person actually said 53 weeks.
For me I’d say that 16-18 weeks feels about right on average, but the exact amount of time I’m on the road isn’t as important as other factors like the specific destinations and the new experiences I invite.
What kind of person are you when it comes to achieving your travel desires — or any other desires for that matter? In your heart of hearts, are you the sidelined spectator who will watch others achieve their dreams? Or are you the achiever who will commit fully to your own dreams and desires?
How much longer are you going to make excuses? Is that who you truly are? Do you really think it’s right to keep blaming external factors like your empty bank account, your debt, your family, etc? Is that the real you?
Isn’t it time you placed the responsibility for achieving your desires squarely on your shoulders? Aren’t you the one who made the decisions that resulted in the reality you now experience? Didn’t you invite it to happen, either by your own choices or by your silent approval?
It’s not up to me to tell you who you are on the inside. Only you can determine that. You’re the one who must determine whether or not you’ve been living up to your own ethical and moral code.
As for me, I think it’s wrong to blame my lack of results on external circumstances. Deep down I know I’m stronger than that. I can’t possibly blame the failure to achieve my desires on a lack of money, unsupportive relationships, lack of time, etc. I know I created all of those things by own choices. If I don’t like my financial situation, it’s up to me to change it. If I feel my relationships aren’t supporting me, I’m capable of releasing or transforming them and seeking out more empowering connections. If I lack the time to achieve my goals, I can reassess my priorities and stop putting lesser concerns ahead of more important desires.
When I make excuses for not living up to my potential, I give my power away, and I don’t feel quite myself. When I remember that this is my reality and that I’m not some powerless weakling who has to accept the whims of fate, I reclaim my natural creative powers. Then I can change whatever I desire to change, and my life zooms off in a new direction of my choosing… with results that are even more rewarding that what I imagined.
How do you feel about yourself when you excuse yourself from setting stretch goals and achieving them? Do you like letting yourself off the hook? Does that align well with your personal moral code? Is that the kind of person you truly wish to be?
At the end of the day, would you rather accept what you don’t want and try to make peace with it, or would you rather reclaim your power and commit fully to creating what you do want?
Obviously these concepts go far beyond mere travel goals. Your travel goals are part of your personal training program to fully embrace your power. They’re going to continue dangling in front of you for the rest of your life, teasing, coaxing, and daring you to pursue them. Will you step into your power and claim them, or will you live passively till you die?
Will you live as a person who reaches your destinations, or will you continue to push them away, deny them, pretend you don’t want them, and excuse yourself from doing what it takes to experience them?
Let me say that the view from atop the Eiffel Tower at midnight is indeed more glorious and inspiring than the tiny portal into which you’re currently staring.
Why did you summon me into your reality anyway? You did it to keep reminding yourself not to settle for less. You can have what you want. You like watching me figure out what I want, come to terms with it, commit to it, and achieve it. You live vicariously through my experiences because you want to integrate similar vibes in your own life. Your desires will be your own of course, but you keep coming back here because whenever you’re tempted to settle, you know that I’ll make it more difficult for you to do so. Settling isn’t you, and you know it. You’re way stronger than that.
When you’re ready to snap, you’ll snap. And the universe will back you up — you’ll see. Your challenge is to snap before you’re able to see the avalanche of support that awaits you on the other side. There’s very little support on the pre-snap side; all the good stuff is post-snap.
Next stop: London.