A few years ago I came down with a serious case of the fuckits and decided that my lifestyle needed a total overhaul. My 9 to 5 cubical gig was curb-stomping my soul, my social life consisted of hip-hop open mics, fat chicks and jäger bombs, and I just wasn’t happy with my life… I’m still a bitter bastard but never mind that, this blog is about travel, not about smiling like a vacant idiot all the time.
Anyways, I had managed to save up about $6,000, bought the cheapest one-way ticket I could find, and took off to Europe with nothing more than a backpack, a camera, and some curiosity. The plan was to stay abroad as long as I could (until the funds dried up) and then I’d return home.
Two years and 25 countries later, I had seen and accomplished more than most would in their entire lifetime. I rode motorcycles through the streets of Rome, swam in the dead sea, climbed the Pyramids, had Ramadan dinner with Jordanian border guards, harvested grapes in Italy and potatoes in Australia. Conversely, I was robbed in Egypt, robbed in Portugal, robbed in Buenos Aires, assaulted in both France and Australia and I fell in love with a girl who now dances on my scrotum in stilettos (metaphorically) – but traveling is like that, it’s as much ‘sunshine and smiles’ as it is ‘sunburns and scabies’. Needless to say it changed my life in so many ways, and I’m dumfounded why more people don’t explore this fantastic planet. So what’s your excuse?
1. Not enough time
Of course you don’t have time! You’ve got two ugly children that are in dire need of braces, your house is losing the battle against mildew and termites, and your boss needs you to hand over everything but your testicles in order to boost third quarter earnings. Travel can still be a reality for those with big responsibilities but the reality is: long-term travel and children don’t mix… so um yea… you shouldn’t have had those, just wait 18 years.
If you don’t have children or a mortgage, then you have nothing BUT time on your hands and the movers and shakers of the world request that you shut-up and stop making excuses.
2. Not enough money
Well if you’d quit going to Bed Bath And Beyond every damn weekend Susan! You’re paying how much for the ESPN double woot woot premium package, Brandon!? I guarantee the expenditures to maintain your current American lifestyle are all types of fucked up.
What if I told you that if you saved $1000, I would match your $1000, but only if you spent the total $2000 on travel? Sounds like a great offer right? What most knuckle-draggers fail to realize is that when you are traveling, your need for money greatly decreases. Your $1000 American dollars in India or on an Egyptian beach resort will go MUCH farther than $1000 here in the states. While staying in Ko Chang my nightly feasts would make your instagram short-circuit from jealousy – and for only 3 bucks! Here in San Francisco I can’t get a damn sandwich for under $13.
Reality check: You DO have money, it just so happens it’s all tied up in the things you own and maintain. Cut the cable bill and your Coke® habit for just one year and you’ll be surprised at how much you’ll save!
3. Traveling is dangerous
Yes, if you plan on wearing your ‘These Colors Don’t Run” t-shirt and cowboy hat while trekking around Yemen. Most destinations are far less dangerous in terms of violent crime than here in the states. Your biggest dangers abroad are food-borne illness and pickpockets; a little smarts can prevent both. War zones are fairly easy to avoid unless Helen Keller booked your itinerary.
4. Nobody to travel with
Understandable if you are a chick that can’t pee without another girl in the stall. Otherwise, solo travel is the most enriching activity there is (besides peeing with friends). You can go where you want, when you want, and are more likely to interact and connect with local people and fellow travelers without your friend whining about the heat.
Keep in mind that as you travel you will be meeting other travelers along the way (most of which are far more interesting than anyone you know back home), and the potential for merging itineraries and sharing adventures (or just getting drunk with them) is greatly increased… so in reality you are never really traveling solo.
5. I want to travel but I don’t know where to start. Where will I stay?
Check out these sites below, take that leap of faith and set sail – the worst that could happen is you’ll end up dying a slow, painful death – which is a guarantee if you continue dreaming about adventure from your cubicle.
• Hostel World – Online confirmed bookings for backpacker hostels around the world. Hostel reviews, City guides, sightseeing, entertainment and backpacking information.
• Hostelz – A complete guide to hostels worldwide, with real reviews and instant online booking.
• AirBNB – Amazing, unique accommodations in 192 countries.
• Couch Surfing – Hospitality exchange and social networking services.