Technology and the sharing economy have made the world a lot more accessible for a lot more people. Because so many more people are traveling, the support services surrounding travel have gotten much better, too. Not only is it more affordable, it’s much safer and easier. From homesharing that provides extra money for travel, to more complete insurance coverage while you’re gone, to travel packages, group tours, and ride-sharing when you arrive, there’s never been a better time to get out and see the world. There are of course a hundred excuses not to go—and a million more reasons to do it anyway.
I can’t afford it
There are so many ways to make money! You can even make money while you are traveling! You can rent your place while you are gone. You can teach something while you are away—English, dancing, writing, surfing, guitar, yoga—anything you know, there’s likely somebody somewhere who wants to learn it. You can volunteer and probably get a free place to stay with meals. You can work on a cruise ship. You can babysit. You can sell your crafts at local markets. Or, you can work virtually. Technology allows us to roam free and stay connected. You can sell stuff online, blog, code websites, and so much more. Plan ahead, learn some skills, and take your show on the road. And of course, look for deals while you are there. Off-the-beaten path hidden gems and alternative modes of transportation (bikes, anyone?) can sometimes have more to offer than fancy hotels, expensive restaurants, and needless cab rides.
It’s not safe
It’s true there are some parts of the world that are not safe. However, most places are safe, as long as you are aware; take precautions, and use basic common sense. Learn the area before you go. Travel with someone else. Carry your personal identification and important belongings with you, preferably on your body in a pouch or purse designed for just that sort of thing. Make copies of your passport, medical card, credit cards, and itinerary and keep them separate from the originals. Read reviews. Get travel insurance. Don’t flash your cash. Don’t get drunk, don’t accept drinks from strangers. Befriend the locals. Speak the language, even if it’s just a few phrases it shows effort. Tell friends back home where you’re going and when, and stay in touch. And remember, no matter what happens, you’ll come home with some great stories to tell!
I don’t have anyone to go with
This one is just silly. If you REALLY want to go with someone, you can find someone who also wants to go. Post an invite on your school, church, community, or neighborhood website and interview potential travel mates. Call up that long lost friend from high school. Or, here’s a thought, go alone. You won’t be alone for long because lots of other people also travel alone, and you’ll get to do whatever you want, when you want. The exhilaration, complete freedom, and life-changing experiences you’ll have will be so so so so so worth it!
I’m too old
It may be easier for a 20-year-old to drop everything and take off for a month because they just don’t have that much to drop. Older folks have families, mortgages, jobs, and responsibilities. This just means more prep work before you go. Arrangements for the kids. Time off work. Someone at home base who can cover for you for a while. The good news is, there are a lot of programs now designed for older people. From volunteer trips to group tours that focus on specific interests. Find your peeps! Make it happen! You have the maturity and cultural awareness for this kind of thing more so now than in your younger years, so put your life skills to good use.
The bottom line is, if you really don’t want to travel you will find plenty of reasons not to. However, if the opposite is true, if you’ve always wanted to go somewhere but just haven’t had the nerve, found the time, or felt like you had the resources, take this as your call to action. Let it inspire you to get planning and get going. Because no matter what happens, you will come back a better person for it, guaranteed. You will feel more connected to our beautiful world and the magnificent people in it. You will have more appreciation and gratitude. You’ll be a more interesting and interested person. And you’ll be able to better share your newly enlightened self with others who just wish they could be a rootless traveler like you.