Daydreaming about adventure but can’t find a way to make it happen for you? The more you fantasize without taking any action, the more you’ll end up feeling drained and hopeless. You don’t need to quit your day job and get rid of all your belongings right now –strategic action planned with a holistic approach and executed wholeheartedly will give you results you can love. This is what I call the 3S system for traveling: savings, skillset, and service.
If you’re a regular grown-up, you probably get paid for doing something. Whatever your income is, there are two things you can always do to save money: cut expenses and work more.
Every dollar counts
Take a look at your monthly expenses and notice all the little things -a cup of coffee and a sweet treat, a few beers in the local bar, another pair of shoes- and see how much it adds up to. Let’s say you spend 50$ a month in indulging yourself. If you cut those expenses, in 3 months you’ll have enough money to buy a plane ticket to Mexico.
Work, work, work
There’s always something you can do for extra money if you’re open to it. Tell your friends and family about your plans, let them know you’re available so when they need a service you can provide, they’ll think of you. There are websites such as task rabbit where people pay you for help with a variety of tasks, and if you’re more of a digital type, you can promote your services in freelancer. If you need to get up earlier, work on Sundays -do that. Time is this primary resource we all have to accomplish whatever we want in life, squeeze it as much as you can.
The first thing you need to ask yourself is what kind of traveling do you want to experience, what are you already good at and what are you willing to do.
This is the best way to travel if you:
- want to get to know a lot of places and people
- have a talent that gets people’s attention right away: music, portraits, dancing, living statue, fortune-telling, etc.
- can go minimalistic –bare necessities
- adapt easily to different situations
- don’t mind some uncertainty
Backpacking is about spontaneity and intuition, but it doesn’t mean you don’t need to plan. Wherever you’re going, you need to know the prices in advance. And talent is not enough: even if you’re a great musician or a gifted tarot interpreter, there has to be a setup and a performance component. The more you practice, the more natural and compelling it will turn out.
People who genuinely like other people, hospitality (working on restaurants, hotels) or language teaching, can travel a lot while making a career. It doesn’t matter if you’re a masseuse, a waiter/waitress, bartender, babysitter or a cook -the advantage of this approach is that you can fulfill your thirst for adventure while gaining work experience.
A lot of hostels offer accommodation in exchange for work, maybe you won’t see a lot of places, but you’ll get a deeper experience of the place you choose, hot meals and a roof over your head. The important thing here is that wherever you go, you prove to be trustworthy, deliver amazing service and of course, enjoy yourself.
If what you do for a living is something you can offer online -web development, design, coaching practice, content, etc.- with effort and organization, you can explore the world. You need to learn the skills first, but once you master it, it’s easy to travel because you have an income and you’re not attached to a specific country or city.
Your desire to explore can get you motivated to go to places, for sure. But there’s a secret ingredient, like a scoop of magic that makes the whole process easier. Keep in mind that wherever you go and whatever you do, your goal as a citizen of this world is to be of service.
You can work abroad as a volunteer for a non-profit of your preference, but just by going to a developing country you’re stimulating their economy. Teaching skills to new generations around the world, making other travelers feel welcomed, delivering your unique perspective on what you see and the feeling you get from different places.
It’s not about what you do, but doing it with an open heart.