How to start living your travel dream
Discover how to pack your bags, and first leave your job behind for a journey of global exploration. Or maybe you’re looking for a complete overhaul to the way you live – consider travelling the world in search of an adventure that will leave your current 9-5 lifestyle far behind!
Before departing on an international trip, there are a few tasks that ought to be undertaken before packing one’s suitcase and leaving. To aid in this process, here is a straightforward checklist of things which must be done prior to departure. Here are my 11 steps to freedom.
1. Decide that you are going to live your dream
“You may only live once. But if you do it right, once is enough”.
Decide where you want to go first up. If you have the first destination that you wish to visit in mind, you can then book the ticket for a suitable date in the future and work towards that. If you don’t book the ticket first, you might be more inclined to keep putting your travel dream on hold or take a very long time to get things organised.
2. Now that you have a ticket booked, you will need to think about your home
“One of the gladdest moments of human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands. Shaking off with one mighty effort the fetters of habit, the leaden weight of routine, the cloak of many cares and the slavery of home, man feels once happier”.
Do you own your home and will you need to rent it out while you’re away? Would you prefer to sell your house? Or are you renting and need to break your lease? These are all questions that you will need to answer and act upon.
Talk to your Real Estate Agent to get a good idea of the returns that you can expect to get for renting your house out, ask about the cost of agencies managing your home, or organise with your landlord to break the lease and let them know the date you plan on leaving. If you give the landlord enough time often they can find someone else to move in and you won’t have to pay extra rent.
3. Sell your car if you own one
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
If you are contemplating a lengthy journey, selling your car may be the most straightforward solution. Car sales in newspaper and online classified advertisements, as well as leveraging social media to reach potential buyers -all can yield positive results.
4. Stopping all your bills
“If not now, then when?”
Communicate with your gas, electrical and water company to inform them of your departure plans. Ensure that their final bill is sent electronically so as to cancel any outstanding accounts such as phone (keep it for use overseas without Internet access), internet, pay-TV plan or others – as well.
5. Tell your bank
Tell your bank that you are going to be travelling overseas to explore and wander and experience the unknown and do not charge you huge transaction fees.
“a ship in harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for”.
Often if bank companies do not know that you are travelling and you use your card overseas, it can be cancelled and assumed that your details may have been stolen online. Also if you have many accounts or unnecessary credit cards now is the time to cancel them – and inquire about the best card for overseas travel (the lowest fees, conversion fees, what are overseas transaction fees etc).
6. Insurance Time!
“One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.”
Cancel your home and contents insurance, and find great travel insurance – one that will cover your medical expenses while overseas, as well as cover the costs of cancelled flights, lost or stolen valuables and any extreme or adventurous activities you may take part in.
7. Sell all of your belongings
“All things you own end up owning you”
If you are not renting out your home fully furnished then you can start by advertising your furniture in classifieds and online. Clothes, shoes and other household items sell very easily on websites such as Gumtree, Craigslist and eBay.
This not only earns you some extra travel funds but also helps you to downsize and de-clutter your life. If you are travelling for a year and plan on moving back then it might be beneficial to store a small amount of furniture, clothes and kitchen appliances that you will use again in a friends or families house, garage or shed- there are storage companies available in most cities although these will charge a monthly fee.
8. Tell the world your plans
“We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey”
At this stage, or preferably at the very first stage, you will have to tell your parents – as they will get suspicious if they visit and your home has no furniture. Some family and friends will be excited for you and fully supportive of your plans for a travel lifestyle, while others will have doubts or wish for you to live more traditionally – either way you must do what is right for you and everyone around you will eventually understand.
Their doubts have most likely stemmed from their fear of the unknown, once you are on your way and send them photos showing them you are 1, still alive, 2, happy, and 3, learning and experiencing many new things daily. Once they see this, their fears and doubts will subside and they will become happy and excited for you.
9. What do you want to do while travelling?
“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”
Step nine is the step where you have pretty much sorted out your home, cancelled bills, are in the process of selling your belongings and you can now turn to research where you want to go, what you want to see and do and what style of travel you planning on doing.
Since you already have your flight booked to your first destination, it helps to book the first night’s accommodation as well, that way you can land, and go straight to your accommodation without having to worry about finding somewhere and getting to know the area.
After the first night, you have recovered from your flight and can then start your adventure. Research things to do in the area, look up accommodation options for hostels, hotels, or other means of accommodation, do you need to organise a VISA prior to arriving, and find out what transport is available in the area. Will you be staying in hostels, hotels or camping? Will there be trekking involved, or beaches or mountains? Is your PASSPORT valid for the next 12 months ? or 2 years?
10. Will you need anything for your trip?
“If you wish to travel far, travel light. Take off all your envy, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears.”
Luggage, locks, camping gear? Will you need to buy a new backpack or downsize your computer to a laptop or iPad? Will you need to buy any other items that you will need for the beginning of your trip? It is quite easy to purchase what you need along the way, although if you know you will be staying in a ski lodge for the whole ski season then of course you will bring your ski pants and jacket with you instead of hiring or buying while you are there.
Its a great idea to take what you know you’ll need and then anything that you may find you need you can purchase along the way. Buying high-quality travel gear will save you time and money in the future.
11. Look for ways to earn money while travelling if you are on a tight budget
“Travel is the only thing in life you can buy that makes you richer”
Do you want to work in hospitality? Or teach English abroad in schools? Maybe you want to volunteer in exchange for accommodation and board to decrease the amount of money you will need while travelling. While volunteering or working abroad you will not only meet lots of new friends but you will also learn so much more than you ever expected.
12. Don’t doubt yourself
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover”.