Go Away. Really.

I traveled to Costa Rica for the first time in December. It was one very incredible week. I distinctly remember waking up that first morning in Playa Hermosa and thinking "Holy Hell. Is this my life?" It was one of those things I had to do. I have to do. Travel.

But this blog post isn't about my trip and why I like to travel. It is about why we all don't travel more. Sure, I have lots of friends who take amazing trips, and I truly love hearing about their adventures. My friends' and relatives' adventures largely inspire me to make more plans myself. But I also have friends who talk about all the places they'd love to go but don't. And why is that? Time? Money? Guilt?

We are really good at thinking of all the reasons we can't, shouldn't. But, frankly, we can and should. It isn't as hard as we imagine it to be. I am speaking from my own experience, sure, but I know so many people who share that same resistance. There have been numerous times that I have made travel plans and then as the time got closer canceled them. Yet, as I think of the trips I have taken, I realize there hasn't been one trip that I have regretted.

So how about this? No. More. Excuses. For you and for me. I'm not suggesting that you quit your job tomorrow and sell all your possessions and traipse around the world for the next couple of years. But, hey, if you do, I will be cheering you on the entire way. What I am suggesting is that you do as the Dalai Lama recommends... this year go someplace you've never been before.

It is possible.

How? You wonder?

Simply start here.... create an intention --  and negate any reason why you can't go somewhere this year. Listen to those positive voices in your head, not those negative ones that make you feel undeserving and less than. Where is that place that seems to be calling your name? Do you keep bumping into articles about a certain place? Begin researching that place. Ask friends about it. Then do it.

Here are some ways to grow a travel fund without feeling any real budget pinch, my own little secrets to building up a travel fund and making my dream trips happen:
  1. When paying cash for anything, don't dig through your wallet/pocket for exact change. Pay with bills and then empty your change daily into a container. Once full, take your container of change to your bank and deposit it into an account you have created just for travel. Even better, create that account at a bank other than where your main checking/savings account is. That way you can forget about it and not be tempted to tap into it. I now have over $700 in an account that I have built up just from depositing my change. 
  2. Open an online money market account at TD Ameritrade or Edward Jones and designate that as well solely to travel. I have $25 automatically deposited into an online account each pay period (twice a month). I tapped into this account last July to pay for bike mechanic school in Colorado Springs, so I am in the process of regrowing this account. However, I have about $300 there at the moment. The key is to forget about this account. Check it a couple times a year and be pleasantly surprised at how much you have saved. 
  3. Take advantage of opportunities at work to make some extra cash. For me, I can make extra money by subbing for other professors. These opportunities don't pop up a lot, but when they do, I go for it and put this extra income into my travel fund. 
  4. Sell your own services/wares/handcrafted items. Last year I began making jewelry. And, yes, you guessed it, that little bit of extra money goes into my travel fund. 
  5. Purge. Sell clothes/items you no longer wear/use at a consignment shop. Put the money you make from doing this into your change container. 
  6. Get a part-time job. Do something you love a few hours a week. I currently work a bit at the local bike shop. Not only do I make a bit of extra money for my travel fund, but I also get an employee discount on bike stuff. :)
  7. Ask for travel gift cards for Christmas/birthday/Mothers or Fathers Day. When I went to Costa Rica in December, $100 of my Southwest airfare was paid for with a gift card my sons bought me. 
If you start doing all of these things, you will be amazed at how quickly you can have money for travel. And because you designated that money for travel all along, you don't feel guilty about spending it for that reason. Sure, it will take some time. But it is fun to take that time to dream of that place you want to visit, read books/articles about it, plan the details, etc. 

What are my travel intentions this year? I want to go on my annual Kansas City trip with my sons, go to Reno or Las Vegas with my older son, and spend a week in Montana. I don't anticipate any international trips this year, but then again, I hadn't planned on ending 2015 in Costa Rica, either, and that happened. You never really know, and sometimes that is the most beautiful thing about life. 

Where then will 2016 take you? Whether it is a special weekend getaway or a trip to the other side of the world, I hope you will share your own adventures. 


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